Bagdad blasts Ray in 1st round of 1A state playoffs
Rematch with defending state runner-up Superior looms
BAGDAD — When compared with the past five years under revered coach Dalton Mills, it’s been a challenging 2018 season for the Bagdad football team, which is only one year removed from a 1A state tournament semifinals appearance.
However, the Sultans have played arguably one of the toughest schedules in 1A, and the growing pains that they’ve endured over the past few months sure seem worth it at this point.
On Friday, Oct. 19, seventh-seeded Bagdad crushed No. 10 Ray, 58-0, in the first round of the playoffs to advance to the quarterfinal round at defending 1A state runner-up Superior. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 26. On Nov. 4, 2017, Superior beat Bagdad, 44-34, in the state semis to qualify for the title game against defending state champion Williams.
With Friday’s win, the Sultans improved their record to 7-3. Ray finished the fall at 4-5. Bagdad has won two state titles under Mills, in 2013 and 2016, and the Sultans were the state runner-up in 2014. The 2018 Sultans are anxious to face Superior again, but they didn’t look ahead on Friday.
Owen Barton led Bagdad, scoring two rushing touchdowns of 3 yards and 51 yards (54 yards total on two carries), and shining defensively, recording 3-1/2 of the Sultans’ nine sacks for the contest. Brady Finnerty chimed in with 3-1/2 sacks and Drew Olbrycht tallied two.
Carson Jeans paced the ground game, racking up 111 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. He also had a 15-yard interception return for TD.
Elias Jauragui notched four carries for 100 yards, including a 55-yard run. Quarterback Rocky Sandoval threw a 5-yard TD pass to Kaylab Owings, and QB Connor Watson completed two passes for 13 yards. Riley Young added a 2-point conversion reception.
Bagdad led Ray 16-0 at the end of the first quarter and 30-0 at halftime.
“We pounded the ball, and we rushed for 105 yards in the first quarter to set the tone early,” Mills said. “We dominated on the offensive line and the d-line.”
The Sultans’ defense smothered the Bearcats in the shutout. Besides all of those sacks, the pressure D earned a safety on an intentional grounding call in the end zone.
“We dominated all three phases of the game, and we played our most complete game of the season,” Mills said.
Bagdad battles No. 2 Superior for the second time this season on the road at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, in the state quarters. The Sultans lost 24-12 to the Panthers on Aug. 31.