Shortly after his team defeated Hayden High School two weeks ago, Mancos High School’s physical senior linebacker, Colt Fury, proclaimed, “I think we’re the hardest-hitting team in eight-man football right now.”
Then, last week, the Bluejays (2-0) made good on Fury’s proclamation by bludgeoning a tough team from Norwood High School into submission during what turned out to be a convincing 52-12 road victory.
Now 2-0 on the season and riding a wave of confidence, Fury and his teammates will set their sights on an Oct. 24 home contest against a hard-hitting team from Sargent High School that appears to be better than its 1-1 record indicates.
Known for their physical run-heavy game plan, the Farmers figure to lean heavily on senior Kage Pepper, who ran for 194 yards and scored three touchdowns during his team’s 58-31 loss to Mancos last season.
Sargent lost to Dove Creek 41-12 last week after trailing 8-6 at halftime.
Also figuring to play a prominent role for the Farmers is senior running back Payton Brown, who has run the ball 38 times for 280 yards while scoring one rushing touchdown. Senior Blake Behill, whose speed can create problems for opposing defenses, could also see carries this weekend.
While Sargent’s run-heavy style could cause problems for Mancos, the Bluejays’ multifaceted offensive attack will be unlike anything the Farmers have seen this season and could turn the game into a one-sided blowout.
Mancos star running back Chase Moore has been almost unstoppable over the first two games of the year while carrying the ball 34 times for 376 yards and seven touchdowns, and he will look to follow up on last season’s performance against Sargent during which he ran for a season-high 398 yards and scored a season-high six touchdowns.
If the Farmers are somehow able to limit Moore’s running lanes and yardage, the team’s defense will still have to contend with Bluejays sophomore quarterback Ayden Mathews, who has shown uncanny poise while tossing six touchdown passes and no interceptions this season.
“Being behind Breccen (Morelli) last year was really beneficial to me,” said Mathews. “It was a big part of preparing myself for this year. It made me more comfortable.
Other Mancos players likely to make an impact during Saturday’s contest include senior running back/receiver Christian Cova, who has amassed 94 receiving yards and caught three touchdown passes this season.
Defensive ends Lot Martin and Jesse Henry have consistently shown an ability to rush opposing passers while Fury’s physicality and Moore’s ball-hawking ability have aided the Mancos defense in forcing five turnovers this season.
While anything can happen on a high school football field, look for Mancos, which is ranked No. 4 in the Colorado High School Association’s latest football poll to score early and often against the Farmers and race to a relatively easy double-digit victory.
“We’re just going to keep doing what we do,” Moore said this season. “Hopefully we can end up in the state championship where we belong.”