Photo by Tamie Meck Cedaredge fullback Carter Wasser is just out of reach of Paonia’s Gunnar Chesnik in the Bruins 46-6 conference win over the Eagles. The loss ended the season for the Eagles while the Bruins (third seed) advance to first-round playoff action against 14-seed Centauri. The game is set for Nov. 3 in Cedaredge beginning at 1 p.m.The Cedaredge Bruins wrapped up a stellar football season with an 8-1 overall and 5-0 league record after a crushing 46-6 win Friday over Paonia.
The Bruins were also celebrating senior night, and their seniors didn't let the crowd down.
Senior fullback Carter Wasser scored two first-quarter touchdowns and had a game-high 18 carries for 140 yards. The Bruins made a 99-yard drive and a 94-yard drive and ran for touchdowns on their first four possessions, and led 20-0 at the end of the first quarter. Paonia never recovered.
Cedaredge played its starters throughout the game, and scored its final touchdown and PAT of the night to set the continuous clock in motion with 5:28 remaining in the game.
"Our kids were wanting to make a statement that they are No. 1 in our league," said head coach Brandon Milholland.
With the exception of their season-opening loss to Eagle Valley and a 21-20 win over Hotchkiss, the Bruins scored no fewer than 38 points against their opponents. They have averaged 120 yards passing and 245 yards rushing per game. Cedaredge enters first-round state playoffs as the No. 3 seed and will host No. 13 Centauri (7-2 overall, 4-1 Southern Peaks Conference) starting at 1 p.m. Saturday.
This is the first time in 10 years the Bruins have made the playoffs, said Milholland, who took over as head coach in 2010. "The whole town's excited."
Milholland credited player dedication, natural talent and hard work during the off season for the winning record. "They decided to do it," he said. Despite posting losing records the last two seasons, "They continued to believe in themselves, and in the coaches."
"They've got speed," said Paonia head coach Scott Rienks, who praised Milholland for bringing the Bruins up to their potential.
The Eagles failed to capitalize on two first-half opportunities to score from inside the five, and were forced to make adjustments at halftime when starters Jesse Reed and Will Austin were sidelined with injuries. Paonia's only score came late in the first half after Keaton Kropp returned a kickoff to the Bruins' 45. Austin caught two Coats passes to get Paonia inside the 10, and Coats connected on an eight-yard pass to Taylor Katzer for the score. The PAT attempt by Jorge Quinonez was deflected, leaving Paonia trailing 32-6 going into the half.
Bruins quarterback Dante Markley had four carries for 17 yards. His longest carry of seven yards was one of two second-quarter touchdowns.
Reid Gates had 11 carries for 134 yards, and senior Carter Wasser ended his final conference game with 140 yards in 18 carries and two TDs. Gates added two touchdowns to his 134 rushing yards. Before it was all over, the Bruins had rushed for six of their seven touchdowns and 339 yards.
Carter Wasser and Dustin Stracener each had six unassisted tackles, and Stracener scored the only defensive touchdown for the Bruins on an interception. Alejendro Alejandre was 4 of 7 in PATs after missing two kicks and having one blocked by Taylor Katzer.
Paonia ended the season at 4-5, 3-2 and in third place in the Western Slope conference. Katzer had 14 receptions for 257 yards and had six interceptions. Austin led the Eagles in rushing and finished the season with more than 775 yards and 13 touchdowns. Paonia averaged 225 yards rushing per game.