Cimolino, Mavericks run past Fort Lewis

As he crosses into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game, Colorado Mesa running back Jake Cimolino leaps into the air to dodge the tackle attempt by Fort Lewis’ Jamal Campbell during the first half of the Mavericks’ victory at Stocker Stadium.

They lunged and dived, and most of the time the Fort Lewis College defense came up empty.

Jake Cimolino and the Colorado Mesa University football team ran and ran and ran to a 36-12 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference victory over the Skyhawks on Saturday night at Stocker Stadium.

“Most of the time our blocking schemes are made where I’m one-on-one with a safety or corner, and I’ve got to make one guy miss,” Cimolino said. “As long as I make one guy miss every play, that’s all I want.”

Colorado Mesa (3-4, 3-2 RMAC) had a season high 366 rushing yards, led by Cimolino, who had 27 carries for 216 yards and two touchdowns.

“What’s so special about Jake is he can pull a whole defense to one side of the field,” CMU quarterback Jason Haferman said. “When that happens, that’s when I can keep the ball and get yards. If it’s not me, I’m throwing a bubble because everyone is sucking in on Jake. Even if I mess up and make a wrong call, he’s got the physical mind-set to break tackles.”

DJ Hubbard had seven carries for 110 yards (15.7 per carry), mostly in the fourth quarter.

“Jake is running extremely well,” CMU coach Russ Martin said. “He’s running hard, breaking a lot of tackles. Jake’s a very good, complete back for us. We want to continue getting him the football.

“Hopefully we can get DJ a few carries in there and give Jake a blow. He’s a great complement to Jake. DJ’s a really shake-and-bake, fly guy. Jake’s a good, solid, I’m going to pound it, but I’m also going to break it when I get a chance.”

It was a good thing Mesa had success running the ball because the Mavericks had 15 penalties for 171 yards.

“We had a lot of penalties that took points off the board,” Cimolino said. “We left a lot of yards out there because of penalties. Offensively we could’ve done more things, but we still put points on the board and got the win.”

“As a coach, you don’t ever want to be ugly,” Martin said. “Fort Lewis is well-coached. They were doing some things that caused some confusion for us up front. We weren’t able to get some of the consistent drives, but we hit some of the play-action passes.

“We are making improvement. We were disappointed with penalties tonight. We had some drives going. We’ve got to really focus on that.”

Cimolino got the Mavericks started with a 21-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He set up the score with a 41-yard run earlier in the 80-yard drive. Caleb Pavy missed the extra-point kick.

“That was a draw play,” said Cimolino of the 41-yard run. “They dropped in pass coverage, and it went big. The DBs and linebackers vacated. I made one guy miss, and it was off to the races.”

The Mavericks turned a potential mistake into a touchdown early in the second quarter. Trent deBraga started to return a punt, then pitched it to his brother, Trevor deBraga, who ran untouched down the sideline for an 82-yard score. The Mavericks led 13-0.

“Let’s just say it’s a good thing Trevor caught it and turned it into a touchdown because I might not have been seeing the field if he dropped it,” Trent deBraga said. “I got held up and saw Trevor was behind me. I figured I couldn’t get nothing else, so I pitched it off, and luckily it turned into a positive play otherwise.”

The deBragas did it before in high school.

“There were plenty of times in the past couple years Trent’s running like that and I’m calling for the ball, and finally he pitched it,” Trevor said. “I look up, and there’s a swarm of maroon and gold leading the way.”

“That’s certainly not what we practiced, but the end result was really good,” Martin said. “It’s like the basketball coach that says, ‘No! No! No! Great shot.

“Trent said he felt like he was held up, and the ball was exposed. If that was the case, it could’ve been stripped out easy enough. Let’s say its one of those things we don’t want to happen again, but we’ll take the results of it tonight.”

Pavy tacked on a 26-yard field goal before the half for a 16-0 lead.

Fort Lewis (0-6, 0-5 RMAC) scored early in the third quarter on Jordan Benton’s 25-yard pass from Tim Jenkins, and Mesa responded with three consecutive scoring drives: Cimolino scored on a three-yard run late in the third quarter; Haferman completed a 38-yard pass to Alex Zemezonak early in the fourth quarter; and Hubbard scored on a 35-yard run for a 36-6 lead.

The Skyhawks added a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.


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