Continuity helps Cedaredge FB team feel comfortable
PAONIA — The Cedaredge football team is entering its second season under head coach Brandon Milholland, but after a 40-6 win Friday over Paonia, the Bruins are feeling as comfortable as they ever have.
“Having a returning coach makes a difference,” said sophomore Reid Gates, who had 65 receiving yards and 33 rushing yards in the win. “We’ve been running the plays for two years now. … We’ve got the offense down a lot smoother.”
The Bruins had 302 yards of offense, 111 in the air.
Defensively, they allowed only 113 yards and forced and recovered two fumbles.
The Bruins also had big moments on special teams, including a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Gates, which immediately followed Paonia’s only touchdown, in the second quarter.
On the Bruins’ second drive of the game, quarterback Drew Beach hit Gates with a 35-yard touchdown pass that was called back to the Paonia 15 after an illegal block. With the ball in the red zone, a run by Gates set up Beach for a 2-yard touchdown run.
Paonia nearly tied it in the second quarter on a 2-yard run by Dustin Braslin, but kicker Adrian Lopez missed the extra point.
The Eagles’ score was followed by Gates’ kickoff return.
Before the half, Cedaredge scored again on a 36-yard run by Dante Markley.
Cedaredge added three second-half touchdowns on runs by Peter Williamson, Carter Wasser and Beau Hebert, but more importantly, kept up defensive pressure and limited Paonia to 27 yards.
The Bruins kept pressure on the run-heavy Eagles, frequently running blitzes and having up to nine players in the box.
“I read the papers and (have seen) that they’re going to go back to the run,” Milholland said. “Our defense was ready. We’ve been flying around all summer. … We were ready to shut that down.”
Paonia coach Scott Rienks said many of his team’s struggles were simply because Cedaredge played well.
“It was a very rough way to start the season, but we got beat by a very good team,” he said. “I could sit here and talk sour grapes on the way we played, but part of the reason we played the way we did was because they played the way they did.”