Delta forces seven turnovers, withstands D’Evelyn’s surges in close victory
LAKEWOOD — A ball-hawking defense that refused to give in Saturday pushed the Delta High School football team into the second round of the Class 3A state playoffs.
The Panthers forced seven turnovers and withstood a number of second-half surges by D’Evelyn, emerging from a wet and cold Trailblazer Stadium with a 14-6 victory.
Ninth-seeded Delta, in the postseason for the first time since 1999, hosts top-seeded Pueblo Central this weekend. Pueblo Central downed Palisade 34-0.
Delta (9-2) won its eighth consecutive game and did it by intercepting five passes and recovering two fumbles, one of which senior Chad Cromwell returned 20 yards for a touchdown.
“Our defense is phenomenal. They came to play,” Panthers senior quarterback Austin Watson said. “Coach (Ben Johnson) had us prepared all week and we knew what we had to do to win this game. It was on their shoulders and that’s what they did.”
The Jaguars (8-3) returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but didn’t score again.
Cromwell made it 7-6 with his touchdown and Watson had an 8-yard touchdown pass to Robert Simpson the other score, all of which came in the first 4:01 of play.
Gene White intercepted a Caleb Flack pass at the goal line in the third quarter to snuff a D’Evelyn scoring threat and Phillip Decker picked off a pass in the red zone in the second half.
The Jaguars turned the ball over twice on downs in the fourth quarter. Nolan Britain ended the game with the Panthers’ fifth interception.
Glenwood Springs also advanced in first round of Class 3A, defeating Elizabeth 24-3 in Glenwood.
The Demons (7-4) scored on three touchdown runs. Tyler Thulson rushed for 145 yards and one score.
The Demons (7-4) travel to Highlands Ranch this weekend to face Valor Christian (11-0) in the second round.
In the first round of the Class 2A playoffs, Aspen defeated Pagosa Springs on the road 46-41. The Skiers host No. 1 seed Faith Christian this weekend.
The 1A Western Slope Conference’s two remaining teams both lost in the quarterfinals.
Hotchkiss lost at Limon 35-28. Meeker fell to top seed Yuma 43-14.
Norwood remained alive in the Class A 8-man playoffs, defeating Miami-Yoder 25-8 in Brush.
The second-seeded Mavericks (11-0) are home this weekend to take on third seed Dayspring Christian (10-1) in the semifinals.