LA JARA — Football is back on the television with college and the NFL as well as in our back yards with prep football. Centauri (1-0) knocked off Paonia last week 33-0 in a lopsided homecoming shut-out. This week the 1A Falcons will go up a class to meet Pagosa Springs on Friday.
The Pirates and Falcons have a rather storied history as former members of the same league until Centauri went to 1A back in 2012. Despite that, the two teams have maintained their yearly games. Centauri owns the advantage in the head-to-head going 6-1 with an average 21-point margin of victory throughout the last seven seasons. The exception was last year’s 31-12 Pagosa Springs win.
This year, the Pirates have graduated some productive scorers in Cade Cowan, Connor Aragon and Javier Marinelarena. Combined the three seniors accounted for 24 touchdowns a season ago. At first glance, the losses seem to be immediately affecting the 0-2 Pagosa Springs Pirates but with a closer look, those two losses have come against quality opponents. The first was to defending State Champions La Junta. The second, to Durango who placed tenth in the 3A coach’s poll posted Sept. 9th.
The Pirates ran a run-first offense last season with 80 percent of the recorded plays on the ground. While they graduated Cowan, who was the center of the offense leading in passing and rushing touchdowns with 16. The majority of touches will likely go to Paden Bailey who figures to shift from his running back position to under center, manning a run/pass option style offense.
The Falcon looked good in their first action this season. Centauri senior Eric Maez captained a winning campaign going 12 of 22 for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns. Maez got plenty of help from his offensive backfield with three different running backs registering rushing scores and Taj Cornum and Mason Claunch combining for 98 yards on the ground.
Also, the Falcons took a big step towards answering defensive questions pitching a shut-out and forcing three interceptions.
This Friday’s game will likely be very telling for both squads. Centauri will get a to learn a little more about themselves facing a higher-class opponent, and Pagosa Springs will be looking for their first win of the season after being taken to task the past two weeks. The game is slated for a 7 p.m. start in Centauri on Sept. 13.
Other valley squads hosting home matchups this Friday the 13th, are Sargent, Sanford, Del Norte and Center.
Sargent (0-1) will be looking to correct course after suffering a 50-27 loss to Fowler on the road. They’ll have a chance to do that against Springfield. The Farmers took their road meeting with Springfield last season 20-6. They’ll look to repeat that success at home at 6 p.m. Sanford (1-0) started their season off with a bang routing McClave on the road 44-6. The Green Machine have a chance to begin a streak when they face Swink (1-1). Swink is ranked 9th by the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) but unrecognized on the Coaches poll. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Del Norte (1-0) mauled the visiting South Park Burros last week with quarterback Preston Terrell throwing 2 touchdowns on a mere 3 attempts to take a 48-6 win. The Tigers will get a test this weekend when the Rangely Panthers come to town. Rangely’s RPI has them ranked fifth while the coaches’ polls have them sitting at No. 8. Friday’s meeting against Rangely is slated to be the first within Tiger Stadium. The start is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Center Football (1-0) is off to another promising start, last week the Vikings went on the road and sacked Lake County to the tune of a 39-8 finish. This week for their home opener, Center will take on Olathe (0-2). Center blanked the Pirates last season in a 49-0 rout, they’ll be looking to do it again at 7 p.m.