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IHS football preparing for 2018 season

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018 3:22 PM
Ignacio Football head coach "'Ponch" Garcia prowls the Bobcats' sideline during the 2017 season. Garcia will lead IHS into the 2018 season - his fourth at the helm - when practice officially begins Monday.

Looking at Ignacio High's 2018 football schedule, fans might think matching last season's win total of four is very doable - particularly with five home games on the nine-game itinerary, and three of those against squads which struggled greatly in '17.

A fourth date at IHS Field will be against a team rejoining the Southern Peaks Conference after a year away from competition, leaving only defending SPC champion - and 2017 Class 1A State Playoffs runner-up - Centauri as the crew which could dirty the Bobcats' potential clean sheet at home.

Away from the home turf, however, Coach "Ponch" Garcia's bunch will face much stiffer resistance.

Following the season-opener versus Leadville-based Lake County (2-7, 1-4 1A Tri-Peaks in 2017) on Aug. 24, Ignacio will visit Crownpoint, N.M. on Aug. 31. En route to finishing 3-6 overall, the Eagles went a third-place 1-2 in NMAA District 1-3A play last fall, including a 50-0 home loss to IHS' first foe slated for after Labor Day in 2018: Newcomb, N.M.

After a 36-14 win over 1-3A champs Zuni in the NMAA 3A State Playoffs' opening Round-of-12, the Skyhawks - whom the 'Cats will visit on Sept. 7 - fell 54-0 at vaunted Eunice (destined to finish a 13-0 State Champion) in the quarterfinals. Reclassified into a combined District 1/5 in NMAA Class 2A this year, Newcomb finished a solid 9-3 overall (2-1 in Dist. 1-3A) in '17.

Out of the SoPeaks after a tumultuous season which ended with forfeit losses to Monte Vista, at Ignacio and at Centauri, Walsenburg John Mall (0-8, 0-4 SPC in '17; playing 2018 in the 1A Santa Fe) and new coach Santiago Bobian will travel to Ignacio for a 7 p.m. start on Sept. 14. But after a bye week, IHS will then journey east to test Colorado Springs Christian on Sept. 28.

The Lions finished 6-4 overall and 3-2 in the Tri-Peaks last fall before entering the CHSAA State Playoffs' initial Round-of-16.

At last, SPC action begins for Ignacio on Oct. 5, with Center coming out from the San Luis Valley for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Now under John McGraw, the Vikings did not enter a squad in 2017, but will hope to have reorganized enough to approach their 6-4, 4-1 status from 2016.

The Bobcats will then visit Monte Vista on the 12th, with the always-tough Pirates coming off a 7-4, 3-1 campaign.

Outscored 106-0 by CHS and at MVHS to end their 2017 season, conference nemesis Dolores is slated to come calling on Oct. 19. After going 1-3 in SPC play, the Bears finished 4-5 overall last fall, though their wins came against foes with a combined (based on all available accounts) 2-29 overall record.

Finally, the 'Cats will clash with Centauri on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. Still with plenty of talent returning at most positions, the Falcons went 4-0 in the SPC last year and finished 12-1 overall after a 10-7, double-overtime loss at home to Strasburg in the 1A State Championship.

After picking up bizarre forfeit wins over JMHS and non-conference Dolores Huerta Prep of Pueblo, Ignacio finished 4-5 overall in 2017, with a third-place 2-2 in the Southern Peaks.

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