Indians hold on
Montrose survives late-game Fruita rally to stay perfect
MONTROSE — Class 4A’s top-ranked Montrose Indians withstood a furious Fruita Monument rally and three turnovers to hold on for a 35-26 Southwestern Conference football victory Friday night at Montrose High School.
Fruita Monument scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to get within a score and recovered an onside kick with two-and-a-half minutes left, but the Wildcats turned the ball over on downs.
Montrose running back Michael Rocha scored three plays later to give the Indians (7-0, 1-0 SWC) a 35-20 lead with 1:35 left. The junior rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns in place of Angelo Youngren, who broke his collarbone in practice earlier this week and is out for four to six weeks.
“It was a sloppy game,” Montrose coach Todd Casebier said. “Give Fruita credit. Their kids played hard the whole time.
“Our offense is a lot better than that. Obviously, we’ve got to clean up our turnovers. It starts with our backfield. They’ve got to be better than they were tonight. I didn’t think our O-line played particularly well. We’re going to have to play better than that next week.”
Fruita Monument (3-5, 1-2 SWC) didn’t quit, going 93 yards in the final 90 seconds to score on the final play of regulation on a Jacob Lynch 20-yard pass to Matt Story.
“The kids played their hearts out,” said a distraught Fruita Monument coach Sean Mulvey. “That’s all I’ve got to say.”
Lynch completed 18 of 40 passes for 307 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Brandon Kubick caught nine passes for 144 yards. Story had three receptions for 100 yards and one touchdown, and Juston Erekson had five catches for 43 yards and two touchdowns.
Montrose appeared to be well on its way to a victory early in the third quarter when quarterback Kameron DeVincentis led the Indians on a 64-yard scoring drive. He scored on a 3-yard run for a 21-0 lead. DeVincentis completed eight of 15 passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns to Irah Wooten.
Fruita Monument’s offense started to click on its next possession, with Lynch hitting Erekson for a 15-yard touchdown.
The Indians answered with a 10-play, 53-yard drive, ending with a Rocha 2-yard TD run on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 28-7 lead.
That’s when the game got wild.
Montrose defensive back Ryan Ormsbee intercepted Lynch, but the Wildcats got the ball back when Isaac Rodriguez recovered a Montrose fumble. Four plays later, Erekson caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Lynch.
The Wildcats got the ball back, but they started to self-destruct with three penalties, including holding and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on fourth-and-10 at the Montrose 30. Fruita had nine penalties for 80 yards, including two personal fouls.
“I can’t say much about the second half,” Story said. “We turned it on offensively. We got some penalties we shouldn’t have got. That tore us down a bit.”
The Indians got the ball back and were running out the clock until they lost a fumble. Story picked up the loose ball at the Fruita 24 and ran 76 yards for a touchdown with 2:50 left. The point-after kick failed, and Montrose led 28-20.
“I was thinking the game was broken wide open at that point,” Story said. “We got that onside (kick), and we were right back in the game like that. You never know what can happen. That was a big moment, but we couldn’t capitalize on it.”
After some discussion on the onside kick, the officials gave the ball to Fruita, but the Wildcats couldn’t complete a pass, including one when a receiver slipped as a cornerback closed in.