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Kirtland Central earns first win of football season, Eagles fall to Escalante


FARMINGTON − The Kirtland Central High School football team got their first win of the season on Thursday night, and earned the first win for new head coach Travis Clary by going on the road and beating Thoreau by a final of 36-6.

Meantime, the struggles continued for Navajo Prep as they lost their second straight game to open the season, getting blown out at home by Escalante by a final score of 58-6.

Here's a look back at some of the prep sports action from Thursday across San Juan County.

Football

KIRTLAND CENTRAL 36, Thoreau 6

The Kirtland Central Broncos evened their season record to 1-1 with a convincing 36-6 Thursday night on the road over Thoreau.

Big nights on the playing field by sophomore running back Bryle Matthews and Demusico Edsitty led the offensive charge for Kirtland Central, who not only got their first win this season on the field but also earned the first head coaching win for Travis Clary.

"Getting that first win means a lot for the staff, the team and for everyone involved," Clary said. "It means we can keep that momentum going forward, and we can learn from what it feels like to come out on top."

Clary took over the head coaching job following the resignation of Jeff Schaum after the conclusion of last season.

Kirtland Central controlled the pace of the game throughout, led by strong outings on both sides of the ball, particularly from defensive stars Chase Gibbs and Elijah Grey, who dominated play from the line.

"Our defensive tackles really stepped up for us," Clary said. "We put a lot of pressure on the shoulders of our defensive line, and stopping the opponents running attack. They stepped up and made a lot of plays in the backfield when we needed them."

The Broncos led the game 13-6 at the half, then drew clear of the Hawks with 23 unanswered points.

Thoreau, after winning their first two games by a combined margin of 90-0, fall to 2-1 on the season and will be home on Friday night to face McCurdy.

The Broncos (1-1) will have their first home game of the season on Friday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. when they host Montezuma-Cortez. The Panthers opened their season last week with a win at home over Aztec, and were scheduled to play at Rifle (Colo.) this weekend.

Escalante 58, Navajo Prep 6

Taking advantage of a Navajo Prep offense that stalled out frequently in the first half, the Escalante High School football team quickly drew clear of the Eagles Thursday night on their way to a 56-6 mercy rule win at Navajo Prep.

Led by offensive stars like juniors Luca Torres and Trey Archuleta, the Lobos pounced on Navajo Prep and led 20-0 at the end of the first quarter. Torres had a pair of big runs including a 40-yard touchdown to open the scoring early in the quarter, reversing his field after nearly being taken down for a short gain, instead outrunning his pursuers and scoring in the far corner of the end zone.

"That kid (Torres) has his own personal highlight reel just from this game," said Navajo Prep head coach Matt Melvin. "As much as we cleaned up a few things from last week, there's still a lot of things we need to work on."

Torres ran for a score and threw for a touchdown to Dominic Arellano to continue the scoring spree, which found the Lobos leading 44-6 at the end of the first half.

Meantime, Navajo Prep struggled to move the ball, surrendering four consecutive possessions with turnovers on downs, failing to get a first down until midway through the second quarter.

"There's a few things we're really doing well on, but then you get behind like we did, and a lot of those things just don't show up," Melvin said. "But that's a credit to Escalante, they're a really well-coached team."

Escalante improved to 2-1 on the season with the win. They opened the season with a loss at home to West Las Vegas, but have now won two straight ahead of a Friday night game against Estancia.

The Eagles (0-2) will hope to end their losing streak on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 11 a.m. when they play their first road game of the season at Crownpoint.

Girls Soccer

Piedra Vista 5, Bloomfield 0

Freshman Analyse Healy had a big game for the second time this week, scoring four goals as Piedra Vista's girls soccer team rolled to a 5-0 win at home Thursday afternoon over Bloomfield.

The Lady Panthers scored twice in the first half, then added to their lead in the second half, earning their second straight win and improving their record on the season to 3-1.

The Lady Panthers will be home on Saturday at 1 p.m. to face Santa Fe, a team that opened this season with a record of 4-1. The Demons went 19-2 last season before being eliminated in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament.

"The task gets tougher for us now," said head coach Shaun Taylor. "We've got a very tough matchup and we're excited to see how we stack up."

Healy, who has seven goals in the last two games for the Lady Panthers, was joined in the scoring against Bloomfield by freshman Grayson Schnell. Goaltender Hailey Drake picked up her second straight shutout, having helped Piedra Vista to a 4-0 earlier in the week over Kirtland Central.

Bloomfield (2-4) has lost two in a row and will look to bounce back when they visit Valencia on Friday.

Kirtland Central 9, Navajo Prep 1

Senior Jesse Garcia scored four times as the Kirtland Central girls soccer team snapped a two-game losing streak Thursday night with an impressive 9-1 win at home over Navajo Prep.

The Lady Broncos got four goals in the first half, followed by five more in the second half. Garcia's big night was aided by goals from seniors Madison Manuelito and Sydney Smith, as well as sophomore Whitney Haws, junior Hope Chapman and freshman Shilynn Morgan.

Goaltender Paisley McGilbert recorded a pair of saves, giving her 18 on the season.

The Lady Broncos (3-3) will be home on Thursday at 3 p.m. to face Grants.

Navajo Prep falls to 0-2 on the season and will look to bounce back when they face the junior varsity squad from Aztec on Friday in tournament competition.