Colts run over Warriors

Central allows 425 yards rushing in loss to Pueblo South

Central quarterback E.J. Barrera is tripped up by a Pueblo South defender on Friday night in the first half of the Warriors’ 54-33 loss at Stocker Stadium. Barrera ran for 123 yards and passed for 194 yards and two touchdowns.

Central’s Jeremy Buniger loses the football Friday nigvht after being hit after a long run in the first half of the Warriors’ 43-33 loss to Pueblo South at Stocker Stadium. Buniger had two catches for 44 yards and one touchdown in the loss.

On his first 10 carries Friday night, Pueblo South running back Steve Brock rushed for 205 yards and had runs of 62, 41, 25 and 24 yards.

Sometimes he emerged from a pile of defenders to streak for extra yardage, other times he ran untouched. The senior helped the Colts open a 34-point lead at halftime in a 54-33 victory over Central at Stocker Stadium.

“We didn’t tackle very well,” Central coach Shawn Marsh said. “We weren’t tackling aggressively. We were catching, it looked like, instead of taking it to him. We were catching and he did a great job of taking advantage of that. He runs the zone read very well and he’s a good football runner.”

Brock’s workload was lightened in the second quarter before he was the featured back again in the second half. He finished with 282 yards on 24 carries for Pueblo South (4-2, 1-0), but had no touchdowns. In short-yardage situations, the Colts turned to running back Reese Bravo — who had 127 yards on 18 carries with two scores — and quarterback Zach Cozzolino to wear down Central (3-3, 0-1). The junior signal-caller dove in for three rushing touchdowns on goal-line sneaks.

Pueblo South coach Ryan Goddard said he challenged his offense one week after a rivalry loss to Pueblo East.

“We didn’t block very well last week on the offensive line and they responded,” Goddard said. “Steve is a great back, Reese is a great back and they definitely do their thing, but it starts with our offensive line and they played tonight was outstanding. They got aggressive off the ball.”

The Colts started their first drive from their own 35 and Brock rattled off gains of 25 and 15 yards. Cozzolino escaped from the pocket and ran for 10 yards, setting up two intermediate runs and a score for Bravo.

Central answered three minutes later when running back Cade Balleweg took a read-option 44 yards untouched for a touchdown.

Pueblo South’s next drive lasted two plays, with Brock’s 62-yard run setting up a 3-yard touchdown for Bravo. Brock broke free up the sideline but was dragged down by a defensive back running from the other end of the field.

On Central’s next drive, wide receiver Jeremy Buniger caught a pass wide open up the middle, but fumbled when the safety put a shoulder into his stomach. Pueblo South recovered, then ran eight plays before Cozzolino tossed a jump ball that Marcell Barbee came down with for a 24-yard touchdown.

Cozzolino dove in for a 1-yard score to open the second quarter, then the Colts scored twice in the final 49 seconds of the half, aided by Central turnovers.

A swing pass ended with a fumble, which Pueblo South recovered. On the next play, Barbee caught another jump ball, this time for a 28-yard touchdown.

After an interception by Jason Adakai, Barbee caught yet another touchdown pass, this time for 36 yards, to go up 41-7 five seconds before halftime.

The pick was the biggest play of Adakai’s solid night. The junior, listed at 5-foot-11, spent most of the game in single coverage on Darrion Alton. The Colts were one of the first teams this season to leave Alton in single coverage.

“(Adakai) is getting a lot of practice against (Barbee),” Goddard said. “He did what he was coached to do. You have to give credit to the linebackers, too. They got the pass rush going and maybe disrupted the quarterback a bit.”

Balleweg capped Central’s first drive after the break with a 3-yard score, then Barrera hit Alton for a 21-yard touchdown on the second drive, with the senior receiver falling backwards between Adakai and a crossing safety to pull the ball in.

The Warriors, after receiving the opening kickoff, completed two onside kicks. The third drive of the second half ended with a turnover on downs.

Bravo responded by breaking off a 57-yard run — he was pulled down near the goal line — before Cozzolino wedged in for the touchdown.

Central scored two more times in the fourth quarter — a run by Balleweg and a pass from Barrera to Buniger — but the first-half deficit was too much.

“Those turnovers are big,” Marsh said. “Those are really big. You can’t turn the ball over and we gave them a lot of momentum right there at the end of the half and that really put us in a hole. We put ourselves in a bad spot offensively and put our defense in a bad spot.”


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