Briefs: Prep Football Roundup September 16, 2008
The Tigers continue to learn lessons in pride. Grand Junction suffered another tough loss Friday losing to Highlands Ranch 42-7 at Stocker Stadium. The Tigers recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff, but after an interception on the first play from scrimmage, Grand Junction seemed to be plagued by mistakes.
The Tigers had six turnovers and allowed a block punt and a punt return for a touchdown.
In his first year as Tiger’s head coach Robbie Owens takes a lot of blame for the teams early struggles this season.
“We have to do a better job coaching and I told my guys I am going to start soul searching to see what I have to do to get this team going,” Owens said.
In addition to it being Grand Junction’s first year in 5A, it has been a tough schedule out of the gate. A big battle for the Tigers now is not losing too much confidence after the rough start.
“They are learning a lot (about pride),” Owens said. “The key thing is we can’t lose too that much confidence heading into Fruita week.”
This week is the Tigers homecoming game are taking on Fruita Monument, which allows Grand Junction a chance to play against some familiar faces.
“It is a rivalry game and it is what football in Western Colorado is all about,” Owens said. “Billy Moore puts a great product onto the field and we will have our hands full.”
Warriors coach Vern McGee had the opportunity to do something last Friday night against Gateway that he hasn’t had the chance to do in sometime. After the Warriors took a comfortable 38-0 lead, McGee was able to get in second unit players.
“It felt good because it is something we haven’t been able to do in a while,” McGee said.
The reason inexperience players got the chance was Central’s offense rolling for the second straight week.
Quarterback Holden Reed had another strong game going 15 of 22 for 147 yards with one touchdown and added two rushing touchdowns.
“The offense has really shown improvement from week one,” McGee said. “We had it on a short field and they were able to score which is something we haven’t done in the past after getting a turnover.”
Central continues its tough 5A schedule taking on Rocky Mountain this week. The Lobos are 3-0 and defeated Horizon 34-24 in week one which McGee said will serve as a measuring stick for the Warriors.
“They are a good 5A team with a good athlete at quarterback (Bryan Peters),” McGee said. “We have to contain him because on film he looks like he has a cannon of an arm.”
Kickoff is Saturday at 11 a.m.
The Bulldogs have cruised to a 4-0 record out-scoring their opponents 131-36 in those four games. But there haven’t been some losses along the way. The preseason starting backfield of tailback Zach Adair and fullback
Aaron Wagler have both suffered injuries, Adair missing the past three weeks with a knee injury and Wagler playing but being unable to carry the ball with a broken hand.
With the two players unable to handle the load last week against Eagle Valley, the Bulldogs received inspired performances from Travis Fehlman and Jesse Brannon who both ran for over 100 yards.
“We always like to run three running back but it is nice to have an extra one,” Palisade coach John Arledge.
“But it is a cycle, it seems like some years we have a lot of linemen and are thin at running back but this year it is the opposite.”
The good news is all four running backs will be ready to play this week when the Bulldogs take on Moffat County. Palisade will also get back all-conference lineman Caleb Sisneros who has been fighting a shoulder injury.
“It will be nice to get them all back,” Arledge said. “But we got some good experience for younger kids who normally would have just been playing (junior varsity).”
Fruita Monument needed a cleansing game against Rangeview.
The Wildcats suffered a disappointing 47-6 loss at Bear Creek the week earlier in which the Wildcats were outscored 33-0 in the second quarter and allowed 470 yards of offense. Fruita had just over 100 yards rushing which is poor for the triple option team. But the Wildcats returned to form against the Raiders rushing for 331 yards on 53 attempts and winning 21-0.
“We had already put Bear Creek out of our minds,” running back Mike Campbell said. “We played a lot better than the score showed and it was nice to come out and get a win.”
The Wildcats controlled the clock going on drives of 17, 14 and 11 plays. Fruita also had 16 first downs in the game. Even with the strong running performance, Fruita coach Bill Moore wasn’t completely happy.
“Offensively we weren’t as sharp as I would want us to be all around,” Moore said. “We have to learn from our mistakes in this game and be a better football team next week.”
Fruita will have its first rivalry game as it faces Grand Junction for the Tigers homecoming game. While the Tigers have struggled this season, Campbell said he expects them to be ready.
“Both teams always come out and play well no matter what the records are,” Campbell said.