The Paonia Eagles barely broke a sweat Friday night in their 55-0 homecoming win over Roaring Fork.
It was a much different game from the week before when the Eagles fumbled the ball away on their first two possessions. Paonia recovered three Rams fumbles and had three interceptions for the game. Sophomore Grey Neal set the tone, running the opening kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown, with Caden Meilner making good on the PAT.
On Roaring Fork's opening position, Paonia senior Kaden Heiniger recovered a fumble on the Rams 11-yard line. On first down, Jaden Miller ran for a TD and Meilner's PAT put the Eagles up, 14-0.
Late in the first quarter Meilner connected with Anthony Felice on a 55-yard touchdown pass. Clay Campbell recovered a Rams fumble and ran 32 yards and Meilner's kick gave Paonia a 28-0 with just under two minutes remaining in the first quarter. By the end of the first quarter, Paonia had a commanding 42-0 lead, and the running clock was set in motion to start the second quarter.
Miller, who is averaging almost 10 yards per carry, rushed for four touchdowns and 140 yards, including a 75 yard first-half TD. Samuel Erickson also rushed for a 14-yard touchdown. Meilner made good on seven of eight PAT attempts.
The win puts Paonia at 3-1 for the season. The Eagles are ranked fifth in the state by Colorado Preps. They haven't had a hard-fought win since their season-opening 20-13 loss against Centauri (5-0, 1A Southern Peaks league).
The Eagles host Cedaredge this Friday night at 7. The Bruins are now 2-2 and coming off of a 41-16 win over Gunnison. The Bruins roster includes eight juniors, among them quarterback Jared Reynolds, who has completed 20 passes for 239 yards; and 13 seniors, including 6-4 receiver Drew Markley and running back Ty Grant with 657 yards and six TDs in 133 carries. On defense, Baylee Piper and Joshua Jenkins have averaged more than five solo tackles per game.