Hotchkiss High School’s football team made the long trek across the Great Divide with all the usual distractions and pleasantries associated with riding a school bus over 200 miles for over four hours. The Bulldogs’ destination was Clear Creek High School with a little 1A football to be played. The trip was made without complications until Hotchkiss and its Golddigger opponents were ready to play the game. Officials for the game were MIA. A rockslide between the game site and Denver caused a delay of nearly 30 minutes before game officials were able to perform their duties.
Clear Creek’s fans were not particularly excited for the game to be played after watching the first quarter of play. Hotchkiss struck for 21 points in the first quarter enroute to a 57-0 non-conference victory.
Hotchkiss’ first score came on a Yahir Chavez 1-yard run with Saul Cortez kicking the extra point for an early 7-0 lead. Not long afterwards, Jace Peebles rambled 77 yards on a punt return to collect another six points for the Bulldogs. With Cortez’s extra-point kick, Hotchkiss assumed a 14-0 lead and never looked back.
Peebles scored on an 18-yard run later in the first quarter and gave Cortez a chance at his third PAT for a 21-0 lead heading into the second period of play.
Peebles wasn’t finished by a long shot. The senior running back scored on his second punt return of the game, this time from 59 yards out and followed with a 13-yard burst later in the second quarter. Cortez missed the point-after-try on the punt return but made good on the kick after Peebles’ 13-yard score. Hotchkiss would take a 34-0 lead to the locker room at halftime.
There were new faces in the lineup for the start of the second half. Sophomore Blaine Peebles put his name in the scorebook on a 2-yard plunge to start the third quarter. With Cortez’s kick, Hotchkiss owned a 41-0 lead.
Junior Adam Smith scored on a 5-yard run, allowing Cortez to kick his fifth extra point of the game to give the Bulldogs a 48-0 lead. Before the third quarter ended, junior Robert Cochran put his two cents worth in the game with a tackle, in the end zone, of an Golddigger player to make the score 50-0 with one quarter left to play.
Sophomore Mordecai White scored Hotchkiss’ final touchdown on an 11-yard run, with Cortez making his sixth PAT kick and a 57-0 score.
Hotchkiss’ defense was stifling allowing Golddigger quarterbacks just 40 yards on three of 10 passing. Clear Creek’s running game produced just 15 yards on 25 carries.
Jace Peebles punished the Clear Creek defense for 126 yards on just five carries and two touchdowns. Smith picked up 87 yards on eight attempts while White’s night consisted of five carries for 61 yards and a touchdown. Chavez toted the pigskin five times for 52 yards and a touchdown, and sophomore Drayden Taylor had 41 yards on two carries. Junior Tracer Hall and Blaine Peebles had single carries for six and three yards, respectively.
Senior Jacob Palecki had two catches in the game and picked up 25 yards. Senior Hunter Bryant had five yards on one reception.
Taylor, senior Malykai Klaseen and Palecki paced the Bulldog’s defense with six tackles each followed by White’s and senior Ethan Owens’ five tackles each.
A brief conversation with Hotchkiss head coach Curtis Hintz early Saturday morning generated this post-game thoughts. “Yeah, it was a wild game. I was glad a lot of our younger kids got into the game,” he said.
Hotchkiss will be in New Castle 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, for a showdown against the Coal Ridge Titans.