Nine months after being crowned state champions, the Bayfield Wolverines are finally ready to kick off a new season.
Bayfield High School will open the 2018 football season at 7 p.m. Friday at Farmington High School inside Hutchison Stadium. It is the first time the two teams have met since 1947, a 60-0 win for the Farmington Scorpions.
That game is a long forgotten memory for the Wolverines, who have claimed two of the last three Class 2A state championships in Colorado. Now, the Wolverines are ready for the challenge of playing a much larger school on the road on opening night.
“We’re excited for the first game of the year,” Bayfield head coach Gary Heide said. “We’ve worked the last nine months, all summer, and it’s going to be enjoyable to go play a football game. We’re very proud, and we know we can go down and play well against Farmington.”
Farmington has 1,000 more students enrolled than at Bayfield. But the size difference between the two schools won’t be evident Friday on the field or on the sideline. The Scorpions and Wolverines both boast 56 players on their roster.
Though the two teams haven’t played in 71 years, there is some familiarity between the programs.
“They’re a program that is highly successful,” Heide said. “We’ve seen them at the sub-varsity level, at track and field and such, and we’re expecting them to have good athletes at every position. We’ve traded scrimmage film. You don’t see a whole lot on those films, but offensively they do have a lot of skill sideline to sideline.”
Led by senior quarterback Hayden Farmer and a slew of big-time playmakers on offense, the Wolverines are anxious to get on the field. Farmer passed for 2,090 yards and a school record 35 touchdowns last season. He completed 58.6 percent of his passes and was sharp a week ago in a scrimmage against Durango and Piedra Vista at Hutchison Stadium.
“The turf field there, we’ve seen that quite often and during the CSU-Pueblo camp,” Heide said. “At the scrimmage, we were quite inconsistent on both sides of the ball, but on the other hand we had a lot of bright spots, so we know we can go perform on both offense and defense.”
David Hawkins, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore for Bayfield, will look to get going Friday night. A year ago, a knee injury limited his time at running back, but he was a force in the playoffs. He finished with 596 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
Farmington lost a bulk of its team that reached the New Mexico Class 5A state quarterfinals a year ago. The Scorpions went 8-4 and won their district, but it largely was the play of the senior class.
The Scorpions did return last year’s leading rusher, Johnny Shuttleworth, who had 571 yards and three rushing touchdowns. But all three players who attempted a pass last season graduated. Senior Ian Kee and sophomores Caleb Carrillo and Peyton Halliburton are listed as the team’s quarterbacks going into the season.
Kale Lucas is a big-time playmaker at wide receiver who likely will draw the assignment of Bayfield senior defensive back Keyon Prior, one of the top cornerbacks in Colorado’s Class 2A.
Lucas is listed at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds.
FHS head coach Jeff Dalton pointed to Jalen Allison as the leader of his defense from the middle linebacker position, and he also will get a chance to run the ball.
Bayfield is riding a 13-game winning streak and will play two tough road games to open the season against playoff teams from a year ago. The Wolverines are ready for the challenge.
“We have to protect the ball, make some big plays and, defensively, not give up the big plays,” Heide said. “We’re a very good team and can compete every game for a win. We have to be consistent.”