Defense lifts GJ
LONGMONT — Suddenly, the Grand Junction High School football team is all about defense.
The Tigers forced seven turnovers, recorded six sacks and held Skyline High School scoreless for the first three quarters Saturday in a 30-14 victory at Everly-Montgomery Field.
Grand Junction improved to 2-3 after opening with three consecutive losses.
“We’re confident — that’s for sure,” Grand Junction defensive back Chandon Rose said.
Rose credits the Tigers’ renewed confidence to the defense. In the first half against Skyline, they forced two three-and-outs and four turnovers, leading to short fields for the offense.
After allowing at least 30 points in their first three games, the Tigers have surrendered a mere two touchdowns since — and those came against second-stringers in the fourth quarter against Skyline.
“We have been flying to the ball better,” said Rose, who had two interceptions Saturday. “That’s a huge part of it.”
Grand Junction punted on its first possession against the Falcons, but then scored on its next four drives. Quarterback Andy Willett did most of the damage, totaling 174 yards on the day.
Willett scored on runs of 2 and 12 yards, and then caught a 48-yard touchdown heave from Jayke Brock midway through the second quarter. Behind the junior’s multi-threat abilities, the Tigers took a 24-0 lead at halftime.
Grand Junction’s offense was stagnant in the second half, producing only two field goals and mustering 50 yards.
But the defense carried the load. The Tigers allowed only 185 yards on the afternoon, much of that coming in the fourth quarter.
“It shows we’re fighters,” Rose said. “We’re going to fight the rest of the season.”
The Grand Junction High School soccer team lost a chance Saturday to remain tied for the Southwestern League, losing 2-0 to Durango.
The Tigers (7-3, 5-2 SWL) fell one game behind Durango and Montrose in the league standings with the loss.
Fruita Monument swept a doubleheader from Durango at Kronkright Complex, winning the first game 15-0 in four innings and taking the second game 14-3.
Erika Chirdon pitched a two-hit shutout in the opener, striking out four. Ashleigh Wissel and Taylor Johnson each had a double and a home run for the Wildcats.
Krystina Pacheco took the victory in the second game, giving up four hits.
Palisade defeated Steamboat Springs 22-0 and 20-0.
Shelby Hanson tossed a three-inning no-hitter for the Bulldogs (11-5-1), striking out seven and allowing only one base runner.
Emily Crow allowed one hit in her three innings in the second game, striking out seven.
Central won two of three singles matches to defeat Durango 4-3. Austin Krebill defeated Clay Haidaris 6-3, 6-3 at No. 2 singles and James D’Annible outlasted Keaton Wintcomb 6-1, 0-6, 7-6. The Warriors got their other two wins from the top two doubles teams.
Grand Junction defeated Montezuma-Cortez 7-0 to remain perfect in dual matches. The Tigers were led by Spencer Weinberg, who defeated Max Demby 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1 singles. Parker Hegstrom defeated Christian Chupp 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2.