First-quarter scoring blitz carries Colts to win over Central
PUEBLO — It was a forgettable first quarter for Central’s football team.
The Warriors gave up 28 straight points to Pueblo South in the opening quarter en route to dropping a 42-14 decision Saturday afternoon in the Class 4A Foothills League opener for both teams at Dutch Clark Stadium.
“It’s awful tough to start in the hole like that, but it’s not like the scoreboard started like that, we put ourselves in that situation,” Central coach Shawn Marsh said. “We came out and we didn’t play well, and that made things hard for us.”
The Warriors (1-5) dropped their third consecutive game. The Colts (5-1), who are ranked No. 9 in the latest CHSAAnow.com poll, won their third straight.
The Colts marched 62 yards on their opening drive — culminating with a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Zach Cozzolino to Marcell Barbee.
Moments later, Central was down 14-0 when Ryan Weller’s first-down pass was intercepted and returned for a 27-yard score by South defensive back Thomas Pannunzio with 9 minutes, 48 seconds left in the first quarter.
“Pueblo South has some kids who make plays, and you can’t make mistakes on those kids,” Marsh said.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, things never got better.
Cozzolino threw another 19-yard TD to Barbee and then he added a 2-yard scoring run to push the Colts’ lead to 28-0 with 2:58 left in the first.
“We challenged our kids this week to start fast,” South coach Ryan Goddard said. “The first drive we took care of business and then Thomas (Pannunzio) made a big pick and we started clicking. It’s so important to start out league play on the right foot.”
By the end of the first quarter South had 155 yards of total offense to only three yards for Central.
The Warriors had no answer for Cozzolino as he muscled in for another 2-yard score and tossed a 47-yard touchdown pass to Pannunzio. The latter came with 6:30 remaining in the second quarter, stretching the Colts’ advantage to 42-0 to start the running clock.
In the first half, Cozzolino was 11 for 13 passing for 189 yards and had two rushing touchdowns.
“We like what we have on offense,” Goddard said. “We like our skill players and they have a lot of experience.”
The lone first-half highlight for Central came when Weller hooked up with Kole Taylor for a 67-yard touchdown at the 2:05 mark of the second quarter.
Neither team scored in a third quarter that was marred by penalties.
The Warriors did get on the board again when Anthony Zubiate scampered 31 yards for a score. The touchdown was set up by a 33-yard pass from Weller to Taylor.
“Offensively, are kids battled, and it is too bad things ended this way,” Marsh said. “It hasn’t been a good season for us. It gets hard every time saying this is a learning thing and it’s going to get better, but this is a great team that I’m lucky enough to coach and I love these kids and the coaches. We get to continue to stay together and try and get better and work together as a team.”