By Wayne Crick
Hotchkiss High School’s 2020 football season was on a roll through six games with the Bulldogs entering last weekend’s Class 1A state playoff with a perfect 6-0 record. Hotchkiss’ opponent, Wray, entered the first-round game with a 5-1 record and a history of playoff berths. Hotchkiss drew first blood in the game on a Yahir Chavez 2-yard run in the opening quarter. Saul Cortez gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead as the game went to the second quarter.
Wray quarterback, senior Tyler Collins, must have gained some crucial insight on how to turn the game around and proceeded to give the Eagles some much needed momentum with three rushing touchdowns in the second quarter to power Wray to a 24-7 halftime lead. Collins, and the Eagles, used a running game to score all their extra point conversions in the game with Collins running for two of the three conversion tries and senior Junior Arumbula scoring the third.
Collins picked up his fourth touchdown of the game in the third quarter, and added the 2-point conversion, to boost Wray’s lead to 32-7. The Eagles added their final touchdown on a Peyton Wade 5-yard run with about eight minutes left in the game that gave the Eagles a 38-7 lead.
Hotchkiss connected on a Chavez to Blaine Peebles pass that was good for 42 yards and the game’s final score and a 38-13 loss for the Bulldogs.
Chavez finished the game with seven of 12 passing and 109 yards and one touchdown while the ground game accumulated 88 yards on 23 rushes for a total of 197 yards of offense. Hotchkiss’ Mordecai White was held in check with just 20 yards on five carries. Chavez had 33 yards on seven carries to lead the Bulldogs ground game.
Collins was five for nine passing for 87 yards and carried the ball 37 times for 203 yards rushing for the Eagles in the win.
Peebles’ 42-yard touchdown reception led Hotchkiss’ passing stats with the junior standout catching four passes for 72 yards. Wray’s Bryant Schoenthal had three catches for 75 yards to lead the Eagles air attack.
Defensively, Hotchkiss’ Adam Smith recorded seven solo tackles and nine assists for a total of 16 involved tackles with teammate Drayden Taylor making eight solo tackles and three assists. Wray’s Arumbula and Wade finished with nine tackles each and Alexis Aguila and Collins had eight tackles each.
Hotchkiss coach Curtis Hintz was disappointed with the loss but, as always, had positive things to say about both teams in the contest.
“Hats off to coach (Levi) Kramer and his team. They played a great game this past Saturday. But, I’m proud of my group in the season that they had. I want to thank my seniors for a fantastic four years and I am looking forward to the 2021 season.”
The next round (semifinals) of the 1A state playoffs will be played on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 1 p.m. No. 1 Limon will play No. 4 Wray (at a site yet to be determined as both teams hosted previous games) and No. 2 Strasburg will travel to No. 6 Centauri for the second semifinal contest to be played on Saturday. The winners play in Pueblo (ThunderBowl on the campus of CSU-Pueblo) on Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. for the state 1A Championship.