Running game lifts Grand Valley past Paonia
PARACHUTE — William Waugh dished out the punishment instead of taking it Friday night.
The Grand Valley High School senior and his teammates did the hitting, leading the Cardinals to a 44-13 victory over Paonia.
“We knew we had to come out and hit the hard,” Waugh said. “Paonia is the hardest-hitting team we played last year. We had to go 100 percent.”
Waugh suffered a concussion in the Cardinals’ 37-6 loss to Paonia last year. Friday, he put some linebackers on their backs, rushing for 76 yards and two touchdowns.
“They’re always very physical,” Grand Valley coach Mike Johnson said. “Their kids will pop you. They always seem to stick their nose in you. I’m real proud we popped back and made some plays.”
Waugh lead the Cardinals (2-0) to the end zone early in the second quarter, scoring on a 13-yard run with 9:15 left for a 10-0 lead.
Michael Shepard, though, made the play that set up the touchdown. The Grand Valley senior caught a 30-yard pass from Ryan Gallegos along the sideline to put the Cardinals in scoring territory.
“They were aggressive and blitzed us like crazy,” Johnson said. “We used (the pass) to loosen them up a bit.
Everybody wants to stop Colton Cowan and our running game, but we can throw the ball a little bit. ”
Shepard hauled in a 23-yard reception to start the next drive. Three plays later, Landon Pasket caught a 16-yard pass from Gallegos for a touchdown and a 17-0 lead.
Grand Valley, though, turned the ball over on its own 12 when Gallegos fumbled and Paonia’s KC Martin recovered it.
The Eagles (2-1) scored six plays later on a Lukas Wiggins 1-yard run, but he missed the extra-point. Paonia appeared to gain the momentum with the touchdown with 53 seconds left in the first half.
Instead, Grand Valley marched 62 yards and scored with nine seconds left to take a 24-6 halftime lead.
Gallegos completed an 11-yard pass to Jared Tonder and a 32-yard pass to Cowan to set up Waugh’s 1-yard touchdown run.
“Our offense was doing good,” Gallegos said. “Coach wanted to set the tone and that did it. The guys made a lot of big catches.”
If scoring at the end of the first half wasn’t enough, Grand Valley opened the second with a 73-yard scoring drive to take a 30-6 lead. Eric Glaze scored on a 9-yard run.
The nine-play drive didn’t include a single pass. It was all Cowan, Waugh, Glaze and Tonder on the ground with Cowan’s 10-yard run on third-and-four the key play.
“That drive was even more important,” Gallegos said. “We came out (to start the second half) with a lot of enthusiasm.”
Glaze scored on a 13-yard run with 1:43 left in the third quarter for a 37-6 lead, matching last year’s score, but it didn’t end there.
Tonder scored on a 33-yard run midway through the fourth quarter. Paonia’s Josh Burns had a 45-yard touchdown run with 7:08.