It was an exciting week of Las Animas County high school football that had the Branson/Kim Bearcats defending their field against the La Veta/Aguilar Redskins on homecoming night.
Meanwhile, the Trinidad Mighty Miners traveled to face the 2A Lamar Savages on the eastern plains under the Friday night lights.
The three young Las Animas County teams will now look to bolster their records to end out the year and find experience for their youthful squads ahead of the 2021 football season.
Branson/Kim 79 – La Veta/Aguilar 20
It was Homecoming week for the Branson Bearcats as they faced the La Veta/Aguilar Redskins on a windy Friday.
The game was highly anticipated for both teams, as they looked to improve their 1-3 records.
The Redskins took the field missing senior quarterback Ian Vallejos and converted running back Gage Eddleman to field general for the game.
Cade Smith sent the ball into play with a strong wind out of the southwest just after 1 p.m.
After the Redskins punted on the first drive, the Bearcats took over and capitalized. Freshman Brock Doherty broke a tackle and took off to the end zone to put the Bearcats up 6-0.
Back on offense, the Redskins fumbled a snap that was recovered by the defense. Cade Smith then garnered another touchdown to put the Bearcats up 12-0 quick.
Chasing the deficit, the Redskins offense tried spreading out the Branson defense.
The change allowed Redskin quarterback Gus Andreatta to march down the field with quarterback runs. He ran through the Branson defense to the end zone, bringing his team towithin four.
Branson’s Joe Cash Autry then stood in the end zone to receive a deep Redskins kickoff, which he fumbled. Fortunately, he found both the ball and the sideline and took it 80-yards to the house.
Branson followed that play up with an onside kickoff from Smith that was fumbled by the Redskins and recovered by the Bearcats.
Capitalizing on the bonus-possession was Peyton Cranson, who took a reverse run for the Bearcats to the end zone.
The Redskins would strike back, however, on their next two ensuing possessions. First, the Redskin’s Eddleman connected with Andreatta on a 40-yard pass for one score. Just two plays later, an open freshman receiver Max Parker caught an Eddleman pass to put the Redskins on the scoreboard again. They ended the first quarter down 10, 24-14.
In the second quarter, Brock Doherty found the end zone three times, receiving two catches from his brother Brody. The Bearcats held a commanding 53-14 lead at the half.
“They had some great defense on the spread that we threw at them, but we could not get our quarterback to run the football. There was too much dancing around in the backfield. I think we missed some opportunities running and he missed some receivers downfield,” said La Veta’s Orvitez.
Yet the Redskins buckled down on defense and set the tone in the second half as a Branson fumble led to an Eddleman scoop-and-score.
After taking the ball back in the Bearcats red zone after the second fumble of the quarter, the Redskins narrowly missed a pass to the end zone and came up short turning the ball back over to the Bearcats.
Andreatta said, “We got down on ourselves a lot. And then halftime rolled around and we wanted to pick it back up and make it fun. We only have a couple games left and we decided ‘let us make some fun out of it’ and I think we changed the pace of the game a little bit.”
A rushing touchdown from Cranson brought the score to 59-20 in the Bearcat’s favor.
After a competitive third quarter, the Bearcats rolled up another 20 points to finish the game with 79-20 victory.
“We finally started clicking. Everyone started working together. Blocks were phenomenal. (Our) defense was doing a good job containing a mobile quarterback,” said Brody Doherty. “We just really got all of our stuff together and the game showed it.”
Both Cranson and Brock Doherty had four touchdowns for the game and accounted for over 400-yards of offense.
“I feel like we finally lived up to the potential that we have, and I just want to keep it going for the rest of the year,” said Branson’s Adam Lucero. “You always want your team to win homecoming. I am glad we won this game and got to send our seniors out on a last home game win.”
This win is big as the Bearcats travel to Cheraw and face the No. 6-ranked Wolverines to finish out the regular season.
The now 1-4 La Veta Redskins will go on the road and face the 1-3 Cotopaxi Pirates this Saturday at 1 p.m.
Lamar Savages 53 — Trinidad Miners 0
The Trinidad Miners traveled a 13-man roster to Lamar on Friday night and faced the Class 2A, seventh-ranked Savages.
The Miners lost junior linebacker and captain Grady Stanley early in the first half to an ankle injury and Trinidad went down 41-0 in the first quarter while missing their defensive leadership.
Lamar sat back on defense and put in their junior varsity team for the second quarter.
The Miners held the Savage’s JV team to six points in the quarter and Trinidad went into halftime down 47-0.
In the second half, the Miners made progress on offense and held their ground defensively. The team conceded only one touchdown in the second half.
“We started to get the ball moving with Isaiah Bowman a little bit in the second half and he went down (lower back injury). We put Elijah Miller, who usually plays receiver or halfback, at quarterback,” said Miners Head Coach Justin Malano.
Malano’s team played with just 11 players in the second half and missed leadership on both sides of the football.
“We had some success with the football, throwing it in the second half and with Elijah running it, as well,” Malano said.
The Miners schedule is up in the air as their week six opponent, the No. 3-ranked Florence Huskies, are in quarantine this week.