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48 – 6 = Sweet 16

NUCLA, CO- The La Veta Redskins corralled the Mustangs from Nucla, 48-6 in the preliminary round of the Class A 8-Man football playoffs, sending La Veta to the first round of the state playoffs.  This is the Skins’ first time in the sweet 16 playoff round this decade.  In the past three years, the Skins lost in the preliminary rounds, dashing their hopes for a state crown.  Last Saturday, their dreams remained alive as the Redskins played with a purpose and dominated both sides of the ball.

    La Veta scored on their first possession after they stopped the Mustangs’ initial drive.  The score came from a well-executed drive and ended with a Ron-Ortivez-to-Dalton-Mason, 17-yard touchdown pass.  The pass was one of three touchdowns that the O&M connection would complete.  Mason also scored off receptions of 53 and 20 yards. Mason completed 120 yards receiving for the night. Ortivez’s second favorite receiver was Trey Price who caught two passes for 65 yards including a 41-yard touchdown romp. Ortivez’s 204 yards in the air equaled his best performance of the season.  His other big game came against Hoehne earlier in the year.

    Price was tenacious on the ground as well.  He was the leading rusher with 88 yards on 17 carries.  Ortivez rushed for 80.  Jared Ray had a kickoff return for 75 yards which set up an Ortivez-to-Matt-Hammernik 8-yard TD pass.

    Defensively, the Skins shut down the Mustangs for two and a half quarters, allowing a 43-yard touchdown strike from Erik Galzara to Dirk Sumin.  Other than that big play, the Skins did their job in containing the two stars from Nucla.  Galarza was picked three times and the Skins forced Sumin to cough up the ball once.

    The Skins will need to continue the aggressive defense if they are to advance in the tourney. They will next face the Springfield Longhorns in Springfield on Saturday.  Kickoff is slated for 1 pm.  The Horns are rated number 13 in the state and the match-up should be a defensive battle.  Springfield is on a roll, having defeated number 5 Walsh at the end of the season and Hanover to advance in the playoffs.

    The Longhorns typically like to run the ball.  Quarterback Michael Crane runs the option well, usually giving the ball to powerhouse, Blayne Kirk.  Kirk ran for over 800 yards on the season and averaged 115 yards per game or 7.92 yards per carry.  Crane rushes for 3.98 yards per carry.  The Longhorns have only passed the ball forty times the entire season and have not been very effective.  If the Skins can stop Kirk and the Hutches brothers and control the ground game, their dream should continue.

    If that should happen, the brackets favor the Redskins. The Skins are in the lower brackets and are placed opposite divisional rivals Antonito and Sanford, both of which defeated the Skins in the regular season.  The toughest competition, should La Veta advance, would be in the next round where they could face Dayspring-Christian, the number-two team in the state.  Still, do not count anyone out.  At this point in the season anyone could win.