PUEBLO – If revenge is a dish best served cold, Mancos offered it up in an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Kail Wayman rushed for four touchdowns in the first half and the Bluejays never looked back as they rolled to a 40-0 win over Haxtun in the 8-man football state championship game.

The win comes two years after the Fightin Bulldogs dealt Mancos a blowout win in the title showdown. It was the first championship game for both programs and the first title win for Haxtun. The win for Mancos at the CSU-Pueblo ThunderBowl is the first state title for the Bluejays.

“It feels amazing,” Wayman said. “Two years ago we were here and we were over there, having that bad feeling. We came back with the mentality that it was never going to happen again.”

The fireworks started early as Wayman broke for a 51-yard touchdown run to get the Bluejays (12-1) on the board. Haxtun tried to match with its up-tempo offense, but Mancos established a defensive trend early. Mancos stopped the Bulldogs on 4th down and it became a regular occurrence.

Haxtun went 0-for-3 on 4th down tries in the first half and couldn’t convert on their first attempt of the third quarter. In the midst of those tries, the Bluejays forced and recovered a fumble. Overall, the Bulldogs were 0-for-5 on 4th down tries.

“We teach discipline and we teach everyone doing their job,” defensive coordinator Jared Watt said. “Our guys went out and executed. We had a good game plan and we got after them. We felt if we won the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, we would win and that’s what happened.”

Wayman found Brandon Vannest on the first play to setup 1st and goal from inside the 5-yard line. That led to Wayman’s third rushing score of the game and all but locked him up as the National Football Foundation’s Most Outstanding Player of the game.

He broke for a 22-yard run in the third quarter to score his fourth touchdown of the game. It was at that point that the prospect of winning a state title became a reality. Wayman finished his night rushing for all six touchdowns for Mancos.

“I just had the mindset that I’m the best,”” Wayman said. “I have that mindset every time I step on the field. I told the coaches if you want to score, put the ball in my hands and that’s what they did.”

Wayman only rushed for scores in the regular season meeting between the two teams, a game that Haxtun won 28-22. But the senior figured something out about a stingy Bulldogs defense that had allowed 22 or more points in a game just three times all year.

Payback for the regular season loss was something the Bluejays had been thinking about but it was the loss to Haxtun in the title game two years ago that they truly feel got them to this moment.

“When we found out we were playing Haxtun, we were so excited and so happy,” coach Josh Gardner said. “They’re such a good team, we played them earlier and had unfinished business and of course two years ago, they whooped us. They had some horses back then and we just felt like we had unfinished business.”

The 40-0 score was the same score as two years ago when Haxtun won the title. For at least a year, the two programs will be tied together through that bit of symmetry. And odds are they’ll have future battles that will once again have major implications.

(Dan Mohrmann/ColoradoPreps.com)