One win. That’s all that is on the minds of the football players from Alamosa and Bayfield high schools ahead of Friday night’s game at Wolverine Country Stadium.
Familiar foes will meet once more at 7 p.m. Friday in Bayfield. The Alamosa Mean Moose (0-3) and Bayfield Wolverines (0-4) are both in search of their first win of the season. For Bayfield, which hadn’t started a season 0-4 since 2005, it will come in the final scheduled home game of the six-game regular season that was shortened with a late fall start and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve had a real good week. We are disappointed being eliminated from the playoffs, but we are also real fortunate to play football this fall,” said Bayfield head coach Gary Heide. “We are looking forward to this game, our last home game, and we feel this is our chance for a victory. We want to seize the moment.”
The Class 2A Southwest League matchup – normally a showdown in the 2A Intermountain League before districts were redrawn during a year of pandemic football – has been a lopsided affair throughout history. Bayfield is 8-0 all-time in varsity football against Alamosa dating back to 2010. Last season, Bayfield won 28-10 on the road behind a big rushing game from Cael Schaefer, who had 167 yards and all four Bayfield touchdowns on 28 carries.
Schaefer will be back to tote the football Friday night once more against the Mean Moose. But the Wolverines’ rush attack has struggled to get going much of the season. Heide knows that will need to change for the team to get a win Friday night.
“Our philosophy is always to get that run game going so that our play-action passes mean something and has more of a chance to work,” Heide said. “In the past, we have had the run game going and had domination on the line. Everything feeds off of that for us. Once you get the power running going, it opens up the play-action passes and other counters and runs. That’s the goal.”
Bayfield has only 316 total team rushing yards this season. Senior Cade Carlson has led the way with 136 yards on 40 carries, while Schaefer has 97 on 31 carries. Last week, BHS did find some success on the ground through Deegan Barnes, a sophomore who ran six times for 25 yards and a touchdown in the loss at Class 1A power Florence.
The team has turned more to junior quarterback Isaac Ross, who is 43-of-79 passing for 619 yards and three touchdowns with five interceptions.
Six different players have caught a pass this season for BHS, led by senior Crosby Edwards getting the bulk of targets. He has 16 catches for 326 yards and three touchdowns this season. Last week, Ross was able to establish a connection with sophomore receiver Caden Wood, who now has eight catches for 98 yards. Schaefer has added nine catches for 83 yards for BHS out of the backfield.
“We are making sure everybody gets their shot,” Heide said. “We have found some bright spots with a few people the last few weeks with some guys out injured or ineligible.”
Dante Gonzales Jr. has led the Alamosa backfield with 166 yards and two scores on 36 carries. He compliments sophomore quarterback Kasey Jones, who has passed for 387 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, though he has completed only 42.2% of his passes this season.
BHS will look to stop the run first and hope for some opportunities to force some turnovers, which the Wolverines’ defense has been able to do with plenty of success all season despite four tough losses.
“Both teams are looking for a spark,” Heide said. “The team that gets their own spark first is going to come out on top. The team that plays with the most passion for high school football will win the game.
Our seniors are optimistic. Not one has been negative. They are leading the time in the right direction, and we have the right players to win this game. It is up to me to get them in the right direction to get a victory. This season is culminating real quick. There would be nothing better than to leave that field one last time with a victory.”