Gallup football looking to have a winning season

Navajo Times | Adron Gardner Gallup Bengal varsity football coach Joshua Olsen walks through a throng of players during football practice at Gallup High School.

Navajo Times | Adron Gardner
Gallup Bengal varsity football coach Joshua Olsen walks through a throng of players during football practice at Gallup High School.

WINDOW ROCK

The hype surrounding the Gallup football team hasn’t provided many great experiences in recent years.

Not since the 2006 season has the Bengals had close to a winning record when they finished the season at 5-6.

In the years that followed that playoff season the Bengals endured a much drier spell which includes four seasons where the finished with only two wins each.

Despite its history, second-year coach Joshua Olsen is anticipating a much rosier picture this season.

“We’re actually a pretty young team,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of returning players but not to take anything away from our lighter schedule we have an easy shot at a winning season. We have somewhat a competitive shot at making the playoffs this year.”

Olsen said the goal is to finish the regular season at 6-4 this season.

Gallup returns two on offense and one on defense.

Offensive lineman Dade Lincoln and wide receiver Kevin Stewart are the two returning players while on defense they have linebacker Isaiah Mike-Dubois back.

Last season, Mike-Dubois led the district with 127 tackles.

“We expect to him to hold the defense down and he’s the returning team captain,” Olsen said of Mike-Dubois.

Based on their summer performance, Olsen said they are on pace to rebuild what they lost which includes flashy quarterback Colten Lowley.

“I wish we had Colton another year but we’re looking forward to the season with the summer we had,” he said. “We were in six different 7-on-7 tournaments and in one of the tournaments we went 10-1 at St. Michaels.”

In another tournament, Gallup took home the Shiprock championship where the Bengals beat a few rivals they lost to last season. In addition Olsen took our lineman to the Highlands competition where they fared well.

With Lowley behind center, Olsen said they were just comprised to passing the ball last season but this year they are looking to run the ball with senior running back Jason Alatorre as their top option.

“(Jason) did not play last year but he is going to be a key in controlling the game this year,” Olsen said. “He’s the fastest kid on the team. He’s quick and he has breakaway speed so we’re looking forward to running and passing him the ball this year.”

With the work they put in during the summer, Olsen is hoping to change the way the state perceives the Gallup football program.

“Maxpreps have us last in the district but we’re pretty positive. We beat Miyamura last year and we lost to Aztec by one point in a district game,” he said. “To us, even though, we are underrated right now we are looking at Farmington as the threat. “We might let a some games slip but we expect all of our district games to be competitive.”

In addition to Aztec, Farmington, Gallup and Miyamura the 5A District 1 has added Bloomfield and Kirtland Central to the mix. The two latter schools were bumped up from Class 4A in this new reclassification year.

Gallup opens the season on Sept. 2 at Bernalillo.


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Categories: Football

About Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at qjodie@navajotimes.com