Wolverines flatten Dolores, 43-zip
Written by: Joel Priest
Phelps tops 150 on the ground
By Joel Priest
Times sports correspondent
Emerging from the game's first dogpile with the enemy's first fumble, on the game's first play, Bayfield nose guard Zane Westbrook had to be thinking "It wonâ€™t be this easy, right?"
Well, due solely to the physical nature of the sport of football, it wasn't.
But due to a defense that buried Dolores junior Dalton Madden (a move-in from Pagosa Springs) and freshman Tristan Medina underneath numerous quarterback sacksâ€”three straight on Madden, by BHSâ€™ Angus Taylor, Wyatt Williams and Kyle Killough, preceded a botched handoff covered in the end zone for a safetyâ€”and a run game powered by sophomore Zane Phelpsâ€™ three TDâ€™s, the Wolverines often made it look that way in a 43-0 flogging.
â€œI was real pleased with the way we executed,â€ said head coach Gary Heide. â€œIt was a lot betterâ€”of course it wasnâ€™t quite as big a school as before (4A Kirtland, N.M., Central), but we did execute a lot better. That was the good part.â€
â€œDuring halftimeâ€¦that first half, we had some missed blocks and stuff,â€ said junior center Blane Barnes, who combined with Westbrook for a sack ending the first half. â€œSo we went in, wrote some things up on the chalkboard, and came outâ€¦were able to open holes wide enough for trucks to drive through.â€
The Bears (0-1, 0-0 1A Southern Peaks) gamely avoided the running-clock mercy rule until the very end, after seven straight Brady Fields carries took Bayfieldâ€™s second-team offenseâ€”but with starting QB Kelton McCoyâ€”to paydirt, ending a 10-play, 62-yard drive. Senior Trey Langeâ€™s point-after kick failed, but by the time DHS got its offense back onto the field there was but time for two fruitless snaps.
â€œI thought it really opened up everything,â€ McCoy said of Bayfieldâ€™s attack. â€œI mean we rushed, rushed, rushed, and [Dolores] opened upâ€”they were actually in a Cover-3, so everything was back. We just took what we were given, and then eventually a big play came and we threw over the top of them.â€
Regularly rolling out to his right when passing, McCoy (8-of-11, 124) connected with Matthew Knickerbocker for two scores, giving the Wolverines a proper ground-air balance. But the sight of Williams and trainer Crystal Moore slowly escorting a dazed Knickerbockerâ€”slammed hard to the grass returning a Bear drive-ending punt, after his own lone series in control ended on downsâ€”off the field with 7:34 remaining put a damper on the triumph.
â€œHe makes every play you can imagineâ€”heâ€™s fast, he can jump, heâ€™s a great athlete,â€ McCoy said of the 6â€™2â€, 170-pound junior. â€œItâ€™s really a pleasure to throw to him.â€
Bayfield (1-1, 0-0 2A Western) profited immediately from Westbrookâ€™s aforementioned recovery, with Phelps scoring from six yards on the fourth play of a 19-yard drive. Langeâ€™s kick was true, and the 7-0 lead survived until McCoy found Knickerbocker from 13 yards out with 10:57 before halftime and Langeâ€™s leg was again accurate.
Two plays later, junior T.J. Taylor fell upon a Madden fumble at the DHS 40, but BHSâ€™ drive then ended at the 12 when Bear senior Ethan Upton made Doloresâ€™ second fumble recovery [junior d-liner Kasey Davisâ€™ first-quarter get of a McCoy mishap being the other] of the penalty flag-filled game.
â€œIn the beginning of the game we seemedâ€”even though we were fired up and were executing betterâ€”a little sluggish andâ€¦I donâ€™t know exactly why,â€ said Heide.
But DHS couldnâ€™t capitalize and senior Harold Cooley relinquished possession with the second of his five punts (junior Kellen Gatzke also booted one). The safety followed a BHS turnover-on-downs, and the Wolverines all but broke the Bears with a flowing two-minute drill, going 62 yards in just 76 seconds with Phelps (157 yards rushing) capping the push from two yards out for a 22-0 halftime advantage.
â€œWe got a couple really nice, long drives. And I think that not only do you getâ€¦more offense on your stats, but it has an effect on the entire game,â€ Heide said. â€œThatâ€™s what I really look for, and if we can go long drives and look sluggish, then thatâ€™s fine with me!â€
Cooley kicked off to Lange starting the second half, but Bayfield marched 84 yards in 11 plays, draining 4:51 off the Wolverine Country Stadium clock, and McCoy hit Knickerbocker from 27 yardsâ€”then added a two-point conversion himself after Langeâ€™s PAT was canceled by DHS being offsides.
Medina couldnâ€™t move the Bears, and after a Cooley punt, Phelps scored with 3:27 left in the third on a fifth straight carryâ€”producing all 38 yards of the short driveâ€”and Langeâ€™s kick made the score 37-0.
Westbrook then threw Medina to the ground like a rag doll for a sack after DHSâ€™ next series began at their own 22, with Fields (65 yards rushing) and Killough then combining for another on second down, and two plays later a Cooley punt netted just 11 yards after a long Knickerbocker return.
â€œThey changed their offense upâ€”got a bigger center moved in, because the little centerâ€¦I was shoving him around,â€ said Westbrook. â€œAnd when I grabbed that quarterbackâ€¦I didnâ€™t want to fall on him, so I just kind of flung him. Heâ€™s kind of smallâ€¦didnâ€™t want to hurt him.â€
And though BHSâ€™ ensuing drive failed to produce points on a short field as the fourth quarter began, the Bearsâ€™ fate was sealed by McCoy, Barnes, and T.J. Taylor each flattening Medina one last time.
â€œWe have our conference coming upâ€”some very fast teams, and weâ€™ve got to continually improve now,â€ said Heide. â€œBut tonight was a step forward which Iâ€™m really happy about.â€
Western Conference action begins tonight [7 p.m. kickoff] with the Basalt Longhorns in town, and coming off non-conference losses at Paonia and to Carbondale Roaring Fork by a combined 43-8 margin.
â€œTheir running backs were juniors last year,â€ said Westbrook, taking nothing for granted, â€œand so theyâ€™re going to be better this year. Theyâ€™re going to be tough.â€
â€œFirst conference gameâ€¦ready to kick some butt!â€ Barnes said. â€œAlways pumped to play conferenceâ€”it really shows us where we are.â€