Fruita overcomes fumbles to put Durango away

Fruita Monument’s Tyler Church sacks Durango’s Joe Keresey on Saturday in the Wildcats’ 43-0 victory.

In the third quarter of Saturday night’s 43-0 rout of Durango at Stocker Stadium, all the Fruita Monument High School football team had to do was hold on.

As the temperature dropped, the Wildcats (3-3, 2-0 Southwestern Conference) nearly were in the middle of a rugby game. The teams combined for six fumbles in that quarter.

But the Wildcats quickly settled down after their two fumbles, and responded with big plays to score 28 points in less than 31⁄2 minutes.

“We had a fumble and they had a couple and that’s just the way it goes sometimes,” Fruita coach Sean Mulvey said.

“There were a lot of big plays and fortunately the ball bounced our way. We had good offensive stuff and the defense got some crucial turnovers and were able to convert.”

The craziness started with about 81⁄2 minutes to go in the third quarter. The Wildcats, who led 15-0 at halftime, had just caused a turnover on downs on a fake punt by Durango.

On the first snap, quarterback Zack Thorpe dropped the ball, but recovered his own fumble, losing six yards.

Two plays later, Thorpe completed a 15-yard pass to Brandon Kubick. Kubick lost his grip and fumbled it away at the Demons’ 35.

On the next play, Durango quarterback Joe Keresey fumbled and lost two yards.

Durango halfback Dakota Sutherlin picked up 14 yards but took a hard hit and fumbled, giving possession back to Fruita with 6:39 left in the quarter.

“When we had the fumble, the defense comes out and gets a big hit from Colby Dixon,” Mulvey said. “He made a great stick on that kid, the ball popped out and we jumped on it.”

On the first play after the fumble, Vince Grasso ran up the middle for a 48-yard touchdown with 6:28 left. The Wildcats faked the point-after kick, with holder Zach Griggs throwing to Tyler Church for a 23-0 lead.

Durango started the next drive at the 20 and fumbled again on the second play, and Thorpe immediately hit Chris Gershon for a 22-yard touchdown with 4:31 on the clock.

Fruita scored a defensive touchdown on Durango’s next drive, which lasted four plays, all of them first downs because of penalties on each team.

From his own 15, Keresey was chased into the end zone by the Wildcats’ defense and fumbled.

Defensive end Braden Bair picked up the ball for the touchdown with 4:31 left.

“I got penetration, the ball slipped out, I recovered it and touchdown,” Bair said.

Fruita’s final score came with 3:15 left in the third quarter on a 55-yard run by Grasso.

Grasso finished with 223 yards rushing on 10 carries. He scored three touchdowns, including a 90-yard run in the first quarter. On the run, he found a hole up the middle, cut left and took it the rest of the way.

In the second quarter Fruita went on an 80-yard drive, capped by a 7-yard touchdown pass from Thorpe to Kubick.


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