Top-ranked Tigers push record to 5-0

Grand Junction High School has rolled to victories in its first four football games of the season, but Saturday night the Tigers faced some adversity that tested their mettle.

The Tigers, who scored 50 points in three of their first four games, scored 28 points in the second half to defeat Fountain-Fort Carson 28-14 at Stocker Stadium.

“We’ve been talking about this game and that we’d face adversity,” Grand Junction senior quarterback Sean Rubalcaba said. “They came out with a chip on their shoulder. They came out with that sour taste in their mouth and gave us a big blow in the first half.

“We needed this. We haven’t played the top tier competition the last few weeks. We needed a wake-up call and we got it.”

The Trojans (3-2) proved their defense is worthy of its reputation, shutting out Grand Junction in the first half and leading 7-0 at halftime.

The halftime break was what the Tigers needed.

“At halftime we had to regroup,” Grand Junction coach Robbie Owens said. “We threw a lot at our guys. We probably overwhelmed them a little bit. We had to show them on the board (the Trojans) are doing nothing we haven’t seen.

“We showed them so much this week, we were kind of scrambling. The kids understood it better (after halftime).”

Grand Junction (5-0) struck quickly in the second half, scoring on the second play from scrimmage when Jerreon Dennis danced around the Trojans’ defensive backfield for a 33-yard score to tie the game in the first 28 seconds of the third quarter.

The Tigers defense forced Fort Carson to punt and Grand Junction scored nine plays later on a Dennis 1-yard run for a 14-7 lead.

Grand Junction fumbled on its next possession, but the Tigers’ defense was up for the challenge, giving up zero yards and forcing the Trojans to punt again.

Chandon Rose took the punt and returned it 42 yards into Fort Carson territory.

As they did all game, Dennis and Rubalcaba carried the Tigers into scoring territory. Unlike the first half, the Tigers were able to punch it in the end zone. This time, however, Rubalcaba hit a wide-open Aaron Minnick for an 11-yard score and a 21-7 lead early in the fourth .

“I think that was a play Chandon Rose called,” Owens said. “They were biting on the run. It’s a little play-action, that’s why it’s in there.”

Fort Carson answered with a Dalton Schramek 9-yard touchdown run with 6:38 left, but Grand Junction responded again, running the ball on all seven plays.

Rubalcaba capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with 3:29 left.

“I’m still stubborn,” Owens said. “Sean and Jerreon cause so many problems (running the ball). We probably should’ve thrown it more, but what we’re trying to do is figure out what they’re doing defensively and make them cover both sides of the field. I think we did a good job of that.”

Dennis had 22 carries for 165 yards and two touchdowns and Rubalcaba rushed 20 times for 155 yards and one score. The Tigers had 362 yards rushing.

Rubalcaba completed 4 of 6 passes for 17 yards.

Grand Junction’s defense allowed 264 yards in total offense, 193 of it on the ground, but didn’t allow a play for more than 23 yards.


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