In order for the Ignacio High School football team to get back in the win column at 7 p.m. Friday night at Bobcat Stadium, many things have to happen, but priority No. 1 for the Bobcats is getting back to full strength.
Ignacio (2-1) will take on winless John Mall of Walsenburg (0-2) on Friday night in its first home game since the season opener.
The Bobcats lost five players because of a variety of injuries in last week’s 42-6 loss to Newcomb, New Mexico. The Bobcats were dealt a massive blow when they lost sophomore running back Joe Garcia on his second carry of the night halfway through the second quarter when he went down and had to leave the game with a broken fibula.
Ignacio also lost starting offensive linemen in Clay Campbell and Lucas Roderick. Campbell strained his knee, while Roderick was forced to come out for concussion protocol.
It would get worse for IHS late in the game, as senior captain Mike Archuleta was taken off in a stretcher and eventually to the hospital with what was believed to be a neck stinger.
While the Bobcats certainly won’t be at full strength Friday night, they also won’t struggle to put players on the field who contributed in this season’s wins
Quarterback Ian Weinreich went 7-of-14 for 112 yards and one touchdown, while Dustin Sanchez had seven carries for 56 yards in last week’s game.
On the other sideline is John Mall, which narrowly lost both games on the road this season with a 21-14 loss to St. Mary’s in the season opener and a 10-6 loss to Rye last week.
The Panthers are a run-heavy offense led by junior running back Wesley Van Matre, who has rushed for 327 yards on 42 attempts and has scored all three touchdowns for John Mall this season. No other Panther has ran for more than 100 yards on the season, but senior running back Phillip Valdez IV has 94 yards on 34 carries.
This will be another test for the Bobcats to regain their offense that scored 68 points through the first three games. Meanwhile, the Panthers have struggled to find the end zone with 20 points in two games while giving up 31.
Ignacio has shown signs of its stout defense, shutting out Lake County in Week 1 while it allowed only eight points to Crownpoint before last Friday’s blowout, in which Newcomb scored three times in the second quarter alone. The Bobcats have forced 11 turnovers in three games but failed to do so last week.