Chaparral too tough for Central
CASTLE ROCK — No one can say Central didn’t try, but Chaparral simply made advancing to Round 2 impossible.
Central (5-6) hit the road for its first-round game of the Class 5A state playoffs Saturday at Douglas County Schools Stadium, but took a 49-7 loss at the hands of No. 10 Chaparral (8-2).
The Wolverines’ defense kept the Warriors desperate to make something happen on offense, until a fake punt was converted into a first down by senior running back Travis Key during a second-quarter possession. Up until then, Chaparral’s size was a factor.
“Defensively, they went to the football very well,” Warriors coach Vern McGee said. “We couldn’t do anything early. ... We just can’t match up with some of the size we see in some of these 5A schools, and they were bigger than what they looked on film. And on film, they were big.”
Key’s run gave Central momentum until a failed field goal attempt kept the Warriors scoreless.
With less than a minute remaining in the first half, another promising drive ended preaturely after Central junior quarterback Holden Reed was picked off by Chaparral defensive back James Pachelli to give the Wolverines a 28-0 halftime lead.
Pachelli later became a nightmare for Reed when the senior intercepted another pass, which he returned 55 yards for Chaparral’s seventh touchdown.
The Warriors’ brightest moment was when senior running back Nolan Curtis found open field to the right of the line and broke loose for a 77-yard run for a touchdown.
McGee said despite the score and the team’s struggles at the line and the defensive secondary, he was happy Central gained the experience by playing a top-10 seeded team.
“It was good for us to be here,” McGee said. “At least we weren’t playing in one of those other games that didn’t mean anything. This one had some meaning to it. We are glad we got to play Chaparral. They are a good football team.
“We were pretty desperate (at the line). We actually put our tight end at line there to finish the game, just because we had a couple people get nicked up. We struggled a little up front. If your linemen are good, you’re going to have a good football team, and if your linemen are struggling, you’re not going to win.”
Reed said Chaparral’s passing game, led by senior quarterback Jerry Slota, a Division I prospect who finished with 238 passing yards and three touchdowns, didn’t do anything Central wasn’t already expecting. However, the Warriors still had problems in the defensive secondary.
“They were still able to do it. You have to tip your hats to them,” McGee said. “Their quarterback threw right on the money every time, and they caught everything. That’s the way it goes.”