Palisade keeps rolling with rout of Steamboat

Palisade’s Caden Woods returns an interception 65 yards for a touchdown Thursday in the Bulldogs’ 46-0 victory over Steamboat Springs.

Despite chaos all around, it was business as usual for the Palisade High School football team.

Thursday night at Stocker Stadium, the Bulldogs (7-1, 4-1 Western Slope Conference) brushed off a steady rain and a malfunctioning clock to cruise past Steamboat Springs 46-0.

“I love the way we played football,” Palisade coach John Arledge said. “I liked how our kids responded with physical toughness.”

The Stocker Stadium clock stopped working before the kickoff and District 51 Athletic Director Paul Cain was forced to borrow a clock from Central High School for the second half.

“It was weird at first, but our coaches teach us not to check the scoreboard anyway,” Palisade defensive end Andrew Buck said. “We just had to focus on the play at hand, but it was different not knowing how much time was left.”

The outside elements didn’t affect the Bulldogs’ play at all.

Palisade had 387 yards of offense on 50 plays. The Bulldogs’ defense held the Sailors (0-8, 0-4 WSC) to 42 total yards of offense on 25 plays.

Steamboat had only three first downs in the game.

“Our front eight are tough kids,” Arledge said. “I can’t say enough about our d-line and linebackers.”

Palisade allowed the Sailors to cross the 50 once. Steamboat recovered a fumbled punt at the Bulldogs’ 27-yard line, but managed only four yards.

“We have a lot of young kids,” Steamboat Springs coach Lonn Clementson said. “Palisade is a well-coached team, and we came down here and competed the best we could.”

The Sailors were actually tied 0-0 with the Bulldogs after the end of the first quarter.

Palisade took its opening drive to the Sailors’ 18-yard line, but two offsides penalties and an unnecessary roughness call pushed the Bulldogs into fourth-down and 25.

Steamboat stuffed the Ronald Kuntz run, and took over at its own 27-yard line.

Palisade forced the Sailors to punt, and after a 25-yard return by Kuntz, went on a 13-play drive.

The Bulldogs capped that drive with quarterback Luke McLean scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.

On the next series, Palisade again forced a Sailors punt, but Kuntz fumbled on the return and Steamboat recovered. Caden Woods made up for the turnover on the ensuing play by intercepting a Christian Ramirez pass and returning 65 yards for a touchdown.

McLean converted the 2-point conversion for the 16-0 lead.

“We had a couple fumbles but came back from our mistakes,” McLean said. “Everyone did a good job to secure the ball.”

McLean scored again before the end of the half, this time on a 22-yard run to take a 24-0 halftime lead.

McLean finished with 122 yards on 17 carries. McLean also had four rushing touchdowns.

“If you win four quarters, you win the game,” McLean said. “We prepare every week to have our best game.”

McLean scored the first touchdown of the second half, and following a Steamboat fumble, JT Townsend pushed the score to 40-0 on a 19-yard run.

In the fourth quarter, Townsend broke off a 71-yard run that set up a McLean 2-yard score.

“We picked it up in the second half and finished it,” Buck said.

Townsend had 92 yards on four carries and fullback Quinn Zamora had 84 yards on 15 carries.


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