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Mancos comes up short in Colorado title game

Haxtun wins 8-man championship despite historic effort by Bluejays
Mancos running back Chase Moore stiff arms a Haxtun defender on Friday in the 8-man state championship game in Pueblo. Haxtun, however, won the game 40-0. (Wendy Collison/Special to the Journal)

The Mancos High School football team played in its first state title game Friday at the ThunderBowl in Pueblo.

The No. 2 Bluejays, however, were unable to take down No. 1 Haxtun in Colorado’ eight-man championship.

Haxtun’s Fightin’ Bulldogs beat Mancos 40-0 to claim its eighth state title on the gridiron. It was the ninth straight year a team from the A-8 Plains League, which includes Sedgwick County, has won the eight-man championship.

The loss ends Mancos’ season with an 11-1 overall record in which the Bluejays won almost as many playoff games this year as they had in all of their previous years. Haxtun finishes its year a perfect 13-0. Only two teams held the Bulldogs to under 40 points this season; Haxtun scored over 50 points in seven of its games.

Haxtun was the dominant team again on Friday.

The Bulldogs scored on their first five possessions of the game, converting on four fourth downs to keep their drives alive and eventually reach the end zone. They led 34-0 at halftime and added a touchdown at the 6:04 mark in the third quarter to enact the running clock mercy rule.

It was the fifth consecutive eight-man title game in which the running clock was enacted.

Mancos senior Chase Moore drives for some yardage during the CHSAA state 8-Man championship game on Friday. The game was held at CSU Pueblo’s ThunderBowl. (Photo by Wendy Collison/Special to the Journal)
Mancos senior Chase Moore drives for yardage during the CHSAA state eight-man championship game between the Mancos Bluejays and the Haxtun Bulldogs on Friday at the CSU Pueblo ThunderBowl. Photo by Wendy Collison/Special to The Journal
Mancos senior Chase Moore drives for yardage during the CHSAA state A-8-Man championship game was played between the Mancos Bluejays and the Haxtun Bulldogs on Friday, November 26, 2021 at the CSU Pueblo ThunderBowl. Photo by Wendy Collison/Special to The Journal

Mancos, meanwhile, was held scoreless in the first half for the first time all season. The Bluejays nearly reached midfield on their first drive, but could not convert on a fourth-and-1.

Haxtun took over inside Bluejay territory. Mancos stopped the Bulldogs for three plays, but Haxtun faked a handoff on fourth-and-4, and quarterback Owen Knode picked up 19 yards. After Mancos’ Chase Moore made a tackle for no gain on first-and-goal, Haxtun’s 223-pound running back, Isaac Anderson, scored on a 5-yard run.

Moore had a 13-yard run to help Mancos reach midfield again on its next drive, but the team eventually had to punt.

With Anderson and Michael Gerk taking turns running the ball, Haxtun put together an 80-yard scoring drive, which included two fourth-down conversions. Gerk scored from 3 yards out to put Haxtun up 14-0 with 11:26 remaining in the half.

Mancos’ next drive ended with an interception. On the ensuing first down, Haxtun scored on a 38-yard touchdown pass from Knode to Kyle Fryrear. Knode then converted on a 2-point conversion, putting Haxtun up 22-0.

Moore returned the ensuing kickoff 31 yards, but Mancos eventually turned the ball over on downs at mid-field.

Seven plays later, Anderson scored on a 3-yard run. Haxtun missed the 2-point conversion, but led 28-0.

With only one first down at that point, Mancos went to the air. It’s next two possessions, however, ended with interceptions.

Ozzy Coss, a 245-pound tight end who also runs the ball, scored on a 1-yard run to give Haxtun a 34-0 lead at the break.

To start the second half, Mancos recovered an onside kick at their own 49. A holding penalty, however, wiped out some positive runs, and the Bluejays were forced to punt.

Mancos had some good coverage and a tackle for a loss on Haxtun’s next possession. The Bulldogs once again, however, converted on a fourth down to keep their drive alive, and Knode eventually threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Fryrear to enact the running clock halfway through the third quarter.

Mancos picked up a pair of first downs on its final possession, including a 17-yard run from a Moore, but a holding penalty forced them into a second-and-25 and MHS eventually turned the ball over on downs.