Montrose’s offense will be key in playoff game against Heritage

The Montrose High School football team takes a lot of pride in its offensive approach.

The Indians might not be the biggest team in the state, but they aren’t afraid to run the ball at their opponents until they break.

That was obvious Saturday in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs when Montrose had 65 rushing attempts for 298 yards to only six passing attempts in a 28-0 win over Standley Lake.

And if that wasn’t tough enough to stop, the Indians have added a wrinkle this season to their offensive game plan. If Montrose coach Todd Casebier thinks the tempo isn’t quite right, he’ll send his team into a hurry-up offense.

“We’ll get in and out of it at different times during the game,” Casebier said. “It gives us an advantage to use our conditioning and work we’ve put in the weight room.”

The Indians used the no-huddle approach at the end of the first half against the Gators and were able to punch it into the end zone to take a 7-0 halftime lead. Running backs Jordan Passehl and Glayden Berry, along with quarterback Nathan Robertson, make it tough for opposing teams to key on one player during quick tempo.

“It’s something that if the offensive line is getting off of the ball, and the running backs are running hard, we want to keep that going,” Casebier said.

A lot of the credit for the Indians’ success on offense goes to the players who grasp the hurry-up approach well.

“It takes time to develop it and the kids have to be sharp,” Casebier said. “We have to get the correct personnel on the field, and a lot of the times, the kids sub themselves.”

The approach could be a key in Saturday’s 1 p.m. quarterfinal game against No. 5 Heritage. The Eagles are widely regarded as one of the best teams in the state. They enter the game 10-1, with their lone loss coming in the opening game of the season to Columbine.

“We’ve got two tapes (of Heritage) and we’ve watched them front to back, back to front, and side to side,” Casebier said. “This year they are kind of flying under the radar, but their quarterback is a special player and they do things right.”

The quarterback Casebier is referring to is Mitch Griebel, the son of Heritage coach Mike Griebel. The senior has thrown 29 touchdowns this season to only five interceptions. On top of that, Mitch Griebel established himself in the record books this season when he tossed six touchdown passes in the first half against Lincoln.

“We know it’s going to take our best effort to beat Heritage,” Casebier said. “We’ll have to bring our best or we’ll be turning in our gear.”

But overall, Casebier said he feels like the Indians have prepared themselves well for a team of Heritage’s caliber with the schedule they’ve played. Whether that was facing the confidence of Standley Lake, the size of Rock Canyon or the speed of Central.

“All these games have given us the combination of exactly what we are seeing this time of year,” Casebier said. “We’ve seen physical, we’ve seen speed, and at this point there is no gray area, you play well or go home.”

Something that’s certainly working in the Indians’ favor is getting to play at home for Saturday’s playoff game. This is the second straight year Montrose has hosted the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Indians lost last season in the quarterfinal to Greeley West 22-8.

“We are under no illusions because we lost on our home field last year,” Casebier said. “We have to do everything we’ve been doing just a little better.”


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