As potent as Bayfield had heard Alamosa's quarterback-led ground game could be, the #3-ranked (CHSAANow.com Class 2A poll, Sept. 24) Wolverines as a whole were, to the Mean Moose, just as good as.well.advertised.
Regular renditions of a popular beer campaign's catch phrase wouldn't let them forget as BHS' Homecoming Week game Friday, Sept. 28, took on a "Dilly, dilly!" sort of party atmosphere.
With a slight variation in spelling, of course.
Grabbing two first-half interceptions, directly leading to nine momentum-building points on the scoreboard, Dylan Hilliker gave Bayfield's fans plenty reason to shout.
Hilliker's snag of a deflected Brendon Madril pass resulted in a 28-yard Max McGhehey field goal with 4:05 left before intermission. Then a clean theft of a Chad Jackson throw led to a 1-yard David Hawkins TD plunge with 26 seconds remaining.
Hilliker saved his finest highlight for shortly after halftime, which featured the Marching Wolverines performing, appropriately, music regularly underscoring football highlight packages.
With BHS leading AHS 16-0 through two quarters, BHS senior quarterback Hayden Farmer looked to begin the third quarter crushing the visitors' hopes with a first-down bomb to senior Keyon Prior. Incomplete. Crowd exhales.
Hawkins gains two hard yards on second. Crowd volume rises.
Hilliker runs left on third, suddenly reverses direction and weaves wide right, then angles back towards the middle farther downfield before crossing the goal line for a spectacular 64-yard touchdown:
"I give it all for the team, and when everyone does their jobs plays happen," said Hilliker. "I can't assume how a play's going to go; I just take whatever I see as an opportunity. Make a cut, then the next cut.and it just comes as it comes."
"That describes Dylan," head coach Gary Heide said. "Sometimes we're like, 'Where're you going on that play?' But he's out there because he's a star player for us, and he just busts those kinds (of runs). When he's running, he's a ball of energy and you'd better put about four guys to take him down! He bounces around, and it is so fun to watch when he gets going."
McGhehey's point-after kick was good, increasing Bayfield's lead to 23-0 with 10:56 left in the third quarter, and the Wolverines realized all that was needed to clinch victory in the teams' 2A Intermountain opener was basic ball and clock control. The defense made sure Farmer & Co. would spend most of the second half dictating tempo and imposing the Wolverines' will.
Alamosa's two brief third-quarter possessions, each a three-and-out ended by a Jackson punt, lasted a combined 2 minutes, 43 seconds. BHS for all practical purposes ended the third with a devastating 15-play, 81-yard march, using 5:51 of clock and capped by a 1-yard Farmer keeper with just 13 seconds left.
"We did have a rough first half with some miscues, with signals and stuff, but then towards the end of the second quarter we started finding our rhythm," said Farmer, who'd also scored the game's first points with a 1-yard carry, capping a 12-play, 62-yard drive with 9:04 left in the second. "Once we get our rhythm, we're set to go."
McGhehey's third PAT in four tries split the uprights, putting the Wolverines up 30-0. A high snap resulted in Alamosa taking a 15-yard loss to end the third.
Alamosa was then pressured into committing an intentional-grounding violation beginning the fourth quarter, and after another hurried incompletion, Tyler Duarte was sent out to punt.
"I've looked over the film the past few years, you know, and that's our m.o.-to play stellar defense, and give time to that offense to start focusing, taking over physically," Heide said. "And that's exactly what happened. Hats off to our entire team and coaching staff."
Jackson did manage to lead the Moose on an impressive 14-play, 87-yard drive consuming 5:19 of clock, and denied Bayfield a shutout via a 1-yard flip to Nick Brubacher with just 2:03 left in the game. But Ben Wuckert's attempted two-point run behind left guard failed, as did Alamosa's subsequent onside-kick attempt. That allowed the Wolverines to literally run out the penultimate 1:51.
"Good disruption by the defensive line, those middle linebackers, a lot of credit to those guys," said Hilliker (7-76 rushing, 3-41 receiving). "And outside linebackers flushing out the quarterback, it all came together on defense tonight, and that's something we need to keep on doing moving forward."
"Coach (Mike) Wnorowski set our guys up again to have a great game, and that's what they did!" Farmer said. "Kids made plays, and that's what you've got to do to win games-win the turnover ratio," referring to the Wolverines' four first-half takeaways, including a McGhehey interception of Madril, ending AHS' second series, as well as a Hawkins punt block. "And we did that tonight; I'm just proud of our team."
Farmer unofficially finished 10-of-19 passing for 150 yards with no interceptions, while Hawkins gained 70 yards on 20 carries and Prior 54 on 11. Crosby Edwards caught three passes for 51 yards, James Mottin two for 46, and Prior two for 12. BHS rose to 4-1 overall, 1-0 in conference two weeks after a humbling 32-16 loss at 3A Durango.
"Yeah...a rivalry game like that, you've got to feed off it, and that's exactly what we did," Farmer said. "Took it as a learning experience, practiced hard all week, and we went out there and did our thing."
"There was a lot of work to be put in, we addressed a lot of mistakes, and we really wanted to progress as a team," agreed Hilliker. "And knowing the plays.we did that out here. Showed the progress we'd made, and the hard work paid off."
Wuckert managed a respectable 45 yards on 10 carries for Alamosa (3-2, 0-1), but Madril finished with minus-4 on ten and was just 1-of-7 passing for 39 yards. Jackson was 6-of-16 for 111 yards, but ended up with nine carries for minus-9.
Up next for Bayfield will be an Oct. 12 visit from Montezuma-Cortez. The Panthers, who fell 41-28 at home on the 28th to Pagosa Springs, are set to visit Alamosa first on Friday, Oct. 5.
DID YOU KNOW: Since descending from Class 3A to 2A in 2010 for football, Alamosa has never beaten Bayfield in the teams' seven meetings, with the Wolverines now holding a 266-49-or an even 38-7 margin per game-scoring advantage. AHS was a short-time Tri-Peaks member in 2012 and '13.
CHSAANOW.COM CLASS 2A FOOTBALL POLL (released 10/1): 1.La Junta, 2.Kersey Platte Valley, 3.Rifle, 4.BAYFIELD, 5.Loveland Resurrection Christian, 6.Basalt, 7.Salida, 8.Eaton, 9.Englewood Kent Denver, 10.Delta. Others receiving votes-Pagosa Springs, Berthoud, Denver D'Evelyn, Alamosa, Arvada Faith Christian, Aspen.