Barrera lifts Central past Cheyenne Mountain
COLORADO SPRINGS — Cheyenne Mountain entered Friday having only allowed 50 points total through its first six games.
The high-octane Central Warriors nearly matched that total in 48 minutes, as a big second quarter keyed Central (4-3, 1-1 Class 4A Foothills Conference) to a 47-21 victory over the Indians.
It took a bit for the Warriors to get going. On their first drive, quarterback E.J. Barrera’s second pass fell into the hands of Cheyenne Mountain defensive back Terrance Dishmon.
Cheyenne Mountain (5-2, 1-1 4A Foothills) took over near midfield, churning out a 14-play drive that ended when senior quarterback Matthew Betterson fumbled on a goal line dive, only to have teammate Zachary Garrard fall on the ball in the end zone.
Then, in less than five minutes, the Warriors completely changed the game’s complexion.
Central responded with an 80-yard drive, powered primarily by Barrera’s legs. The senior stormed for 48 yards on the ground, but turned to his pinpoint accuracy to put the finishing touches on the drive. Barrera lofted a pass to the corner, where Darrion Alton outjumped his defender for a 10-yard touchdown reception.
The Warriors’ special teams continued to swing the momentum, forcing and recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to set up Central in the red zone. Two plays later, on an identical fade route, Barrera and Alton struck again, this time from 15 yards out, to give Central the lead for good at 13-7.
Central’s defense forced Cheyenne Mountain into a turnover on downs, giving the ball back to the offense at its own 14-yard line. Barrera connected with Jeremy Buniger, who split the safeties and outsprinted the Indians’ defense for an 86-yard touchdown.
The Warriors were up 27-7 at halftime and carried their defensive aggression into the second half. Junior defensive back Joshua Schuett knocked away a fourth-down pass with the Indians threatening.
Then, after a Central punt, the defense forced another Cheyenne Mountain fumble. Joe Estep pounced on the loose ball to give the Warriors another short field, and Barrera cashed in three plays later to push the lead to 33-7.
After a pair of late Indian touchdown passes, Barrera’s fourth TD pass of the night, to Ryan Weller, and a fumble return by Anthony Zubiate wrapped up the scoring. Barrera finished 18 for 32 passing for 257 yards.
Central coach Shawn Marsh said his team’s preparation helped the Warriors persevere, in spite of the slow start.
“Even when we didn’t have some stuff go our way, the kids kept playing hard the whole game,” he said.