Both teams ranked in the state’s preseason top five
Entering the season in the top five in the CHSAA preseason polls, Mancos and Dove Creek made sure to post a couple of early statements.
Both the Bluejays and Bulldogs passed their tests with flying colors in Week 1, as Mancos defeated New Mexico powerhouse Melrose 46-8, and Dove Creek opened their slate in style, easily outscoring Plateau Valley 54-0.
Mancos (1-0) made the road trip to northern New Mexico to play the Buffaloes (1-1) at a neutral site in Chama. The matchup featured a pair of teams finishing as runners-up in the 2021 state championships for their respective states in eight-man soccer.
Defending Centennial State’s honor, Mancos fended off Melrose on the opening possession of the game and converted it into points through junior Kail Wayman, who had three touchdowns to highlight a dominant day on the field for the Blue Jays from coach in Chief Josh Gardner.
After exchanging possessions with Melrose, Mancos began to take control with another drive, this one culminating in a connection between senior quarterback Ayden Mathews and Wayman, giving Mancos a 14-0 lead.
Shortly before halftime, Mathews called his own number on the floor, ran for a third Mancos touchdown and gave Mancos a 20-0 lead on the way to the locker room.
The Bluejays tightened the screws early in the second half, scoring a pair of gut-wrenching touchdowns early in the third quarter, including an 80-yard scamper by Mathews, to nearly end the contest. Mathews added a couple of extra scores, sandwiched around Melrose’s only TD, to give Mancos a resounding victory.
Dove Creek cruises home
Like Mancos, Dove Creek (1-0) seemed eager to set the tone for the 2022 campaign, wasting little time dispatching Plateau Valley (0-1) at Soper Sports Complex.
Within the first 30 seconds of the contest, senior quarterback Kade Hankins hit a pass to junior Taber Dejane for a 74-yard connection and the first points of the game. The duo would connect again late in the first quarter, by which time the Bulldogs had built a 32-0 lead.
Hankins showed his elusiveness on the ground, scoring a pair of runs in the first quarter, including a 78-yard slash-and-dash before adding a third TD early in the second quarter.
Junior Gage Buffington scored his first touchdown of the season to bring the race to the clock, before junior quarterback Colten Fury took the helm and added another touchdown to push the Bulldogs past the half-century mark.
Head coach Shane Baughman’s defense fended off the Cowboys’ only threat late in the third quarter, gaining goal-line position to preserve the shutout and propel Dove Creek to a 1-0 start.
Both the Bulldogs and Bluejays will be at home next week as Dove Creek hosts Rangely on Friday, September 2 at 7 pm while Mancos prepares for a battle with Monticello at Bluejays Stadium.