For the last three years the Hotchkiss Bulldogs have dominated the field and the scoreboard to win the annual North Fork Bowl football game against Paonia. Since 2010, Hotchkiss has outscored Paonia, 143-20.
This Friday, not only are the North Fork Bowl trophy and bragging rights up for grabs, the neighboring rivals are both 6-1 overall, and at 3-0 are locked in a two-way tie for first place in the 1A Western Slope League.
The last time Paonia won, this year's seniors were in sixth grade, noted Paonia head coach Brent McRae. But this year, Paonia has a chance. "The kids are ready," said McRae.
Both teams are coming off of wins last Friday — Paonia with a 47-8 win over Lake County, and Hotchkiss with a 31-7 win over Roaring Fork.
Taylor Walters ran for 202 yards and four touchdowns in Paonia's win over Lake County (0-7, 0-3). "We took care of business, that's about it," said McRae. Paonia had a 28-0 lead after one quarter and pushed the lead to 41-0 by halftime.
"We just wanted to get out healthy and work on a few things," said McRae. With the big lead, "most of the varsity players were out half-way through the second quarter."
Freshman quarterback Dagan Rienks completed two of five passes for 26 yards and one touchdown pass to Ty Coats. Coats connected with Will Austin on a 25-yard touchdown pass. Joel Simianer had one catch on the night, a 41-yard touchdown pass play.
Paonia moved the ball 250 yards on the ground and 92 yards in the air.
Three of Tony Darling's eight tackles were for losses. Defensive lineman Josh Kimball had one fumble recovery, and Austin returned an interception 28 yards. Place kicker Colby Simpson was five of six in PATs.
Alex Smith led the Bulldog rushing game with 179 yards and two touchdowns in 18 carries in Friday's win at Roaring Fork (2-5, 0-3).
Quarterback Devan Rupe had eight carries for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Duncan Turnbull had four carries for 25 yards and one touchdown.
On defense, River Panish had seven solo tackles, and Caleb Schelle completed five solo tackles and three sacks. Ryan Hafley completed one of two PATs.
With first-round playoffs just over two weeks away, the three Delta County teams are in the top 10 in Class 1A standings in most state polls.
The chsaanow.com coaches' poll ranks Hotchkiss at No. 3, Paonia is sixth and Cedaredge 7th. Buena Vista is at the top of that poll, ahead of Limon.
Friday night's game begins at 7 p.m., at Hotchkiss High School.blog comments powered by Disqus