Palisade played and won its most important game Thursday
Palisade played and won its most important game of the year thus far last Thursday at Stocker Stadium,
The Bulldogs handled Western Slope Conference rival and previously Rocky Mountain News’ No. 4 ranked team 39-14.
“It was a really important win, it defined where we are at and how the team is going,” Palisade (6-0, 3-0 WSC) coach John Arledge said. “I didn’t expect us to do as well as we did, but the kids rose to the challenge.”
Steamboat Springs entered the game undefeated and 3-0 in WSC play. The Sailors’ stellar offense was contained by Palisade’s newly healthy defense, which added another piece in defensive lineman Caleb Sisneros, who had missed the first five games with a shoulder injury.
Sisneros was an all conference selection last season and made his mark in his first game back, harassing Steamboat quarterback Austin Hinder who went 13-of-22 passing with one touchdown.
“(Caleb) is playing great,” Arledge said. “He had a great time in there and was dominate inside. It is nice to have someone that big inside and can move so well.”
With Sisneros up front and defensive back Zach Adair continuing to play well despite still recovering from a knee injury, Steamboat scored a season low in points and gained only 148 yards of total offense on
seven first downs.
“For the first time all year long everyone in there was suppose to be in there,” Arledge said. “Everyone made a big difference and played their part.”
Palisade will continue its WSC schedule taking on Delta, Friday at Stocker Stadium. The Panthers are 2-3 this season and have played competitive.
“They are a young team and our biggest key will be getting better and not overlooking them,” Arledge said. “All teams have the potential to beat you if you don’t do the little things.”
Scott Miller is a dangerous player for the Wildcats. The 6-foot-5 tight end has become the team’s number one threat in the passing game as well as a solid blocker in Fruita’s option scheme. But where Miller might be a bigger weapon for Fruita (3-2, 1-1 Southwestern Conference) is at punter.
A big leg, Miller has the ability to not only get good hang-time on kicks, but also pin kicks, as he proved in Friday night’s game against Central.
Miller punted the ball 48-yards and the Wildcats downed it at the Central 3-yard line. The week previous,
Miller was able to pin Grand Junction at the 2-yard line.
“(Scott) has a real knack as a punter,” Fruita coach Bill Moore said. “He is a good punter for distance, they don’t always look pretty but the end result usually ends up being pretty good.”
Even with Miller’s precise punt, it couldn’t help the Wildcats as they fell 21-18 to Central. Reviewing the film, the Wildcats saw plenty of improvement opportunities.
“They were pretty disappointed in themselves,” Moore said. “There were some breakdowns they recognized and some other things we could have done and should have done better.”
Fruita will attempt to bounce back as they travel to winless Durango on Friday.
“You have gotta travel well,” Moore said. “Be focused the whole time and when you are at the game you have to be ready to play.”
As proof with last week’s 30-21 win over Skyline, Grand Junction has figured some things out.
The Tigers (1-4, 0-1 SWC) had 30 points and controlled the ball with running back Jayke Brock.
Grand Junction’s 30-point outburst was one point fewer than what the Tigers had put up the first four weeks combined.
“We wanted to start strong and keep it going through all four quarters,” Tigers’ offensive lineman Ethan Minnick said. “We have to keep the tempo up this week.”
The Tigers started strong flying out to a 23-7 halftime lead behind Brock’s 93 first-half yards. Brock ended with 227 yards after rushing for 144 the week earlier against Fruita Monument.
Brock, a senior, has a knack for getting to the second line of defenders, averaging around seven yards per carry in the last two games. Brock also has the ability to break tackles and requires more than one defender to bring him down.
“He was carrying about four kids and wouldn’t go down,” Minnick said. “It makes us want to keep going if nothing else because we see our teammates pushing themselves.”
The Tigers will have a big test taking on top ten team Cherry Creek on the road.
“The key is to practice and keep getting better so on Saturday so we should be ready,” Brock said.
The Central Warriors took a big step Friday in their 21-18 win over Fruita.
With less then five minutes left and down 18-13, the Warriors (3-2, 1-0 SWC) drove 97-yards as quarterback Holden Reed scored the winning touchdown and added the two-point conversion.
The defining win gave Central an important Southwestern Conference win and reassures the choice to go with a pass-first offense .
“It has worked out and the big thing is we have thought we have some people who are pretty good skill players,” Central coach Vern McGee said. “They did a good job converting some big third downs and we
did a good job up front.”
Reed was 3 for 5 on the drive for 43 yards. The junior also ran 5 times for 28 yards including a two-yard score for the go-ahead touchdown.
“He did a great job on that drive especially after the previous drive when he fumbled,” McGee said. “He kinda atoned for it.”
The Warriors have one more game against an East Slope 5A opponent when they take on Eaglecrest Friday at Stocker Stadium. With the 5A playoffs based on a points system, every 5A win counts so much more.
“It feels really good to win but we are getting ready for Eaglecrest,” McGee said. “They are going to be big and fast and could pose some problems.”