The fourth-ranked La Junta High School football team was looking to become a back-to-back Class 2A state champion when it took on third-ranked Bayfield Saturday at Wolverine Country Stadium.

BAYFIELD — The fourth-ranked La Junta High School football team was looking to become a back-to-back Class 2A state champion when it took on third-ranked Bayfield Saturday at Wolverine Country Stadium.

However, the Wolverines had their own plans to win their second title in three years and they did just that as the Bayfield defense recorded seven quarterback sacks en route to a 34-7 win over La Junta.

"They're just really good on D," said LJ coach Clint Buderus. "We couldn't block them inside and that gives you a lot of problems. I'm not taking anything away from them. They're a damn good football team. We knew that coming in and we thought we could do some things to hurt them a little bit. We got behind and we had to start throwing it and that's not really what we do. They're really good and they gave us a lot of problems. We didn't protect very well when we had to throw it and it is what it is."

Both teams went three and out on their first possessions, but Bayfield scored the next time it had the ball. Hayden Farmer tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Carl Heide and Chris Mooney converted the extra point to give the Wolverines a 7-0 lead.

La Junta punted again on its next possession and Bayfield again took advantage. Farmer threw a 15-yard scoring strike to Dax Snooks and Mooney made another point after to give the Wolverines a 14-0 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Bayfield then got the first takeaway of the game as Keyon Prior intercepted Jon Nuschy on the La Junta sideline. The Wolverines scored 10 plays later with Carl Heide going into the end zone on a 2-yard run. Mooney missed the point-after attempt, but Bayfield led 20-0 with 5:48 left in the first half.

La Junta finally go on the scoreboard late in the second quarter. Nuschy threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kain DiRezza and Zach Archuleta made the extra point to help the Tigers pull within 20-7 at halftime.

Neither team was able to get much offense going in the third quarter as both teams were scoreless in the period. Riley Remick's interception of Farmer was the highlight of the quarter, but again the Tigers were unable to score.

The Wolverines scored the first time they had the ball in the fourth quarter as Farmer threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Carl Heide. Mooney made the point-after for a 27-7 lead.

The Tigers turned the ball over again on their next possession as Mike Kirk intercepted Nuschy deep in La Junta territory. Hunter Killough put the ball into the end zone four plays later on an 11-yard run and Mooney's point-after was good and the score stood at 34-7.

La Junta turned the ball over on downs on its next possession and Bayfield then ran out the clock.

The Tigers managed only 41 yards of total offense. Nuschy did complete six of 14 passes for 58 yards, but he was held to his lowest rushing performance of the season as he had minus-38 yards on 18 carries.

Wyatt Buhr led the Tigers in rushing with 20 yards on eight carries and Archuleta had one yard on one carry.

Kain DiRezza was the top receiver with three catches for 27 yards. Buhr had one reception for 12 yards, Archuleta had one for 10 yards and Matthew Espinoza had one for nine yards.

Bayfield had 213 yards on total offense. It was a balanced offensive attack as the Wolverines had 107 passing yards and 106 on the ground.

La Junta finished the seaon with 11 wins and two losses. It loses 12 seniors to graduation, but several players who made significant contributions to the team this season will return for next year.

"I think this hurts them and they'll want to work hard and go again next year and see what happens," Buderus said. "Our seniors are a great group of kids who won a lot of games and I'm proud of the way they played."

Championship game record

La Junta is now 6-3 in state championship game appearances. The Tigers won state championships in 1925, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1958 and 2016. They were state runners-up in 1924, 1962 and 2017.

Eleven wins this season

This marks only the fourth year in school history in which La Junta had won at least 11 games in a season. The Tigers won 12 games in 1951, 11 in 2015, 13 in 2016 and 11 this year. La Junta advanced at least as far as the semifinals all four years and it won state championships in 1951 and 2016.

La Junta rarely trailed over the past three seasons

Over the past three seasons, La Junta has rarely been behind on the scoreboard. In the 1,824 minutes played in that time (30:24.00), the Tigers have only trailed in 145:48 (2:25:48) of them. That means that La Junta was either ahead or tied approximately 92 percent of the time.

During that time, the Tigers won 35 games and lost only three. They trailed in only six of those games.

Active streaks

Two streaks involving the La Junta football team are still active following the conclusion of the season. The Tigers have now scored in 53 consecutive games dating back to 2013. That is the third-longest such streak following a 103-game streak fron 1945-55 and a 73-game streak from 1984-91.

La Junta has now also won 21 consecutive home games dating back to 2014. That is the second longest home streak following one that spanned 40 games from 1945-52.

Seniors' record

Of this year's senior class that played in all four of their years at La Junta, they won 40 and lost eight. The Tigers made the playoff all four years.

Buderus at 69 wins

La Junta head coach Clint Buderus finishes the season with 69 wins and 38 losses. He holds the record for most wins and most games coached (107) as the Tigers' coach.

Bayfield 34, La Junta 7

La Junta    0     7     0     0 — 7

Bayfield   14     6     0   14 — 34

First quarter

B — C. Heide 13 pass from Farmer (Mooney kick), 3:29

B — Snooks 15 pass from Farmer (Mooney kick), 0:00

Second quarter

B — C. Heide 2 run (kick failed), 5:48

LJ — Ka. DiRezza 10 pass from Nuschy (Archuleta kick), 0:22

Fourth quarter

B — C. Heide 60 pass from Farmer (Mooney kick), 8:25

B — Killough 11 run (Mooney kick), 5:43