Cael Schaefer ran wild for the Wolverines Friday night deep in Mean Moose territory.
The Bayfield High School football star broke free for four touchdowns, and the Wolverines’ historically stout defense played true to form to give Bayfield a big Class 2A Intermountain League victory Friday night. Schaefer scored every touchdown in the game, as Bayfield trounced Alamosa 28-10.
It was a big win for the Wolverines (2-3, 1-0 IML), who a week earlier were blown out at home 55-0 by Class 3A Durango (3-2). As four-time defending league champions, Bayfield got off to a strong start on its quest for a fifth consecutive title by blasting seventh-ranked Alamosa (3-2, 0-1 IML).
“We came here to get to 1-0 in league,” BHS head coach Gary Heide said. “We were rock bottom last Friday, and we were still down Monday. We had to pick the kids up. We knew this could be a big game for us. We’re still only at the bottom of the hill of this season, but we’re climbing up. Give it to our kids, they didn’t jump in the ditch after last week, they climbed out.”
The Wolverines have now won 22 consecutive games in league play. The win helped BHS avoid a three-game losing streak, which would have been the team’s first since 2009. It was the eighth consecutive win against Alamosa.
Scahefer finished with 164 yards on 26 carries to go with his four scores. Schaefer also had a big 32-yard reception in the third quarter.
“We knew he was a great ball carrier,” Heide said. “Coming into the game, we knew he had to carry the load. The more load I gave him, the better he carried it, and we piled it on him. We went with him and our offensive line, which was blowing guys off the ball, and Brecken Espinosa was out front of Cael blocking on almost all of those runs. Cael is a special runner, and he made some special moves tonight and was hard to bring down.”
John Foutz set the tone for the Wolverines on defense and special teams. The defense forced an early turnover on downs on Alamosa’s opening drive. When the Wolverines went three-and-out on offense, it was a Foutz punt that pinned Alamosa on its 7-yard line. Foutz had three punts that pinned the Mean Moose on their own 10 or worse in the game.
“Big John Foutz, he and special teams coach Colter McMemnimen got that down this week with the rugby punts, and he was booming them,” Heide said.
After a big run from Luke Smith got Alamosa out to the 28-yard-line, a Foutz shoestring tackle followed by a Foutz sack forced an Alamosa punt situation. The Mean Moose faked the punt and ran and appeared to have a first down, but the Alamosa player fumbled and it was recovered by Trenton Harrison of Bayfield on the Alamosa 39.
A 12-yard TD run by Schaefer opened the scoring with 2:20 to go in the first quarter.
Later in the second quarter, Schaefer intercepted a pass from Alamosa quarterback Brendon Madril. The pass was tipped at the line by Foutz, and Schaefer made a play to intercept the ball on the Alamosa 34-yard line.
The Wolverines would then score again with 3:26 to go in the first half on a 5-yard run by Schaefer to make it 14-0. The score came after a big 31-yard pass play from quarterback Isaac Ross to receiver Crosby Edwards that got BHS to the Alamosa 6-yard line. Ross finished 4-of-9 passing for 93 yards.
The Mean Moose would score quickly before halftime on a 27-yard field goal to cut the Bayfield lead to 14-3. That drive was aided by 30 yards of Bayfield penalties on one play for a roughing the passer call followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that got Alamosa to the Bayfield 10-yard line.
The teams exchanged punts much of the third quarter until Bayfield got the ball on its own 44 with 2:32 to go in the quarter. Schaefer had a big run to the Alamosa 7, and he would score on the first play of the fourth quarter from four yards out to make it 21-3.
After Bayfield partially blocked an Alamosa punt, the Wolverines again had a short field. Schaefer then broke free for a 27-yard TD run to make it 28-3 with 9:05 to go in the game.
Alamosa would mount its best offensive drive late in the fourth quarter, and Kasey Jones made a 15-yard TD pass to Hayden Shawcroft with 4:06 to play to cut the Wolverines’ lead to 28-10. Jones replaced Madril at QB for the final three possession of the game. A Hunter Bayles sack of Jones on Alamosa’s final drive effectively ended the game.
Bayfield had few mistakes in the game, and most were in the form of holding penalties. With a few key players back from injury, the Wolverines looked every bit like a Class 2A playoff team in a game many expected to decide which team would win this year’s league title.
Next week, BHS will welcome a non-league contest against New Mexico Class 5A Farmington at 7 p.m. Friday at Wolverine Country Stadium in Bayfield. The next IML contest will come Oct. 18 at Montezuma-Cortez in what will be the 700th game in the history of BHS football.
“I think we will use this energy we have from this one, get some guys back healthy and be ready to play,” Heide said. “I think the injury bug is leaving us, and I think we’re going to be OK to go into Farmington with some momentum.”