It was a busy past seven days across the San Luis Valley concerning high school sports as Centauri landed a football championship and all state honors were handed out in volleyball. Plus our weekly report looks at the week ahead in basketball.
In what may be the best championship football game in Colorado this year, and definitely the best one so far, the Centauri Falcons brought home the first state title for La Jara since they won a 6-man football title in 1950. The Falcons also ended a streak of four straight trips to the semi-finals or deeper without a title by taking down the Limon Badgers 24-21 on Saturday afternoon in the 1A State Football Championship.
The Falcons cap off an undefeated season, and saw quarterback Byron Shawcroft take home player of the game honors for his work on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. It was a team effort though, with Mason Claunch starting the scoring with an 85 yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and the Falcons wouldn’t trail again, eventually capping the game off with a game-winning field goal with one minute remaining from sophomore kicker Kaleb Anderson.
The Falcons go 12-0 on the season and will be losing some big pieces, but sophomore Devin Brady was second on the team in rushing and receiving, and along with Blade Absmeier will be looking to make another deep run in the postseason in 2022.
Volleyball All-State teams were announced this weekend, and the Alamosa Mean Moose saw senior Malia Tuioti-Mariner make Second Team All-State at the 3A level after helping lead the Mean Moose to the state championships. Malia led the team in kills with 218 and was second on the team in digs, with her defense and offense showing off through the season. She was joined by junior Charley Higham who was named an Honorable Mention.
Sargent senior Gabby Jones led the way for 2A representatives from the San Luis Valley, grabbing and Honorable Mention along with sophomore teammate Saige Hostetter who was in charge of setting for the Farmers this season.
Del Norte libero Kelci Madrid was also named to the Honorable Mention list as a junior.
The 1A ranks saw quite a few names listed to the Honorable Mention list after just missing on a few teams making the final 12 at state. Sangre de Cristo led the way in terms of volume, as sophomore Palma Enriquez started off for the Thunderbirds along with seniors Ashley Mortensen, Emma Wolfe, and Tymberlynn Rogers. Sierra Grande junior Mariana Loya earned a spot as did La Veta junior Kendyl Eddleman.
The Centauri Falcons are hosting their opening games in the form of their home tournament on Thursday through Saturday. Things kick off for the Falcons when they take on the Rocky Ford Meloneers on Thursday night, with the boys scheduled for 8:30 pm. The Sargent Farmers are also scheduled to be at the Centauri Falcons opening tournament, and will take on Ignacio in their opening game on Thursday.
Alamosa will also be opening their season at home this weekend, with a pair of front range teams making the trip over. The Ellicott Thunderhawks make the trip on Friday night for the first game of the year. Then, on Saturday, Alamosa will tangle with the Northfield Nighthawks in a late afternoon game scheduled for 2:30.
Opposite of Alamosa at their invitational quad, the Del Norte Tigers will be trading games with the Mean Moose, playing Northfield on Friday before swapping to take on Ellicott on Saturday.
The Monte Vista Pirates are going to be a little slower than others out of the gate in terms of scheduling. They won’t play their first games of 2021-22 until next week when they head to La Junta for the Holiday Shootout. This follows the same trend as Sanford, who will also not be getting going until heading to La Junta for the Holiday Shootout.
The Center Vikings are staying in the SLV, but are heading to the East side to take part in the Thunderbird Shootout. They will open play on Thursday when they take on the Centennial Rams Thursday, with games to follow on Friday and Saturday. Of course, the Sangre de Cristo Thunderbirds are also going to be at their own tournament, and they will challenge the Dolores Bears from the San Juan League in the opening game on Thursday evening. Also taking part in the Thunderbird Shootout will be the Antonito Trojans, who come into the game looking forward to taking on Dove Creek in the opening round. Rounding out the field of local team at the Sangre de Cristo tournament, the Creede Miners will be challenging the Cheraw Wolverines with a mid-afternoon tipoff on Thursday.
Sierra Grande is heading out of the valley to get their season underway. They are going to be in Springfield for the Holiday Tournament, with opponents still not listed for the Panther boys for Friday, and a game expected on Saturday as well.
Just like the Centauri boys, the girls will be tipping things off this season at home against the Rocky Ford Meloneers on Thursday night at 7:00 pm. They will also have games coming up on Friday and Saturday to wrap up their home tournament. The Sargent girls basketball team will also be in Centauri for the Falcons home tournament. They open the three day action with a game against Ignacio before awaiting their opponents on Friday and Saturday.
The Alamosa girls are also getting set to tangle with Ellicott and Northfield much like their boys. Friday night against Ellicott will be tipped off at 6:00 while the game against Northfield is scheduled for 1:00 pm. Del Norte will be trading opponents with the Mean Moose at the Invitational, taking on Northfield on Friday before challenging Ellicott on Saturday.
While the Monte Vista boys are waiting for their opening action, the Pirate ladies are getting things going this weekend. The Pirates are getting set to host Pueblo Central on Thursday, with varsity action expected to begin at around 6:30 pm. They will be in La Junta next week along with the boys.
The Center girls are heading to Sangre de Cristo along with the boys, where they will also challenge the Centennial Rams to open their schedule, with more action on Friday and Saturday to follow. Sangre de Cristo will be opening their home tournament with a familiar opponent, as they also will tangle with the Dolores Bears to open the season on Thursday night. The Antonito Trojans will be looking to cross their swords with the Dove Creek Bulldogs who make the trip over from the San Juan League along with Dolores. The Lake City girls also be getting their first taste of seasonal action when they take on the Cheraw Wolverines ahead of their boys with tip off on Thursday scheduled for just before 3:00 pm.
The Sierra Grande girls are also heading to Springfield with their boys, and know the opponents already, with the host Longhorns taking on the Panthers on Friday night before taking on state tournament regulars South Baca on Saturday in the early afternoon.
The Sanford girls are out of action until they head to La Junta next week, as they will also have to wait to get their season going.