Central in complete control: Warriors’ offense, defense dominate Wildcats
Central was looking for the complete game, and found it Friday night at Stocker Stadium against Fruita Monument.
The Warriors put together a tough defensive performance, and after two rough losses, the Warriors’ offense joined the effort as Central won in convincing fashion 36-0 over the Wildcats.
“The theme was to come out and bounce back,” Central quarterback Holden Reed said. “Hopefully this win carries over.”
The Warriors (2-3, 1-0 Southwestern Conference) ruined Fruita’s homecoming night right from the start. The Wildcats (2-3, 0-2 SWC) fumbled on their first series at their own 21-yard line. Central scored three plays later when Josh Buniger scored on a 4-yard run.
Fruita’s next series didn’t end much better. On second and 23, Fruita starting quarterback Casey Rogers was sacked by Central’s Victor Guerrero, and Devon Wolff recovered the fumble in the end zone to give Central a 15-0 lead.
“We talked about getting a defensive score,” Central coach Vern McGee said. “They flew around, and it was good to see.”
Strategically, the Warriors’ defense handled Fruita’s offense, which didn’t gain a first down until its fourth offensive series, and had only four in the first half. McGee said the Warriors’ scheme was to use seven defensive backs and get the most speed they could on the field.
“We took out one of our linebackers and a lineman so we had seven defensive backs,” McGee said. “That kept our linemen fresh, and it was good to see our kids getting to the football like they did.”
But as well as the Warriors’ defense played, it was the offense that stood out. At the end of the first quarter, the Warriors went on a 15-play, 70-yard touchdown drive that was capped by Reed connecting with Jarrett Higginson on a 10-yard fade route in the end zone. The score gave Central a 22-0 halftime lead.
“Our line did a great job,” Reed said. “They gave me a lot of time and I was able to get into a rhythm early.”
Central kept that rhythm in the second half as the Warriors went 92 yards on their opening drive. Reed again found Higginson, this time for 57 yards down the middle of the field to put the Warriors up 29-0.
“That was great, but I was saying for him to run, because he had so much space in front of him,” McGee said. “But he threw it so that was good, too.”
Central completed its scoring in the fourth quarter when Buniger scored on a 34-yard run.
The Warriors’ offensive line of Mical Kramer, Marshall Grimsley, Jaron Sparks, Zach Heath and David Acevedo helped the Warriors amass 383 yards of total offense and 15 first downs. Reed led the way, going 11 of 18 through the air for 157 yards. He added 85 yards rushing.
“My line did a great job up front and when they do that, it makes it easy,” Reed said. “This was fun.”
Fruita had a hard time responding from the early deficit. Rogers played well at times replacing Zach Thorpe at quarterback, but found himself under a lot of pressure, which led to only 98 yards passing.
“We had some young kids in there,” Fruita coach Bill Moore said. “It’s a tough deal when it’s the fifth game of the year and you are asking a lot from young kids.”