Football season an up-and-down ride

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Adrian Hernandez breaks into the open field in the Nucla Homecoming game this year. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal Adrian Hernandez breaks into the open field in the Nucla Homecoming game this year.

For the Mancos Bluejays football team, the 2013 season turned out to be one of extremes. On one side of the spectrum were two blowout victories. On the other side were seven blowout losses.

The season proved to be a growing experience for the young Bluejays.

BLOWOUT VICTORIES

HIGHLIGHT SEASON

There is little doubt that the Bluejays' two victories provided the high points of the 2013 season.

The first victory came at home against Nucla on Sept. 20 in a game that saw the Bluejays build a 40-0 first-quarter lead in route to a 76-0 victory.

Multiple Bluejays, including Adrian Hernandez, Everett Strazza-Whalen, Andrew Morgan, Brandon Hood-Farley and Steven Rohweder scored at least one touchdown in the romp.

"Our ability to play as a team and not yell at each other helped us," Rohweder said.

The Bluejays' second victory came a week later on Sept. 28 against Plateau Valley. They won 74-8.

Key in the Bluejays victory was a balanced attack keyed by the passing of Alex Morgan and the running of Steven Roweder.

"(Rohweder) ran well and did an excellent job. (Morgan) did an outstanding job of putting the ball in receivers' hands," said Bluejays head coach Adam Priestley after the win.

LOSING STREAKS

PLAGUE BLUEJAYS

Immediately preceding and proceeding the Bluejays' midseason wins were two losing streaks that doomed the season.

The first streak began on Aug. 31, lasted three games and included blowout losses to Sangre de Cristo, Sierra Grande and Sanford.

After his team's loss to Sanford on Sept. 13, Priestley lamented, "We're averaging five turnovers per game. "Teams don't win when they turn the ball over five times."

The second losing streak began Oct. 4, lasted four games and included defeats to Dove Creek, Norwood, Rangely and Sanford. During the streak, the Bluejays were outscored 201-12.

A BRIGHT FUTURE

Although the Bluejays will graduate five seniors, including standout performers Rohweder and Ty Koppenhafer, the team's future looks promising.

Next season, skill players including Morgan, Strazza-Whalen, Hernandez and Hood Farley will return and combine with solid returners and talented up-and-coming eighth-graders.

"With some dedication and hard work during the offseason, I see our team getting better," said Priestley. "We've just got to have dedication and a no-quit attitude."