The Primero Bulldogs wanted to win its Southwest matchup at La Veta. But more than anything, the Bulldogs desperately sought to avoid another blowout after last week's embarrassing loss to Cotopaxi.
They played hard, if not well, and kept it close for a half despite injuries and mental ques. However, unable to block the bigger and faster La Veta defenders, Primero succumbed to La Veta 58-25 on Friday night in a cold driving rain.
“I really don’t think that they were that much better than us,” said head coach Kyle Navarette. The Dogs offense relied mainly on their power game and answered La Veta point for point until midway through the second quarter before the Redskins began to pull away thanks to Bulldog miscues and turnovers. “Physically, I think we are just as good as everybody. We just couldn’t put it together for four quarters tonight.”
The Redskins rolled up over 400 yards of total offense and scored on plays of 19, 37 and 45 yards en route to their fourth straight Southwest Conference victory in the 2015 season. It was the first league and third consecutive loss for the Bulldogs, who are trying to make it back to the post season after a two-year hiatus. They will now face an uphill battle.
La Veta struck first blood halfway through the first quarter, but it wasn’t long before the Dogs answered back. The orange and black used a methodical 65-yard drive capped by a 1-yard run by fullback Julian Trujillo to cut the lead to 7-6 going into the second quarter.
The Bulldogs saw the floodgates open soon after and La Veta began to pull away scoring two early touchdowns within the first three minutes of the second quarter. From that point on, for every touchdown the Primero scored, La Veta answered back with two more. The Dogs went into halftime trailing La Veta 26-12.
The Redskins wasted little time in the second half adding to their lead. The No. 10 team in the state scored on passing plays of 1, 19, 37 and 45 yards in the third and fourth quarters. The defense was just as impressive as they held the high scoring Primero offense to just 13 second half points, all in the third quarter. “Their defense played tough. They liked to hit,” said Navarette. “But this game comes down to mental errors and those will kill you and that’s what happened to us tonight.”
To make matters worse, starting quarterback Darius Lopez and receiver Vinny Damelio both injured themselves and would be playing hurt the second half. Lopez suffered a rib injury late in the second quarter after taking a hard hit on defense and Navarette there was talk at halftime of him not returning to the game in the second half. The gutsy sophomore showed his reliance, however and stayed in the game until a hard hit by a handful of La Veta defenders forced him out late in the fourth quarter.
“Darius could have come out when it happened, but he showed a lot of guts and resilience battling the way he did. Unfortunately towards the end, it got the best of him. We had to make some adjustments and some kids stepped up and overall, I’m proud of those guys,” the first year head coach said.
The Dogs return home Friday night to take on Cheraw at 7 p.m. in Primero. Navarette and company could have their hands full with the No. 8 team in the land, but he is confident in his team’s capabilities and said if they can come out and give it their all and not give up when faced with adversity, they should be alright.
“Those boys didn’t give up at all, and that says a lot about them. This game will teach you a lot about who you are, not only on the field, but also in life and that’s what I like to teach. We are trying to create great football players on the field, but we want to create better men on and off the field and I think that goes a long way,” he said.