Good and bad: Offense shows potential, defense needs work in Fruita’s season-opening loss
New Fruita Monument High School football coach Shawn Marsh was bummed Friday night, but he was hardly upset.
Marsh realizes it’s hard to expect a team with a new coach playing a different scheme to win its opener, let alone against a traditionally strong Class 4A program. Still, he had hoped for more.
The Wildcats fell behind early, but stayed close in a 26-14 loss to Broomfield at Stocker Stadium.
“We’ve got to fix some stuff,” Marsh said. “We knew we would, but overall the kids gave a good effort. We moved the ball on offense; we gave up some big plays on defense. We rallied and didn’t give up and continued to battle.”
The Wildcats (0-1) showed they had the ability to move the ball, gaining 305 yards in total offense. One drive stalled on the Broomfield 6-yard line in the third quarter and failed to score.
“We have a lot of athletes on offense (that) we’ll be able to get the ball to that are explosive,” Marsh said.
Zach Thorpe completed 19 of 34 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns and appears to have earned the starting job. Colton Whitehead was on the receiving end of both scores, one for 6 yards with less than two minutes left in the first half and a 5-yard score with eight seconds left in the game.
“(Thorpe) right now, yes,” said Marsh of his starting QB. “Tyler Daniels is another kid (that could play QB), but he can do so many things on offense. Tyler is also going to play defense for us.”
Martin Zupan, Daniels and Vince Grasso shared the carries. Devin Dance, who was expected to get the bulk of the carries, had three carries for 4 yards.
“We’re trying to figure it all out,” Marsh said. “We’re not sure if he’s going to play on defense for us.”
Broomfield (1-0) was able to move the ball with no problem, eluding defenders and breaking several tackles.
The Eagles rushed for 311 yards and had 478 yards in total offense. The Eagles had 196 rushing yards in the first half.
“Some of it was missed tackles,” Marsh said. “We’ll be able to look at all those kids and move some people around and get some kids in different positions.
“We’re going to continue to platoon. We’re committed to that. It will take a little bit to determine if we’re going to play a kid on the offensive side or defensive side.”
Marsh said the Wildcats were short four linebackers for various reasons, including injuries.
Broomfield’s Division I running back prospect, Dan Guebelle, made several Fruita defenders miss on the Eagles’ first drive. He broke loose for a 23-yard gain on a fourth-and-two and three plays later scored on a 7-yard run.
The Wildcats fumbled the ball on their first possession but Broomfield couldn’t capitalize.
The Eagles gave Guebelle, who missed a chunk of last season with injuries, the rest of the night off, but their other backs broke loose.
Ryan McCulley ran for a 63-yard score and Sean Gentry ran in from 10 yards out for an 18-0 lead in the second quarter.
Gentry scored on a 7-yard run and quarterback Aric Kaiser ran in a 2-point conversion for a 26-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.
“They have a good football team,” Marsh said. “They’re a good program. It will be fun to see how well they do. They’ve got a really strong offense.”