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Ponch Garcia and Ignacio football face another stern test at Paonia

2-time champs pose tough test
Ponch Garcia and Zach Weinreich have had a lot to discuss in the past two weeks since a season-opening loss to Hotchkiss.

Time to find out how much Ignacio High School football has progressed.

After opening with a 43-0 loss to Hotchkiss two weeks ago, first-year head coach Alfonso “Ponch” Garcia and the Bobcats will face the gold standard for Colorado Class 1A football in Game 2.

IHS (0-1) will travel to Paonia at 7 p.m. Friday to face the top-ranked two-time defending 1A state champion and try to snap a 24-game winning streak.

It won’t be easy.

The Eagles haven’t lost since Sept. 14, 2013, when Centauri beat them in Paonia.

Paonia senior quarterback Taylor Walters has been a big part of that success.

He’s the defending Class 1A Player of the Year and a two-time all-state selection.

Walters ran for 1,946 yards as a sophomore and 2,282 yards last year as a freshman with 59 combined touchdowns.

Two of those scores and 74 yards came last season in Ignacio in a 47-14 win.

Paonia also returns another 1,000-yard rusher in senior running back Jeramiah Hillman.

The Bobcats will have experience facing a run-heavy attack for the second week in a row.

They forced three turnovers in the game, all on Hotchkiss fumbles.

IHS struggled to find traction with its new veer offense in its opening game but found encouraging signs with senior quarterback Zach Weinreich throwing short, high-percentage passing.

An additional two weeks of practice should help IHS’ offensive line coalesce and its option timing improve.

If you go

Who: Ignacio at Paonia, high school football

When/where: 7 p.m. Friday, Paonia

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