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Bruins earn 24-20 Homecoming victory

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Photo by Wayne Crick Senior running back Isaac Swoffer follows the blocking of Brandon O'Hern (24) as he tries to get to the outside of Gunnison's defense. The Bruins played well to win their Homecoming game against the Cowboys, 24-20.

Homecoming week was a successful event for Cedaredge sports venues. The Bruins' softball team defeated Gunnison on Tuesday and the volleyball team was a winner on Saturday.

On Friday, Cedaredge's football team played in front of a large Homecoming crowd and survived a downpour to beat a scrappy Gunnison football team 24-20 on Friday night.

Neither team mustered a scoring drive in the first 12 minutes of play. With 9:28 remaining in the second quarter, Cedaredge's Isaac Swoffer dashed into the end zone for the game's first score from eight yards out. Brendon Klaseen kicked the extra point for a 7-0 Bruins' lead.

Swoffer lugged the ball 29 yards on the first play of the scoring drive. A 10-yard run by quarterback Pedro Madaleno and Christian Reynolds' two-yard plunge set the ball up at Gunnison's eight for Swoffer's TD run.

The Bruins second score came on a five-yard Swoffer run which was set up by runs of 24 and 20 yards by the speedy senior running back. Swoffer's second score came at the 1:06 mark of the second quarter. A two-point conversion by Brandon O'Hern made it 15-0.

The Cowboys used the final 1:06 to its advantage with Luke Tovar hauling in a Josh Wallin pass for 10 yards and Lane Mangum had a 38-yard catch and run play to the Cedaredge two-yard line. Wallin finished the 53-yard drive with his two-yard scoring run. The extra point try failed leaving just 24.3 left in the first half with the Bruins leading 15-6.

Gunnison had the ball first after halftime. After two running plays the Cowboys went to the air with Tovar hauling in a Wallin pass which covered the final 76 yards for a score. Mangum got the call for a two-point conversion making the score 15-14 with 10:34 left in the third quarter.

Cedaredge's next possession failed to move the ball past the Cowboys' 39-yard line forcing a Swoffer punt. Swoffer's kick hit a receiver's team player and was recovered by the Bruins at Gunnison's 45.

The Bruins' possession fizzled once again and Swoffer kicked the ball away to the Cowboys, where they put the ball in play at their own five-yard line. Two plays later, from the three-yard line, Wallin was flagged for intentional grounding while in the end zone resulting in a safety and two points for the Bruins with 4:54 left in the third frame.

Leading 17-14, the Bruins got the ball right back following the safety kick. Cedaredge began its drive with a little over 4:00 left in the third (using seven plays) and used four more plays in the fourth quarter to finish the 76-yard drive on a Madaleno one-yard plunge. Klaseen's kick was good and Cedaredge owned a 24-20 lead with 10:28 left in the game.

Gunnison's final drive of the game started on its own 47 and culminated nine plays later on a pass from Wallin to Mangum covering the last 10 yards. The extra point try failed making the final score 24-20.

Cedaredge head coach Brandon Milholland was excited about the win. In the team huddle following the game, Milholland told his team, "I am very happy with your play."

Milholland acknowledged the importance of the win over Gunnison. "It was a big win for us. It was a tough week and we grew mentally tougher with the added pressure. The win keeps us in the running. We knew it would be a physical game and our kids took steps toward becoming young men in preparing for this game."

Gunnison's coaching staff received accolades from Milholland after the game. "Hats off to the Gunnison staff. This was not an easy victory ... Gunnison is tough."

The Bruins' schedule didn't get any easier with this week's opponent coming in as the state's number one team in Class 1A. The Paonia Eagles will be looking to keep their unbeaten streak alive with the Bruins working toward a similar goal to stay in the race for a league and state title. The two teams are scheduled for a 7 p.m. start in Cedaredge this Friday.

Paonia, Cedaredge and Meeker are all sitting atop the 1A WSL standings with 4-0 records.

A mistake by any of the top teams could result in lost ground and some standings shuffling. Olathe, Hotchkiss and Grand Valley are a game behind with identical 3-1 records.

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