Tigers' offense struggles in season-opening loss
Every now and then, Grand Junction’s Ryan Arnold would stop playing lacrosse and glance up at the developing, skeletal dorm rooms overlooking Walker Field at Colorado Mesa University.
“Sometimes,” he said. “When I wasn’t guarding somebody.”
He was guarding somebody pretty much the whole game Thursday in Grand Junction’s 12-5 loss to Battle Mountain.
Arnold, who has signed to play lacrosse at CMU, had little time to breathe or think about his future, as the Tigers’ offense generally didn’t make more than a pass or two before Battle Mountain was rushing back on Arnold and the Tigers defense.
It was the opening game for both teams.
But the fact it was a season-opener was more evident with the Tigers.
“It looked like we had a lot of jitters,” Grand Junction coach James States said. “We try to rotate the ball two or three times before going into our motion offense and we were losing possession sometimes the first go-around.”
Sometimes a pass was dropped; other times an errant pass was made. Grand Junction’s sticks seemed a bit shaky on the pristine-green turf at CMU.
“For some guys,” Arnold said, “there are a lot more nerves playing here.”
Grand Junction usually plays home games at Canyon View Park. Instead, it played in a stadium where the last of the day’s light conceded to shadows, stadium lights and growing cold.
It didn’t help that Grand Junction was missing key players Chris States and Benjamin Gemoya for reasons James States declined to discuss. Also, some Tigers were out sick.
Apparently, a couple played anyway.
“Some guys were dry-heaving, about ready to pass out just going up the field,” Arnold said. “That probably didn’t help.”
Grand Junction senior Jordan Jones, who was diagnosed with stage-4 testicular cancer at age 13, is playing his final high school sport after extensive treatment.
His freshman year, Jones could do no more than two pushups.
He said he can now do 80, as well as squat 410 pounds.
He also won a couple face-offs on Thursday.
“I feel fine now,” Jones said. “Before games, I just pray and think of everything that I’ve gone through. I just think about how much pain I’d been in and how I’m glad I’m doing what I can do now.”
Twin brothers Luke and Paul Dohm, Harrison Boardwine and Zack Keil all scored goals for Grand Junction.
Fruita Monument 10, Eagle Valley 2: Chaz Lakin scored three goals and Aiden Woomer scored twice as Fruita Monument won at Eagle Valley in the teams’ season opener.
Corey Henrickson had eight saves for Fruita.
Cruz Maestas scored two minutes into the game as host Palisade defeated Coal Ridge 2-1.
On Cruz’s first goal, Palisade coach Raina Sorensen said the ball bounced around the box and after Palisade attackers hit two shots that were deflected, Cruz finally finished.
“It was nice to get that first goal,” Sorensen said. “It really opened the scoring opportunities for us.”
Maestas also added an assist on a goal by Micah Feller.
Central 1, Moffat County 0: The Warriors scored a first-half goal and fended off five shots by the Bulldogs to win their opener.