Homecoming kings: Playing on high school field, Bulldogs rout Huskies
The Palisade High School football team basked in the opportunity to play their homecoming game at the high school instead of at Stocker Stadium.
“It was wonderful to here in front of our home town, on our home field and have our support,” Palisade coach John Arledge said. “Palisade is a great town and a great place to coach and live.”
The Bulldogs gave the fans what they came to see Saturday, dominating Battle Mountain in a 40-0 victory.
The atmosphere for the first varsity game at the high school since 1997 was exactly what the Bulldogs hoped for — packed stands and fans sitting in the end zone on lawn chairs.
“I wish we could play all of our games here,” Palisade defensive back Connor Charlesworth said. “It’s a lot more fun when the whole Palisade public can watch us and see what we are all about.”
Charlesworth added the Bulldogs also felt a different sense of pride about playing at the high school.
“This is the field we bleed on so we needed to protect it,” Charlesworth said. “I loved it.”
The Bulldogs controlled the entire game, allowing only 77 yards of total offense to the Huskies.
Palisade scored on its opening drive with a Luke McLean 3-yard touchdown run.
The Bulldogs added another McLean rushing touchdown at the end of the first quarter, and converted the two-point conversion to take a 16-0 lead.
“We started out well, scoring on that first drive and that carried throughout the whole game,” McLean said. “Our line played great and it was easy to run.”
The Bulldogs had opportunities for more points in the first half, but struggled with penalties. Palisade had 12 total penalties for 112 yards in the game.
Battle Mountain was never able to capitalize on any Palisade mistakes, and had very little success against the Bulldogs’ defense.
In addition to Palisade’s stingy defense, Battle Mountain was without starting quarterback Jake Engle. Eric Weiss started in his absence and the Huskies’ offense produced only 13 passing yards and 64 rushing yards.
“We did the normal stuff and it was base defense the whole game,” Arledge said. “We didn’t do anything special and it was as vanilla as it gets.”
Palisade scored one final time before halftime on a Quinn Zamora 2-yard run to give the Bulldogs a 24-0 lead.
McLean scored on the Bulldogs’ opening possession of the second half with a 10-yard touchdown run.
Weiss fumbled on Battle Mountain’s next possession to give the ball back to Palisade at the Bulldogs’ 20-yard line.
On the next play, Ronald Kuntz scored on an outside run to put Palisade ahead 40-0.
Kuntz was the Bulldogs’ leading rusher with 86 yards on eight carries.
McLean finished with 13 carries for 75 yards and three touchdowns. He added 78 yards passing on 4 of 8 attempts.
“We had a couple turnovers and things like that, but overall we were really physical at the point of attack,” Arledge said. “It was homecoming, the kids loved it and this is the way it should have been.”