Playmaker makes it G-O

Youngren's TD pass helps vault Indians into semifinals

The Montrose defense stuffs Denver South’s Zachary Lindsay at the line of scrimmage Saturday in the first quarter of the Class 4A quarterfinals at Montrose High School.



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The Montrose defense stuffs Denver South’s Zachary Lindsay at the line of scrimmage Saturday in the first quarter of the Class 4A quarterfinals at Montrose High School.

Irah Wooten catches a pass from Angelo Youngren for a second-quarter touchdown Saturday.



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Irah Wooten catches a pass from Angelo Youngren for a second-quarter touchdown Saturday.

Montrose running back Angelo Youngren rushes for a first down in the fourth quarter Saturday during the Indians’ Class 4A quarterfinal victory over Denver South.



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Montrose running back Angelo Youngren rushes for a first down in the fourth quarter Saturday during the Indians’ Class 4A quarterfinal victory over Denver South.

MONTROSE — With a player like Angelo Youngren, the plus-side is obvious. He’s an exceptional athlete, and when he hasn’t been injured, he has been one of a handful of playmakers for the Montrose High School football team.

For coach Todd Casebier, even the perceived negatives of the senior running back — the things that make him shake his head or yell from the sideline — turned into positives Saturday for the Indians.

In an “oh, no… oh, yes” moment at Montrose High School that left Casebier shaking his head but smiling, Youngren found tight end Irah Wooten for a 26-yard passing touchdown on a designed run play.

The passing touchdown added to three rushing scores for Youngren as Montrose breezed by Denver South 47-27 to secure a trip to the Class 4A playoff semifinals, the first in Casebier’s 10 seasons at the helm.

“On that play I was actually supposed to run the ball,” Youngren said of his second career touchdown pass. “But I’ve been playing with Irah my whole life, I knew what he was doing.”

Youngren took a handoff on a reverse toward the east sideline. He stutter-stepped, trying find a hole, but bounced off an offensive lineman.

Still about three yards behind the line of scrimmage, instead of making a second effort to dive into the line, Youngren shifted sideways and chucked a high lob pass that hit a wide-open Wooten for the score.

Sometimes, Casebier said, playmakers need the freedom to make plays, even in a rigid offense like the run-heavy scheme at Montrose. Casebier’s reaction after the game was a lot more relaxed than his initial reaction in the moment.

“He’s done that his whole career,” Casebier said. “You know, I tell him to throw it to this guy on the reverse and he throws it to a different guy. I tell him to run it and he throws it. But he made it work, and he usually does.

“Great players do that and Angelo is a great one.”

Youngren scored on three touchdowns near the goal line in the first half, and Casebier said that Montrose (11-1) was trying to mirror the smashmouth style that Denver South (9-3) is known for.

On top of the usual “get off,” a term that Casebier said describes the Indians’ ability to get off the line and handle larger linemen on both sides of the ball, he also said Montrose needed to assert its physicality early and often.

A few of those moments translated into personal fouls, with both squads combining for eight, but more often meant big blocks to spring Youngren and Mike Rocha.

Youngren finished with 120 yards on 13 carries, and Rocha with 74 yards on 18 carries and two scores of his own. Montrose’s ability to run the ball is even more impressive considering three of the Rebels’ defensive linemen weigh more than 300 pounds.

“We talked about their size and how we could combat it with our G-O. Our, you know, what we call our ‘get off,’ ” Casebier said. “We knew coming in that their identity was smashmouth and how our identity is really that too, and that it was going to come down to who really had the stronger will.

“It goes back to our G-O, and that technique and that’s really everything for us. We put it on every poster, on every shirt. Our G-O is who we are and what we do. It allowed our smaller lineman to really get off the ball and punch some holes in there for our backs. It’s something that we’ve done all year and will continue to do.

“The same thing can be said for our defense. We got off blocks and limited what they were able to with the ball and that’s really what you need to do this time of year to be successful.”

Kameron Devincentis finished with three completions on seven attempts with 90 yards. Devincentis also found Peter Shearer for a 35-yard touchdown late in the second quarter.

The Indians’ special teams also came up big, jumping on a botched snap and giving the offense the ball inside the Denver South’s 10-yard line. In the second quarter, Donovan Adams blocked a punt and then recovered the ball, giving Montrose the ball with first-and-goal.

The Indians advance to play at Pueblo South (11-1) in the semifinals. The No. 5 Colts beat Dakota Ridge 27-20 to advance.

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