Varsity football action in Cedaredge fired up on Friday, Oct. 26. When the Bruins hosted county rivals, the Paonia Eagles. After two weeks of away games, the Bruins were happy to be back on home turf, but were surely wary of the high flying Eagles. The last time the two teams met Cedaredge suffered a heavy defeat, being beaten 49-8. The game on Friday was a much more closely contested affair but ultimately ended with the same result as the Eagles felled the Bruins with a final score of 27-21. Both teams came to play on the ground, each offense completed only two passes. One observant fan classified this style of combative offense as "smashmouth football. Played five yards at a time in a cloud of dust."
Both teams were coming off the back of outstanding performances in their previous games, and this game was bound to be an exciting contest. The previous victory for Cedaredge occurred against the Hotchkiss Bulldogs, where the Bruins came out on top 41-0. A big win and a season high points tally that would surely have given the Bruins a major boost. Paonia came into the game with a 41-0 victory of its own in its match-up against Grand Valley the week before. The Eagles have been in a rich vein of form and the defeat of Grand Valley was their fourth shutout routing of an opponent this season.
On the night of the 26th, Paonia had four different goal scorers in an offense that is certainly focused on the run. The Eagles flew across the grass with 37 carries for a total of 233 yards. Senior running back Anthony Felice and fullback Jesse Burns as well as junior quarterback Grey Neal all ran for touchdowns. Junior receiver Carlos Lozano, who was Neal's only target of the evening, added the fourth on one of the rare passing plays. The scoring for Paonia was rounded out by kicker David Lozano who succeeded in two of his three extra point attempts.
Cedaredge put up similar numbers in both running and passing. Again only two passes were completed, but the Bruins ran and ran again. Their offense carried the ball 46 times for a total of 205 hard yards. For you mathematicians out there, that equates to about four and a half yards a carry. Smashmouth football indeed. Cedaredge's senior quarterback Jared Reynolds and junior running back Dusty Emig both rambled in for touchdowns and sophomore wide receiver Colby Rupp added the third. Sophomore kicker Brody Wagner had a good night and put all three extra points squarely through the uprights. The Bruins' defense did not play badly, despite the loss, as Toby Wadell and Brody Wagner both got in behind the line and made sacks. Reynolds and Emig contributed in defense as well as offense with an interception each.
It was a good, well contested game and neither team should feel hard done by. It was the type of game that typifies the best of high school athletics. Local county rivals, playing hard, grinding it out, cheered on by their loyal fans, gritting their teeth and getting down to business where only one side will be victorious. The Bruins and the Eagles can both hold their heads high after such an effort. The Bruins will surely be strong again in 2019 and will no doubt look to exact revenge on the Eagles when next they clash on the gridiron.
Paonia will play its next game as the 11th ranked seed in CHSAA's 1A Football Playoff Tournament on Nov. 3. The Eagles will travel to Burlington High School in Burlington and play a Cougars team that possesses an impressive 4-1 league record and is currently ranked sixth in the state.