IGNACIO — The Montezuma-Cortez offense was the definition of hit or miss in a 24-0 win over Ignacio on Friday.
Panthers running back Tay Wheat hit the holes of the Ignacio defense for over 150 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
“I’ve never seen a running back quite like him,” Montezuma-Cortez head coach Ivan Mack said. “We put him in tough situations and he makes magic.”
But Panthers quarterback Colby McMillian struggled to hang on to the football, throwing three interceptions and losing two fumbles.
Such moments were silver linings for Ignacio, according to Bobcats coach Alfonso Garcia.
“I’m so proud of our defense. Our defense played amazing,” Garcia said. “We just could not move the ball on offense. They were a little bigger, faster than us on defense.”
Montezuma-Cortez improved to 2-3 with the win, while Ignacio dropped to 1-3 with the loss.
About halfway through the first quarter, Ignacio quarterback Zane Pontine dropped back to pass and floated a ball over his receiver and into the hands of Panthers defensive back Cash Clark, who sped down the right side and was tackled inside the 5-yard line. Ignacio regained possession after McMillian lost a fumble on the very next play, but the Bobcats couldn’t capitalize.
Wheat broke through down the left side for a run of over 50 yards for Montezuma-Cortez’s opening touchdown late in the first quarter.
McMillian rarely stayed in the pocket, rolling out all night to make some difficult throws across his body. Such instances resulted in Ignacio intercepting the ball inside its own 20-yard line with less than a minute to go in the first half, with Montezuma-Cortez up 10-0 at that point.
“I like it,” Mack said. “He’s a new quarterback and we’re still figuring a lot out. He’s a great athlete and I’m willing to take those risks with him. A lot of those interceptions were really on me.”
A similar script played out to start the third quarter. The Panthers moved the ball with Wheat and advanced deep into Bobcat territory, before McMillian threw his second interception of the night.
However, Ignacio’s offense didn’t find the end zone.
Wheat put the game away for good with his second touchdown of the night, taking it 60 yards to the house on the first play of the fourth quarter.
“Whenever we were in that Rambo set, it’s just a power set and whenever we pitch it I’m just going downhill, it just seemed like the defense was scared,” Wheat said. “Once I get a block and I can read the block and hit the outside, it’s usually going to be a good play.”
Montezuma-Cortez later added an eight-yard touchdown run to make it 24-0.