Crossover of football, basketball seasons make practice time tough for Tigers
The Grand Junction High School boys basketball team’s practice Tuesday wasn’t a good time to get a grasp of the 2010-11 roster.
With the Tigers’ football team in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A playoffs, the basketball team had 10 players practicing.
That’s 10 total for the varsity and junior varsity teams.
“Right now we have seven to eight guys playing football and four guys hurt, so we are missing around 11-12 guys,” Grand Junction coach Dutch Johnson said. “We have 12 practices before our first game and 10 guys practicing.”
The Tigers’ coach is entering his eighth season, and has tailored his early season practices to get work done despite not having three or four potential starters.
“Our practices have been 70-30 defense right now,” Johnson said. “We have been able to get a lot done with the kids that are here, and they are able to get into shape because they are getting a lot of reps.”
This isn’t Johnson first experience with a short roster. In 2005 the Tigers reached the 4A football title game, and the basketball team was without Shay Starr and Justin Murray early in the season.
The Tigers begin their season Dec. 2 in the Warrior Classic against Smoky Hill. FYI, the Class 5A state football title game is Dec. 4.
Fruita Monument High School graduate Riar Geer signed Tuesday with the Tennessee Titans. Geer was released by the Broncos last week but was signed to the Titans’ practice squad.
FRIDAY NIGHT SHOWDOWN
The Colorado High School Activities Association guidelines for postseason football are for games to be played either Saturday at 1 p.m. or Friday at 7 p.m.
The quarterfinal matchup between Regis Jesuit and Grand Junction is Friday at 6 p.m. at Stocker Stadium.
“The site directors and the athletic directors can work around those times to make sure both teams are accommodated,” Grand Junction Athletic Director Ned Pollert said. “There is a tradition with Friday night football, and the atmosphere is different than a Saturday afternoon game.”
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Hotchkiss High School’s football team realizes to win a state championship, it’s going to have to put some miles on the bus.
The second-seeded Bulldogs travel 401 miles to play their semifinal opponent Saturday, all the way to the eastern edge of the state to play Burlington.
Hotchkiss’s trip is the second longest in terms of mileage in the playoffs. In Class 2A, the Brush Beetdiggers will be traveling 406 miles to play at Bayfield.
Hotchkiss will travel on Friday and drive nearly six hours to Limon, where it will stay overnight. Saturday morning, the Bulldogs will drive another hour to Burlington for the 1 p.m. kickoff.
“The kids are excited to travel,” Hotchkiss coach Zac Lemon said. “They like to get out and travel to new places and play teams we haven’t played before.”
If Hotchkiss wins, it would host the Class 1A championship game against either top-seeded Wray or No. 4 Limon.
The state football playoff coin flips were released Tuesday. In Class 5A, if Grand Junction wins Friday night, the Tigers would travel next week to the winner of the Ralston Valley-Cherokee Trail game.
In Class 3A, Glenwood Springs would host the winner of Windsor and Cañon City. In 2A, Olathe would host Florence, but travel to Platte Canyon.
All Conference Volleyball
The Southwestern League all-conference volleyball team was released on Monday, and the first team had a lot of familiar names on it. Durango’s Sloan Lovett, Central’s Ashley Wells and Montezuma-Cortez’s Andi Pickens all made it to the first team last season. Fruita’s Camille Kovach and Angela Archuleta, and Durango’s Anne Marie Pettinato were both selected to the second team in 2009. The only first-time selection on the first team this season is Montrose senior Jana Horn.
Palisade was eliminated from the 3A playoffs with last Friday’s 14-12 first-round loss to Silver Creek. The Bulldogs finished 9-2, with their two losses coming by a combined three points.
The Bulldogs outscored their opponents 386-143.
Offensively, Palisade was led by sophomore quarterback Luke McLean, who had 1,013 yards rushing on 200 attempts. McLean threw for 937 yards, and had 23 total touchdowns.
Defensively, Dasjon Buford had 93 total tackles and four sacks.