By Danny Hubley
Chaparral finds itself at 2-0, heading into its rivalry game against Eldorado for the annual “Cleat Game.” The two schools met for Merlin Olsen’s bronzed cleat every season since 1973 – the year the schools opened.
Chaparral holds a slight advantage, winning 27 of the rivalry’s 44 matchups. The Cowboys have won the last two outings, and senior Tyray Collins isn’t ready to give the cleat up.
“I wasn’t here my freshman year and we lost [the Cleat],” he said. “Then in my sophomore year we got the cleat back I was astounded.”
Collins is one of the major reasons for the Cowboys first 2-0 start in more than 10 years. He amassed 271 yards from scrimmage (178 rushing and 93 passing) and four touchdowns to go with three interceptions in the Cowboys two victories.
More importantly, though, the team seems to be finding a groove offensively after racking up 300 yards of offense against Pahrump Valley last Friday in the 34-6 victory.
Sophomore quarterback Joe Tauili’ili is a dual threat with his legs and his arm going 6-for-6 for 175 yards passing with 81 yards rushing and three touchdowns (two throwing and one rushing).
Chaparral also limited penalties and mistakes and established a running game early on, which is a positive sign as the team continues shaping its identity.
The emphasis, however, doesn’t change. It’s all about improving in all areas, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
“We are really focusing on our defense the week because our offense did really good last week,” Collins said. “Our running game was good as well, but we are also focusing on stopping the passing game.”