Four fumbles was all it took last Friday for Bayfield to implode at home against Montezuma-Cortez in 2A Western Slope [South] Conference play.
Junior Zane Phelps asserted himself and the Wolverine offense early, scoring with 9:04 left in the opening quarter, but M-CHS senior Johnathan Walck responded by leading two Panther possessions ending with short touchdowns keepers.
Things looked good just before halftime, when BHS senior Colter McMenimen's 18-yard TD grab from junior quarterback Kelton McCoy kept the Wolverines at 13-14.
But Cortez had a strong third quarter, ending the game 47-13.
Now tied for fourth in conference, the Wolverines (3-4, 1-2) must perform well in their final two regular-season games to make the 2A state playoffs. The first is in Alamosa tonight, with the Mean Moose entering 2-5, 1-2 after falling 31-16 last Friday at first-place Gunnison (6-1, 3-0). They play Pagosa Oct. 24.
On Monday, CHSAA released its first wild-card points list. Though BHS' loss on Friday hurt, it wasn't as bad as feared. With 16 teams making the 'Big Dance,' Bayfield goes into tonight's battle standing 14th.