SAN LUIS VALLEY—It’s football time in again in the Valley!
On Friday, the Sargent Farmers got the 2011 season kicked off for the San Luis Valley as they had a ‘Zero Week’ game against the La Junta Tigers in La Junta. Because of budget concerns and there was no other way to make up a game to fill a spot where a game was lost in the schedule, the La Junta Tigers were able to fill that spot.
The Tigers took control of the game from the beginning as they only allowed the Farmers to score one touchdown. The Farmers fell 35-7, to take a 0-1 record into Week One of the season as they will host the John Mall Panthers on Friday.
Both teams were kept off the scoreboard in the first quarter before the Tigers struck for a 1-yard touchdown at the 6:40 mark in the second quarter.
The Farmers then struck for their lone score of the night on the ensuing kickoff. Senior Vinny Conroy was able to break loose for an 85-yard return. The touchdown was followed by a field goal by junior Austin Heersink to make the score 7-7 at the 6:26 mark.
The Tigers were able to tack on a touchdown with 48 seconds left in the first half as they were able to connect on a 12-yard pass.
"It was a good game, the kids fought hard and it was just a 14-7 game at the half," said head coach Chris Johnson. "Even going to the final quarter it was a close game."
The Tigers used a 55-yard rush to score in the third quarter before a 46 –yard pass and 44-yard punt return in the fourth capped off the 35-7 scoring.
"I couldn't have been more proud of these kids," said Johnson. "We are first year coaches out here, it's definitely not easy, it is fun though."
As most teams will be preparing for their weekly games, Johnson and his coaching staff are trying to get everyone where they want to.
"It's fun spending time with the kids, " he said." There are 25 different personalities out there, some you can joke with others you have to be serious with."
Kickoff for the game between the Farmers and Panthers is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Alamosa Mean Moose and Monte Vista Pirates clashed on Saturday at Al Bennet Field in Alamosa for the final tune-up before the 2011 season starts on Friday.
The Alamosa Mean Moose will open up the 2011 season in grand style as they take on the No. 1 ranked team in Class 2A. They will kick off the 2011 season in the newly opened Rex Stadium on the campus of Adams State College on Friday night at 7 p.m. against the Florence Huskies.
“We hope to get better every week,” said Alamosa head football coach Al Ford. “We are going to play it week by week.”
The Huskies are already 1-0 on the young season as they had a ‘Zero Week’ game against the Elizabeth Cardinals, the defending Class 2A state champions, on Friday night where the Huskies won 20-12.
“We are going to prepare like any other week,” said Ford. “We expect the seniors to step it up.”
“They have a lot to learn in one year, I expect positive leadership,” Ford continued, “If the senior’s cannot do it than it will come down to the juniors.”
The Monte Vista Pirates will kick off the 2011 season against the cross-Valley rival Centauri Falcons in a non-conference clash. The Pirates and Falcons were originally scheduled to play at Rex Stadium; however, that game has been moved to Sullivan Field in Monte Vista as it is the Pirates first home game. The game is scheduled for a kickoff time of 2 p.m.
The Pirates enter the season as the only ranked team in the Valley as they are ranked No. 10, according to the Colorado Preps Network.
Friday will also have one more game on the schedule as the Sanford Indians will host the Fowler Grizzlies in their first games. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Saturday will be another action filled day for prep football as five Valley teams will be in action. The Del Norte Tigers will be hosting the Class 2A powerhouse Pagosa Springs as they will open the season at 1 p.m.
Also at 1 p.m., the Center Vikings will be opening the season at Ellicott. The Vikings and Thunderhawks are both looking to build upon last season. The Sierra Grande Panthers will travel to Norwood to take on the Mavericks. The Mavericks enter the season as the No. 6 team in the 8-Man rankings.
The Sangre de Cristo Thunderbirds will take on the Mancos Blue Jays, also at 1 p.m. The Antonito Trojans will travel and take on the No. 3 ranked Caliche Buffaloes. The game will be at Simla HS with kickoff at 1 p.m.
Even though there is not a San Luis Valley team involved there will be one more game played at Sargent High School as Dove Creek and Elbert will clash in an all-Bulldog game. Kickoff for that game is scheduled for 1 p.m.
So with the fans, coaches and players ready for the season to start, there is only a matter of time before the San Luis Valley is filled with exciting and intense games.