One of the premier prep football games of the week pitted number three Cedaredge against number four Hotchkiss. All the hype, extending back to last year's Cedaredge wins over Hotchkiss, had this year's showdown marked as a potential state 1A championship game.
On top of that ... it was homecoming for the Bruins. Hotchkiss spoiled the festivities with a 28-6 victory in 1A WSL play.
The 28-6 loss for Cedaredge was more difficult than the score indicates. There might be speculation on what might have been, had one of the state's best student athletes played in the game. There's no doubt Reid Gates would have given Cedaredge more than an average chance of winning.
For Cedaredge head football coach Brandon Milholland, it is a difficult time and a crossroad for his Bruins' football team. "We have two directions to go at this time. We can become individuals and lose focus making it difficult to win another game, or we can come together and fix things. Right now ... I don't know what to do, but when next week's practice begins, I'll have a plan."
Cedaredge High School principal Kevin Gardner noted a difference around the CHS campus. "The kids (collectively) are not focused ... .they don't seem to be sharp in class. There's still too much on their minds."
The start of last Friday night's 1A WSL contest had plenty of excitment at the start. The cheers and energy level for both sides were high.
A back-and-forth first quarter left the game scoreless heading into the second period.
Hotchkiss' Alex Smith broke the ice with a 19-yard run late in the second quarter to give the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead. Ryan Hafley missed the kick for the extra point, leaving Hotchkiss ahead 6-0 with 5:40 left in the first half of play. The scoring drive came on the sixth possession for the Bulldogs.
Peter Williamson helped the Bruins move deep into Hotchkiss territory at the 6. Willimson carried the ball to the 2 on the next play where a strong Hotchkiss defense kept him out of the end zone. Cedaredge had a first-and-goal at that point. The Bulldogs held on the next four running plays to take over on downs with 3.5 seconds left in the first half. A Devan Rupe kneel-down ended the first half with the Bulldogs leading 6-0.
The two teams traded possessions in the early part of the third quarter. On Hotchkiss' second possession, and aided by two big penalties, the Bulldogs scored their second touchdown on a 1-yard run by Rupe. The two-point conversion attempt was good as Smith got into the end zone on a three-yard run. Hotchkiss took a 14-0 lead.
The Bruins earned their only score of the game on a crossing pattern by Tyler Beach that covered 14 yards on a pass from Trent Walker. Bryce Klaseen's PAT kick failed, leaving Hotchkiss ahead 14-6 near the mid-point of the third quarter.
Hotchkiss had the momentum going into the fourth quarter and scored on pass plays from Rupe to Smith (6 yards) and Chris Allen (8 yards). Hafley completed the scoring on both plays with kicks to make the final score 28-6.
Cedaredge won last year's first meeting between the two teams by a score of 21-20. A second meeting between the two schools took place in state championship play where the Bruins won 16-14.
Offensively for the Bulldogs, Rupe was good on seven of 14 passes for 56 yards and two touchdowns and the running game produced 116 yards for a total of 172 yards.
Allen was Hotchkiss' leading receiver with three catches for 35 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, Smith carried the ball 11 times for 46 yards and one touchdown. Duncan Turnbull collected 33 yards on 11 carries.
Turnbull was big on defense with eight solos and three assists in the tackle department. River Panish and Caleb Schelle were next with seven tackles each.
Hotchkiss forced five turnovers in the game. Jacob Schreiner had two interceptions and Allen and Hank Edwards had one each. Jason Padilla recovered a Bruins' fumble to account for the five Cedaredge miscues.
Hotchkiss head coach Zac Lemon was all smiles after the game. When asked about his team's play, Lemon gave credit where it was due. "We came into the game expecting a tough game. We were better in the trenches. We wanted to play our game."
The Hotchkiss win has given the Bulldogs a big advantage in the competitive 1A WSL. Is there an easy road to the league title now? "Man, there's nothing for sure this year. We may be the most competitive league in the state. Cedaredge is good and Paonia is playing well and will be a tough game," noted Lemon.blog comments powered by Disqus