For Paonia fans, Friday night's conference-opening win was another victory under a new coaching staff and in a season dubbed "New Year, New Team, One Dream."
For Cedaredge fans, it was a long night that ended in a 49-8 loss. The Bruins were held to 48 total yards rushing and one touchdown reception. They couldn't find a first down until late in the first half, and allowed Paonia to capitalize on short field advantages throughout the night.
Eagle Caden Meilner threw for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Early in the first quarter a long pass play from Meilner to Anthony Felice set up a one-yard touchdown run by Jesse Burns to put Paonia on the board. Meilner kicked his first of seven PATs for the night with six minutes remaining on the clock.
Cedaredge went three-and-out on its first two possessions. On a second-and-19 Meilner connected on a 25-yard TD pass to Grey Neal for a 14-0 lead.
After holding the Bruins inside their own 20-yard line, Felice returned a short punt to the Bruins 16-yard line. Sackett Chesnik carried the ball to inside the five-yard line, setting up the first of three touchdown runs by Jaden Miller to give Paonia a 21-0 lead in the opening seconds of the second quarter.
On the ensuing kick-off, David Lozano intercepted the ball and ran it deep into Bruins territory, setting up an 11-yard touchdown run by Burns. With 9:53 left in the half, Paonia led, 28-0.
On Paonia's next possession, Felice rushed for a 40-yard TD.
Cedaredge took possession on its own 23 and on its first drive of the second quarter, quarterback Pedro Madaleno rushed for three first downs, setting up a six-yard touchdown pass to Drew Markley. The Bruins made good on the two-point conversion, and with 34 seconds on the clock, trailed 35-8.
On the opening kickoff of the second half, the Bruins attempted an on-side kick and recovered the ball at mid-field, but couldn't capitalize on the possession. Paonia took over on downs, and Bruin Taj Vanderlinde recovered a fumble by Meilner at midfield with 9:50 left in the period. The Bruins turned the ball over on downs, giving Paonia possession at its own 38. Paonia gave the ball right back to Cedaredge on downs, and Madaleno connected with Markley on a 45-yard pass play, getting the ball to the Paonia 21. A pass to Markley in the end zone was deflected by Eagle Grey Neal, and Paonia again took possession on its own 14 to end the quarter.
On the opening play of the fourth, Miller ran 76 yards for the score and a 42-8 lead.
On the Bruins' next possession, Meilner made his second interception of the season, running the ball back 17 yards and setting up the final TD of the game by Miller. The Eagles were called for unsportsmanlike conduct for their on-field celebration, with 15 yards to be assessed on the kickoff. With the extra point, the 49-8 lead set the running clock in motion.
The Bruins are now 2-3 overall and play Friday night at Olathe (3-2). The Pirates opened conference play with a 47-14 win over Grand Valley.
Paonia will face the Bulldogs Friday night at Hotchkiss.