Big plays stymie ‘Cats
Heritage strikes quickly in victory over Fruita
Nothing came easy for Fruita Monument.
It was like the Wildcats were going uphill all night, but the Heritage Eagles used a number of big plays Friday night to pick up a 39-19 Class 5A football win at Stocker Stadium.
Fruita Monument battled and pulled to within 20-19 with a late score before halftime. But the second half was all Heritage, which put the game away with 13 points in the fourth quarter.
After a three-and-out series to start the game, the Wildcats’ defense was stunned by Heritage’s first play from scrimmage, a 50-yard bolt up the middle by tailback Rob Sublette.
A 7-yard run by Fruita Monument’s Juston Erekson capped an 11-play scoring drive to tie the score at 7-7. The Wildcats had to overcome a 17-yard loss on a high snap and a sack for a loss of eight on the drive.
As Fruita Monument (1-2) was grinding it out and working for literally every yard, Heritage was tormenting the Wildcats with big play after big play. In all, the Eagles had seven plays of 27 yards or more.
In the first half, the Wildcats kept the game close with the spread offense moving the chains, but in the second half the Heritage defense made things tough on the Wildcats.
Heritage (1-1) used yet another big play on its opening drive in the second half to push the lead to 26-19. During the nine-play drive, the Eagles converted three third downs, including a 27-yard pass from freshman quarterback Mikey Griebel to Dalton Thorpe. The drive, which took up nearly half the quarter, was capped by a 7-yard run by Griebel.
Fruita Monument looked to answer, but its opening drive of the second half stalled at the 11-yard line after a fourth-down completion from Jacob Lynch to Cody Basinger came up 1 yard short of the first down.
Lynch hooked up with senior Matt Story for a gain of 7 yards earlier in the drive to covert a fourth down.
Heritage forced a three-and-out on the Wildcats’ next drive, then put together another time-munching drive. After a 30-yard run by Griebel, Jake McGough punched it in from 4 yards out to push the lead to 32-19.
Story, who made a number of big plays on defense and also caught an 18-yard pass on offense, said it was a frustrating night.
“We just didn’t do the little stuff. We came out ready to play, but they just picked us apart in the second half,” he said.
Heritage took a 20-7 lead on Sublette’s 62-yard run, but the Wildcats clawed back with two scores in the second quarter. The first, a 21-yard run by Lynch, was the Wildcats’ long play of the game.
When Heritage botched a punt attempt with less than two minutes remaining in the first half, the Wildcats seized the opportunity.
Lynch dropped back, looked to his left, then drilled a perfect pass right between the 8 and 3 of No. 83 Brandon Kubic’s jersey on a slant pattern in the middle of the end zone for a 7-yard TD. The two-point conversion pass failed, and the score was 20-19.
Sublette wrapped up the scoring on a 30-yard run with 2:25 remaining. He finished with 193 yards on 17 carries.
Fruita Monument’s defense played well at times, but the option offense of the Eagles kept breaking the occasional big running play.
Story, Erekson and Taylor Carlson all played well on defense, and senior defensive lineman Andy Kane had the biggest hit of the night when he pancaked Sublette in the second quarter for a loss of two yards.
Fruita Monument coach Sean Mulvey said the Wildcats played hard, but the defensive breakdowns were frustrating.
“We just didn’t play very disciplined football tonight,” he said. “With option teams, you have to be disciplined. It was frustrating all the way around.”