Hotchkiss can’t make big plays in Class 1A football playoff loss at Burlington

The Hotchkiss High School football team couldn’t make the one big play it needed.

Saturday at Consbruck Field in Burlington, the second-seeded Bulldogs lost 20-13 in the Class 1A semifinals to the third-seeded Cougars.

Burlington gave up 279 yards of total offense, but kept the Bulldogs from stringing together more than two successful scoring drives.

“They had a great defensive game plan,” Hotchkiss coach Zac Lemon said. “They took away our outside game and we couldn’t really utilize our speed.

“They wore us down and we couldn’t get the big play.”

Burlington struck on its first drive when running back Colin Eberhart scampered 36 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

The Bulldogs responded early in the second quarter when quarterback Ryan Spor found room for a 23-yard run, then capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.

Jacobe Galley’s extra point tied the game at 7-7.

Midway through the second quarter, the Cougars intercepted a Spor pass and drove the ball inside the Bulldogs’ 10-yard line. Burlington squandered the opportunity when Galley recovered a Christian Ramos fumble.

On the ensuing drive, the Bulldogs put together a few first downs, but threw incomplete on fourth down at the Cougars’  33-yard line.

Hotchkiss was forced to throw more than it wanted to, with the Cougars stacking nine players at the line of scrimmage.

Spor ended the game 9 of 25 for 75 yards.

“They walked their free safety up and were bringing more than we could handle,” Lemon said. “We had some open receivers but couldn’t get the completions we needed.”

With Hotchkiss unable to finish drives,  Burlington didn’t waste the opportunity to get one more score before halftime.

Cougars quarterback Spencer Cure connected with Coley David on a 29-yard pass, which set up a 10-yard touchdown run by Ramos with less than two minutes remaining in the first half.

Before the end of the half, Hotchkiss again drove the ball on the Cougars’ defense. The Bulldogs worked their way to the Cougars’ 7-yard line, but a Spor pass flew incomplete as the first half expired.

The Bulldogs had 219 yards of total offense in the first half, but still trailed 14-7.

“It was more about the execution,” Lemon said. “We played tough, but in the end we aren’t a grind-it-out team, we want to get it going and use our speed.”

The Bulldogs found the end zone first in the third quarter. The Bulldogs got a short field after a Ramos fumble inside the 20-yard line, and Jamie Rodriguez turned the mistake into points with a 2-yard run.

Hotchkiss’ extra point attempt was blocked and the Bulldogs trailed 14-13.

Burlington took a 20-13 lead early in the fourth quarter when Cure found Trenton Rico on a 13-yard reception.

The next three attempts by Hotchkiss to answer fell short.

Spor rushed for 77 yards on 12 carries. Rodriguez added 64 yards on 21 attempts.

“The guys played great,” Lemon said. “We battled from the first to the last whistle.”

Burlington faces top-seeded Wray in the 1A title game.


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