Diverse Cardinals dispatch Cowboys

PARACHUTE — All the Grand Valley High School football team needed to get going was a little motivation.

That motivation came from a nine-yard touchdown run from Gunnison running back Alex Schliesman, whose scoring jaunt awakened a Cardinals’ offense that responded with four unanswered touchdowns Friday night in a 40-20 Class 2A Western Slope Conference victory.

“Things like that always hit us pretty hard,” said Grand Valley quarterback Tyler Scott, who finished 10 of 15 passing with completions to seven different receivers. “Things really started going in our favor after that.”

Scott finished with 162 passing yards and an interception for Grand Valley (4-0 overall, 2-0 WSC), which matched last season’s win total with the victory. In all, Grand Valley has won seven of its past eight games, dating back to the end of the 2011 season.

And much like the end of last season, Grand Valley displayed diversity on offense. Tanner Zimmerman rushed for 82 yards and three TDs for the Cardinals, who rushed for 250 yards and finished with 429 yards of total offense. All of that yardage came in big chunks, too, as 20 of Grand Valley’s offensive plays went for 10 yards or more.

“We’ve got some big-play capabilities,” Grand Valley coach Mike Johnson said. “Once they scored on us, I think our kids really wanted to answer. Our kids answered in about four plays.”

Actually, it took five plays for the Cardinals to answer the second-quarter scoring drive of the Cowboys (0-4, 0-2), who capped their 10-play, 70-yard march with a nine-yard jaunt from Schliesman with six minutes, 14 seconds remaining before halftime.

With the Cardinals up 14-6 after the extra-point kick was blocked, passes of 24 and 19 yards from Scott put Grand Valley at the Gunnison 17-yard line. Zimmerman’s five-yard run, followed by an incomplete pass by Scott, set up Zimmerman’s 12-yard scoring run that put the Cardinals up 20-6.

Grand Valley’s defense recovered a fumble from Gunnison running back Quinn Davis on the Cowboys’ next offensive play, and four plays later, Scott hooked up with Bryan Hegewood for a 14-yard scoring pass off a back-door screen.

Hegewood scored again on an 18-yard run just 59 seconds into the second half, and Zimmerman capped the scoring for Grand Valley with a one-yard plunge with less than four minutes to play in the third quarter.

Schliesman finished with 63 rushing yards on 16 carries and a pair of touchdowns for the Cowboys, who were limited to 231 yards of total offense.


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