Dolores football team fights hard in homecoming loss

Injury-plagued Bears fall apart in second half of 35-14 loss to Ignacio

The Dolores Bears’ Talon Zwicker holds onto the ball as he is tackled by multiple Ignacio players. Enlargephoto

Emily Rice/The Journal

The Dolores Bears’ Talon Zwicker holds onto the ball as he is tackled by multiple Ignacio players.

Less than 12 hours before kicking off its homecoming game against Ignacio on Oct. 6, the Dolores High School football team received news that senior quarterback Justin Purkat had rolled his ankle during an early morning volleyball game and would not be available to play.

Clearly disappointed by the news, but by no means defeated, the Bears turned to freshman quarterback Jayden Karo, who, along with several teammates, took the field with a no-lose attitude and fire in his eyes.

Thanks to stellar defense from senior Talon Zwicker, two first-half sacks by quarterback Beck Anderson and inspiring words from team-captain Logan Fuller, the Bears hung tough throughout the first half despite turning the ball over three times.

After pulling ahead 7-0 on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Isaiah Jackett to Lawrence Valdez midway through the first quarter, Dolores responded with a touchdown of its own when Zwicker swept around the left side of the line and raced into the end zone from 29 yards out with 7:55 left in the second quarter.

Zwicker’s long run was made possible from a huge block from teammate Forest Pejsa, who decimated a pursuing linebacker with a huge block that drew gasps from the crowd and cheers from teammates, including Purkat, who pumped his fist in appreciation.

After Austin Hackney converted the ensuing two-point conversion to put Dolores ahead 8-7, Ignacio scored its second touchdown of the game when Jackett tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Colton Jackson, who beat Dolores defensive back Bryce Baumgarten down the left sideline.

With the Bears trailing 14-8 midway through the third quarter, Karo produced one of the Bears’ most impressive plays of the season when he rolled to his right and delivered a 37-yard touchdown strike to Josh Corbitt down the sideline.

As the Dolores senior receiver celebrated in the end zone, Karo raced down the field with teammates in tow as the crowd cheered one of its team’s youngest players.

Although the freshman quarterback was unable to run the ball into the end zone on the Bears’ ensuing two-point conversion attempt, the game was tied, 14-14, with 7:40 to go in the third quarter.

The Bears appeared to have the momentum.

A successful onside kick by Dolores further invigorated the crowd, but over the game’s final 19 minutes, the Bears offense stalled.

Ignacio pulled ahead 20-14 after an ill-advised throw by Karo was intercepted by Jackson and returned for a touchdown, and Ignacio’s lead grew to 27-14 when a Karo fumble was again taken back for a score.

Seemingly rattled as the game’s final minutes ticked away, Dolores yielded a safety and a final touchdown in the last half of the fourth quarter, which allowed Ignacio to walk away with a comfortable victory.

Clearly disappointed after the loss, Dolores head coach Chris Trusler rushed his team toward the locker room while expressing appreciation of his team’s effort and emphasizing that players and coaches “had a lot to talk about.”

Now 3-3 overall on the season and 1-1 in the Southern Peaks League, Dolores will look to get back to its winning ways this week with a home game against Monument Valley, Utah, which will take place on Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.

Bears senior Austin Hackney avoids Ignacio players for a substantial yard gain. Enlargephoto

Emily Rice/The Journal

Bears senior Austin Hackney avoids Ignacio players for a substantial yard gain.

Head coach Chris Trusler talks to the team during a timeout. Enlargephoto

Emily Rice/The Journal

Head coach Chris Trusler talks to the team during a timeout.

Bryan Escarcega watches before the Dolores Bears’ snap the ball. Enlargephoto

Emily Rice/The Journal

Bryan Escarcega watches before the Dolores Bears’ snap the ball.

Beck Anderson tackles Ignacio’s Isaiah Jackett at the 10-yard line. Enlargephoto

Emily Rice/The Journal

Beck Anderson tackles Ignacio’s Isaiah Jackett at the 10-yard line.

The Dolores Bears prepare to play defense at their homecoming game on Friday night. Enlargephoto

Emily Rice/The Journal

The Dolores Bears prepare to play defense at their homecoming game on Friday night.

Austin Hackney and Beck Anderson take down Ignacio’s Lawrence Valdez. Enlargephoto

Emily Rice/The Journal

Austin Hackney and Beck Anderson take down Ignacio’s Lawrence Valdez.

Freshman Julieanna Goad plays in the Dolores High School Marching Band at the Homecoming Game Friday night. Enlargephoto

Emily Rice/The Journal

Freshman Julieanna Goad plays in the Dolores High School Marching Band at the Homecoming Game Friday night.

Freshmen cheerleaders Danielle Tulio (right) and Bella Sloan cheer the Bears on in their homecoming game Friday night. Enlargephoto

Emily Rice/The Journal

Freshmen cheerleaders Danielle Tulio (right) and Bella Sloan cheer the Bears on in their homecoming game Friday night.

The Dolores High School Marching Band takes the field at halftime. Enlargephoto

Emily Rice/The Journal

The Dolores High School Marching Band takes the field at halftime.

The Dolores Bears crowd cheers on their team at the Homecoming game Friday night. Enlargephoto

Emily Rice/The Journal

The Dolores Bears crowd cheers on their team at the Homecoming game Friday night.