Bruins relax, cruise in Round 1
CEDAREDGE — In the first half, quarterback Dante Markley and other Cedaredge Bruins played tense, anxious, the result of their first state football playoff experience.
The second half? Like recess.
Markley threw three of his four touchdowns in the final two quarters as No. 3 seed Cedaredge beat No. 14 Centauri 55-14 in the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs.
Cedaredge (9-1) will host Monte Vista (9-1) in the second round this week. The day and time will be announced today.
Centauri (7-3) took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter as the Falcons left defenders outside to contain Markley, a state-qualifying sprinter and seventh-place finisher in the 300-meter hurdles in Class 3A last spring, Soon, though, Markley and his teammates relaxed. Receivers such as Cade Wasser found open pockets along the sideline and over the middle of Centauri’s cover-two defense. Slant patterns cut into open field, too. And in the third quarter, the Bruins put up 28 points and tucked the game away.
Markley finished with 178 passing yards, finding Cade Wasser for touchdowns of 35 and 32 yards.
“It’s like you’re on recess with everyone,” Markley said. “You loosen up and start playing like you’re just messing around and having fun.”
Like brothers. Carter Wasser, the younger twin brother of Cade, took a third-quarter handoff to his right side, turned upfield, and, even though he collected four Centauri defenders like paperclips on a magnet, continued forward for a 14-yard gain. That set up Markley’s first touchdown to Cade Wasser, a floating, 35-yard completion that put the Bruins ahead 14-6.
And they didn’t trail again.
But Centauri didn’t go to sleep, either, cutting the lead to 20-14 in the third quarter.
“They’re definitely a state playoff team,” Cedaredge coach Brandon Milholland said. “Honestly, I felt a little bit outcoached. They tried to contain Markley’s speed outside, and they did a good job.”
Still, Markley began rolling deeper, giving himself more separation from the line of scrimmage. Then he began spotting receivers such as Cade Wasser and Reid Gates, who caught two passes for 26 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown. Gates also returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown, rushed for 88 yards and scored the Bruins’ first touchdown, an eight-yard run set up by his own 33-yard punt return.
That was early when Centauri, which took second place behind Monte Vista in the Class 1A Southern Peaks Conference, threatened to upset. After all, the Bruins led just 14-6 at halftime.
“At halftime I still thought it could go either way,” Milholland said.
But not in the fourth quarter when Gates’ punt return touchdown put the Bruins ahead 55-14 and set the running clock in motion.
“It was just huge getting this playoff win,” said Carter Wasser, who had 75 yards rushing on 12 carries. “This senior class had never been to state playoffs, so we didn’t know what to expect.”
Hotchkiss 48, Wiggins 7: No. 10 Hotchkiss won at No. 7 Wiggins (8-2) in the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs.
The Bulldogs (8-2) will play at No. 2 Limon (10-0) in the second round this week.
Limon defeated No. 15 Rye 41-0 on Saturday.
In last season’s semifinal, Wiggins defeated Hotchkiss 47-19.