Run-first game plan lifts Montrose in snow
MONTROSE — The field conditions Saturday suited the Montrose High School football team’s game plan perfectly.
With blowing snow, a muddy field and cold temperatures, the Indians used their run-first mentality to wear down Standley Lake in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
The Indians (10-1) ran 71 offensive plays and held the ball for more than 40 minutes in a 28-0 win over the Gators and will host Heritage in the quarterfinals this week.
“It’s about taking care of the football, stopping the run and running the ball,” Montrose coach Todd Casebier said. “Today we did all three things pretty well.”
Although the Montrose offense took a few series to get going, the Indians’ defense was stout from the first snap. Standley Lake didn’t get a first down until late in the second quarter, and the Gators gained only 24 yards of offense in the first half.
Standley Lake never crossed the Montrose 30-yard line.
“Our defense played really well,” Casebier said. “I think our defensive coaches had a great game plan and our kids executed it well.”
Offensively, after a punt on their first offensive series, the Indians put together two solid drives that found their way into the red zone. Both drives ended in missed opportunities, with a 27-yard missed field goal and an interception in the end zone.
Montrose finished its final drive before halftime, taking five minutes off the clock in a 12-play drive for a 7-0 lead on Nathan Robertson’s 1-yard quarterback sneak on fourth down.
“Standley did a good job, but we definitely missed some opportunities,” Casebier said. “Up seven at halftime and I told them the next drive was huge.”
The Indians took the first drive of the second half and scored, with Robertson running in for a 12-yard touchdown for a 14-0 lead.
“We knew if we could get a 14-point lead in a game like that, it would be huge,” Casebier said. “With the field conditions and our defense playing really well, that was a good situation for us.”
The Montrose defense continued to play well, which kept the Gators from putting together any drives.
Montrose controlled the clock in the second half, running the ball with Glayden Berry and Jordan Passehl. Berry finished with 93 yards on 20 carries.
Passehl was bottled up in the first half at times, but finally broke loose in the second half. Passehl scored the Indians’ final two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and finished with 137 yards on 28 carries.
“I love my (offensive) linemen,” Passehl said. “The line does a great job and everything is working well right now.”
Fifth-seeded Heritage (9-1) moved into the second round by defeating Ralston Valley 28-6.
“We are going to have to do everything we did today, only a little better,” Casebier said. “They are a good football team.”