Coming off their first playoff appearance in 12 years, the Cimarron Bluejays had high hopes coming into the 2011 season.

Unfortunately the ball hasn't bounced their way.


Coming off their first playoff appearance in 12 years, the Cimarron Bluejays had high hopes coming into the 2011 season.
     Unfortunately the ball hasn't bounced their way.
     The 2-5 Bluejays have seen two victories slip through their fingers in the waning minutes of the game, turning what could have been a 4-3 campaign into their current record.
     Cimarron is led by fourth-year coach Doug Minneman, who said coming into this season, the team felt it was ready to grow off its success from last year.
     "We were hoping to continue that success but have struggled a little more this year than we thought we would," Minneman said. "We've had some games that we've been in that we felt we should have won, but we just weren't capable of getting the victory."
     Despite facing pressure to repeat the effort from last season and falling just short in two close contests, Minneman says his team has handled the adversity well.
     "Every day we come to practice, they are motivated," he said. "They come back eager to learn from their mistakes and try to improve."
     One standout player on Minneman's roster is Aidan Shaughnessy, who has really stepped up his play this season.
     "He's a kid that we depended upon and we knew we were going to have to count on him, but he has really played even better than we thought he would all year long," Minneman said.
     Another player who has become a factor deeper into the season is senior Eddy Corrales, who functions as a defensive back and running back. Minneman said Corrales did not play as a junior but came out as a senior to play for Cimarron.
     The Bluejays' playoff run last season, and the surrounding buzz at the school, sparked the interest of more kids to make their way into Minneman's office to try out for the squad.
     "Last year, going to playoffs, the excitement was building," Minneman said. "So we got a lot of kids to come out that had not been out before, so our roster isn't young, but it is inexperienced."
     Part of that inexperience has led to the Bluejays' struggles this season, costing the team points and, ultimately, victories. Breakdowns on special teams and an inability to consistently run the ball have been barriers for Cimarron thus far this season.
     "Early in the season we had a lot of breakdowns on special teams. That's what hurt us in the Sublette and Elkhart games: We turn it over on special teams too many times and give them extra possessions," Minneman said. "Lately we've struggled to run the ball. We're a run-first team, and those struggles have led to some losses."
     Despite having a 2-5 record, the Bluejays still maintain an outside chance of reaching the playoffs through their district record. Cimarron took on Southwestern Heights on the road Friday in a crucial district battle that will determine the postseason fate of Minneman's squad.
     Win that contest, and it comes down to the Bluejays' season finale at home against a dangerous Scott City team that is 7-0 this year.
     The Bluejays face a struggle in order to make back-to-back playoff appearances, but all it takes is hope and a little bit of magic.
     Perhaps Minneman and his squad can conjure up some Halloween voodoo in these final two weeks.