Ignacio High School put a hurt on the Dolores Bears on Friday night. It was a perfect way for the Bobcats to open the home schedule.
The Bobcats (2-0, 1-0 1A Southern Peaks League) stormed out of the gates and took an early 27-0 lead on Dolores (0-3, 0-2 SPL) after one quarter Friday night at IHS Stadium. The scoring would only continue, as would the strong defensive play, as Ignacio claimed a 43-0 halftime lead before finally finishing with a 57-0 victory.
“The guys are super excited. We have a good feeling now,” said IHS head coach Alfonso “Ponch” Garcia. “The joy of watching their faces, to walk into the locker room, they are understanding how to celebrate being successful now.
“This is for all the seniors who have worked their butts off the last four years. For them to play their first home game tonight of their senior year, it’s awesome. And they went to the fans after the game and sang the school song. It was awesome.”
It was a monster game for IHS junior quarterback Gabe Tucson, who went 13-of-19 passing for 286 yards and four touchdowns, with all of his work coming in the first half.
Not even 90 seconds into the game, he hit Lawrence Toledo on a 40-yard TD pass on the Bobcats’ first play from scrimmage. Toledo would finish with five catches for 81 yards and the touchdown.
Joe Garcia got in the mix in the run game, too. With 9:15 to go in the first quarter, he broke free on a 14-yard TD run to make it 14-0 Bobcats. Garcia finished with 87 rushing yards on 14 carries and had two touchdowns.
“When we have Joe and Gabe back there making reads, it’s fun to watch them run this spread offense,” coach Garcia said. “The way it’s working for us right now, it’s hard to describe. In the past, we had a hard time to even call a play. Now, we have many options. It’s a lot of fun to see the savvy with which the kids are playing with right now.”
Ignacio’s third score came on a 39-yard pass from Tucson to Shawn Campbell. He would finish with three catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns.
With 17.9 seconds to go in the first quarter, Tucson would throw his third long TD pass of the night, this time a 30-yard pass to Dylan Labarthe to make it 27-0.
“He was really good,” coach Garcia said of Tucson. “He kept his composure and was picking his targets. He was hitting everything.”
In the second quarter, Campbell would make a 29-yard field goal to make it 30-0. Three minutes later, he caught a 62-yard TD pass from Tucson and made the extra point to make it 37-0.
Garcia added a 2-yard touchdown run before halftime to give IHS a 43-0 lead and start a mercy-rule running clock for the rest of the game.
Coach Garcia played his reserves the entire second half. John Riepel made the most of his chance with an 8-yard TD run in the third quarter. Tyler Barnes would add a 49-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to round out the Bobcats’ scoring.
“We put the little bitty guys in the second half to get experience,” coach Garcia said. “The game was out of reach. We wanted to teach the younger guys but also the older kids that this is the reason you play the game. It’s for the opportunity to play and to pass something on to the little ones.”
Cale Montoya led Dolores with 40 rushing yards on five carries. Wyatt Koskie was 3-of-19 passing for 29 yards, and he threw an interception to Labarthe. Backup quarterback Dylan Rantz went 1-of-3 passing for 16 yards. Barnes sacked the Dolores quarterbacks three times in his first game of the season.
Toldeo added a fumble recovery for the IHS defense.
Now, Ignacio will get ready to face mighty Centauri (2-0, 2-0 SPL) at 1 p.m. Friday. Centauri beat Del Norte 66-0 on Friday night.
“I told the coaches when we left the field that we need to let our kids know they can play with these guys,” coach Garcia said. “We believe they can go out there and compete and play hard and have fun doing it. Hopefully, with the way things are rolling our way, the momentum continues.”