Hotchkiss High School’s football team faced an emotionally hampered football team in Parachute Oct. 11, when the whistle blew to begin play between Class 1A WSL foes Grand Valley and Hotchkiss high schools. Although Cardinal players gave it their all, the game at hand may not have been the main focus for Grand Valley players and its community members.

Football stadiums around the Western Slope were conducting fundraisers for Grand Valley’s Cayden Schaeffer, who sustained a serious head injury on Oct. 4 against Meeker. Though Schaeffer has shown encouraging recovery, he will need more time to make a full recovery.

The Bulldogs put up bigger numbers in most all categories of the game. Hotchkiss had 75 yards through the air on junior Yahir Chavez’s three of eight passing and one touchdown while Cardinal quarterback Hector Delacruz threw seven times for 46 yards.

Hotchkiss senior Jace Peebles rushed for 208 yards on 16 carries and scored two touchdowns in the game. The Cardinals rushed for 64 yards, with Emilio Garcia’s 58 yards on nine carries leading the way.

Bulldogs’ coach Curtis Hintz touted the play of Adam Smith in the game, especially on defense.

“He had a fantastic day on special teams and defense with 23 total tackles (10 solo and 13 assists),” the coach said.

Sophomore Blaine Peebles was also a key contributor in Hotchkiss’ play on defense with a 65-yard interception return for six points and a fumble recovery for another TD.

Smith wasn’t the only Bulldog with double digit tackle numbers in the game. Sophomore Drayden Taylor and senior Jacob Palecki finished the game with 16 tackles each while sophomore Coulson Hollembeak had 14 and junior Traycer Hall had 12. Junior Oliver Mendoza got into the defensive statistics column after pilfering two Delacruz passes for 35 yards.

The Bulldogs are currently tied with Meeker atop the 1A WSL football standings with identical records of 2-0 and 5-1. The two teams are scheduled to meet on Nov. 1 in Meeker to decide a league champion should that situation arise. Before that game is played, Hotchkiss must get past Olathe’s Pirates Friday, Oct. 18, in another important league game. The Pirates upended Paonia a week ago (31-27) and are sitting in third place with a 2-0 league record and 3-3 overall. Friday’s game is Senior Night and is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

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