School records won’t be on the minds of the Bayfield High School football players when they take the field Saturday in the Wolverines’ home opener. Neither will the last game BHS played at Wolverine Country Stadium – a state championship game win against La Junta.
The Wolverines will be solely focused on a Class 2A showdown with the Aspen Skiers, head coach Gary Heide said of the 1 p.m. Saturday game.
Still, Bayfield will have a chance to earn a program record 16th consecutive victory and build upon a school record 20-game home winning streak.
“That, quite frankly, is in the back of our minds. We haven’t spoken about it at all,” Heide said. “To me, that’s just unneeded, unwarranted stuff to think about. I don’t call it pressure, and I hope it filters down to all the players on the team. We enjoy playing games week after week, there’s not any single game where we need anything to get fired up to play for. Every game is tough, and every game is an opportunity.”
The top-ranked Wolverines improved to 2-0 last week with a hard-fought victory in Blanding, Utah, against the San Juan Broncos. The 27-0 result didn’t come easy in a bruising game. Heide said the team has recovered well and is ready to play an Aspen team that surprised the state in 2017 with a playoff appearance and 8-2 overall record.
“Nothing a week of rest can’t take care of, but we’ve been careful with some sore guys,” Heide said of last week’s physical contest. “We feel Aspen is a playoff team again this year. They we’re last year, and they came back really strong with some nice athletes. We pride ourselves in playing well against good teams, and it’s impossible to overlook Aspen in our classification.”
The Skiers (1-0) are fresh off a bye week. Aspen opened with a 38-26 win against a storied Class 1A program in Meeker. In that win, sophomore quarterback Tyler Ward and his senior wide receiver Noah Hollander connected for five touchdowns. Bayfield senior corner back Keyon Prior, one of the top cover men in the state, will likely draw the assignment on Hollander.
Fresh off its first shutout of the season after the Wolverines collected eight shutout wins in 2017, Heide is impressed with the defense.
He also was happy with the offense’s performance in Blanding in a game in which he wanted to play conservative and be sure not to turn the ball over to a good Broncos team on their home field.
“My knew they were going to be up for us being their home opener,” Heide said. “On film, I’d say we would have like to have scored at least two more times, but I am proud of the way we battled and played more physical than them.”
BHS senior quarterback Hayden Farmer has passed for 292 yards and four touchdowns to zero interceptions this season. Senior running back David Hawkins has rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries, and junior Dylan Hilliker has totaled 133 yards and two touchdowns on only 11 carries.
Prior is another runner with more than 100 yards this season with 118 and two scores on 16 carries. Prior also has led the team with 129 receiving yards and one touchdown on seven receptions. James Mottin opened the season with two touchdown catches for 61 yards but was shut out last week in Utah.
Defensively, Hawkins has led Bayfield with 25 tackles, and Isaac Lorenzen has been a force in the middle of the defensive line with 14 more tackles, including a team-high five sacks.
BHS will look to show off its strength in all phases Saturday afternoon against Aspen.
“We’re excited to be back home and look forward to seeing our team in purple in front of all those fans,” Heide said. “We pride ourselves in playing at home.”