Dove Creek football primed for season
Local power looks to build on tradition of success
Sam Green/Cortez Journal
Every year the names of the players who wear the blue and gold jerseys change. What remains constant, however, when it comes to Dove Creek football, is the winning tradition. What remains constant is the expectation of excellence.
Coming off the 2012 season, which ended with a heartbreaking loss in the state quarterfinals, Bulldog football is again primed for success as the 2013 season gets underway. With a roster built around experienced seniors and talented youngsters, this year’s team figures to once again be a force in the always-competitive Western League.
Leading this year’s offense will be sophomore quarterback Jordon Ernst. While Ernst will be hard-pressed to fill the shoes of now-departed quarterback and 2012 Western League Offensive Player of the Year, Dalton Randolph, hopes are high for the young signal-caller.
“(Ernst) has a great arm,” said head coach Shane Baughman. “He ran the offense for a year on the JV side of things. He’s a great athlete and I expect him to do well.”
“I think that (Earnst) will do fine,” said senior receiver Nick Jones. “At camps this summer, he did pretty good. He’s young, but he works very hard.”
At the tailback position, junior Chance Randolph will garner the majority of the carries, while sophomore Case Baughman and senior Dylan Daves will see time at fullback.
Charged with protecting Ernst and opening holes for Randolph and company, a senior-laden offensive line, led by Tyson Smith, will look to bring stability to the offense.
Returning senior wide receiver Nick Jones will anchor this year’s group of pass-catchers. Coming off a season in which he accumulated 238 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns, Jones is working hard to lead the team’s younger players.
“I encourage our young guys to work hard at their position,” explained Jones. “It’s important to keep at it. Hard work will allow us to have success.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs will aim to create turnovers while mantaining a disciplined team-oriented attack. Jones will be depended upon to pressure the quarterback and close running lanes while Smith will look to limit opponents’ big plays from his defensive back position.
Opening the season away from home against Simla on Aug. 24, the Bulldogs will play two straight road games before returning to Dove Creek for the home opener on Sept. 6. Dove Creek will then play two more games before meeting local rival, Mancos, on Oct. 4, in what figures to be a showdown. The Bulldogs conclude the regular season against league power Norwood on Oct. 18.
While it is still too early to tell just how good this year’s team will be, players are well aware of Dove Creek’s winning tradition and as always, carry high hopes.
“It’s a thrill to play for Dove Creek,” said Smith. “Our community shuts down and everyone is here to watch the games. As a team, we’re hoping to make the final four (in the state).”
Certainly lofty goals, but given Dove Creek’s long history of success on the gridiron, there is no reason to doubt that a top-4 finish in the state is an unreachable goal. Whatever the case, the 2013 season promises to be an exciting one for an always football-crazy town.