And then there were two......Meeker and Paonia. Cedaredge's 29-11 loss to No. 2 Strasburg, in Cedaredge, eliminated the Bruins from title contention in this year's 2A State Football Championships.
Cedaredge gave more than a good account of themselves in the playoffs this year. A 24-7 win over No. 7 Crowley County in first round action meant a quarterfinal round game with Strasburg, a 54-0 winner over Grand Valley last week.
The Bruins were able to contain Strasburg's running game, giving up just 103 yards on 25 carries. Most of the damage was done through the air as the Indians scored three touchdowns on Conner Martin's 7-11 day in the passing game. Martin connected with Hunter Bergstrom and Jeremy Ladd for three passes each. Bergstrom had 54 yards and a touchdown for the Indians and Ladd was good for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
Strasburg finished the game with 172 yards through the air and added another 103 on the ground for a total of 275 yards. The Bruins weren't too far behind that total with 204 yards on the ground and 32 in the air for 236 yards.
Cedaredge senior Isaac Swoffer was the game's leading ground-gainer with 146 yards on 26 carries. Bergstrom rushed for 76 yards on six carries to lead the Indians' ground game.
Swoffer suffered an injury during second quarter play and Bruins' fans heaved a sigh of relief upon his return later in the game. During Swoffer's absence, Strasburg scored a touchdown.
Defensive leaders for the Bruins included Christian Reynolds with seven tackles followed by Swoffer's six stops, and Jared Reynolds' and Tre' Labossiere's five tackles each.
Mike Spence and John Still had 10 tackles each for Strasburg. Bergstrom and Chandler Turnbull had nine and eight tackles, respectively, for the Indians.
Cedaredge's first points came off the foot of kicker Brendan Klaseen from 22 yards out after a drive had stalled at the Indians' 5-yard line. The score came with 1:04 remaining in the first quarter leaving Strasburg ahead 7-3 at that point.
A second score came in the final period on a quarterback sneak by Jared Reynolds with less than six minutes left in the game. Swoffer ran the ball in for a 2-point conversion to account for Cedaredge's 11 points in the game.
Cedaredge missed another field goal attempt by Klaseen early in the third quarter and the Indians kept their 14-3 lead.
The Bruins stopped Strasburg soon afterwards and set up their offense at their own 36. A gutsy call on fourth and two allowed the Bruins to extend the drive, only to have it stall near Strasburg's 20. After two incomplete passes to the end zone, the Bruins turned the ball over on downs.
Strasburg's final score came after recovering an onside kick by the Bruins. The Indians moved the ball to Cedaredge's two and a half yard line where the Bruins put up a tough defensive effort by stopping the Indians three straight times. Strasburg scored on fourth down and added a 2-point conversion for the game's final score of 29-11.
This week's semifinal round will feature No. 1 Meeker (a 28-15 winner over Platte Canyon) against No. 4 Bennett (a 63-27 winner over Peyton). On the other side of the bracket No. 3 Paonia (a 22-20 winner over Burlington) and Strasburg (in Strasburg). The two winners will vie for the 2A State Football Championship on Nov. 26.