Fruita rallies in second half to top Montrose
MONTROSE — A few early miscues gave Montrose High School’s football team early momentum Friday night. A few halftime adjustments, coupled with a few gutsy calls, gave Fruita Monument its first road win against the Indians in more than a decade.
Junior fullback Treyton Queen ran in the go-ahead two-point conversion for the Wildcats with 2 minutes, 15 seconds remaining, capping a comeback from an early two-score deficit for a 36-35 season-opening victory against the Indians.
“This is special for our seniors,” said Fruita coach Todd Casebier, whose program won for the first time in Montrose since 2003. “It was a great team win and we’re going to enjoy it tonight.”
Casebier, whose teams were 0-2 since he came to coach Fruita from Montrose, admitted the victory was special for him as well before hesitating.
“I don’t want to say too much,” he said. “That’s a playoff team over there. We might wind up playing them again.”
Queen and Braeden Graham combined for 272 rushing yards, with 72 of Queen’s 133 yards coming in the second half. His second-half output was big because of the first-half performance of Montrose running back Sam Collins, who had 142 yards and three TDs by halftime on his way to a 195-yard night.
Not to be outdone, Graham added a team-high 139 yards with three touchdowns, including an 11-yard run that pulled the Wildcats within 35-34. Casebier, who said he was going to go for two in that situation no matter what, called on Queen to get the two-point conversion.
“Man, I was tired by then,” Queen said. “But I got a great block from my tailback and a great push from our front line. That was huge for us.”
Montrose took the lead early on thanks to a pair of Fruita fumbles, which led to touchdown runs of 2 and 1 yard from Collins and Cade Atwood in the first quarter. Then after Montrose’s defense forced Fruita to turn the ball over on downs, Collins broke free for a 65-yard TD run for a 20-7 Indians lead with 5:49 left before halftime.
Both teams traded scores before halftime, with Montrose’s nine-play scoring drive in 1:50, capped by Collins’ 2-yard TD with 2.6 seconds left, putting the Indians back up 27-14. The Wildcats’ offense was their best defense in the second half, however, putting together scoring drives of 10 and 11 plays to pull ahead 28-27 on a 7-yard run from Queen.
“We changed up our front line,” Casebier said. “We really challenged our kids to stand up. We felt like Montrose ... we wanted to prove that we were tough, and we did that by coming back the way we did. I’m proud of our kids with the kind of effort they made and what they accomplished.”
The Indians weren’t done, though, capping a 60-yard, 12-play drive with a 2-yard plunge from Atwood with 7:24 remaining. The Wildcats went ahead five minutes later and, on the Indians’ next possession, Cason Gisner intercepted a Caleb Egbert pass with 1:32 left to essentially seal it.
“It’s real big,” Queen said. “We haven’t beaten Montrose here in about 15 years. It’s an amazing feeling for us.”