Hotchkiss routs Lyons, must travel to Burlington in 1A football playoffs
LYONS — A bevy of can’t-miss signs lined the road Saturday to Lyons High School.
One read: “This is Lyons Country.” Another: “Refuse to Lose.” And another: “Danger, hungry Lions ahead.”
The Hotchkiss High School football team wasn’t intimidated, pummeling No. 7 Lyons 49-9 in the second round of the Class 1A state playoffs. Quarterback Ryan Spor passed for 216 yards, and the team produced another 292 on the ground.
It was a win or go home approach, Hotchkiss running back Jaime Rodriguez said.
“It was a big game for us,” Rodriguez said. “We made a statement that we’re a semifinals team.”
Hotchkiss (10-1) faces third-seeded Burlington (10-1) in the state semifinals Saturday in Burlington.
“(Hotchkiss) is a quality team,” Lyons coach John Nichols said. “That’s the fastest team we’ve seen — the only team this year that’s had more speed than us.
“Speed can hurt you. When those kids got by us, we were in trouble.”
After falling behind 3-0 in the first quarter, the Bulldogs moved the ball at will. Hotchkiss built a 20-3 lead at halftime.
Then, on the second snap of the third quarter, Rodriguez breezed down the sideline for a 51-yard touchdown. One minute later, Jacobe Galley returned an interception to the end zone.
Just like that, it was 35-3 Bulldogs.
“We’ve had letdowns before,” Rodriguez said. “But we came out and finished out strong.”
Rodriguez’s 17-yard touchdown burst in the fourth quarter put Hotchkiss up 40 points. It also produced a running clock for the game’s final 10 minutes.
Rodriguez finished with a game-high 154 yards on the ground.
“The kid just had a step us,” Nichols said. “He’s incredible on his cut-backs. He has the ability to accelerate.
“Those are great things to have in a running back.”
The Bulldogs’ defense intercepted Lyons quarterback Roland Valadez five times.
The Lions, a team built on their running attack, were forced to throw, facing a large deficit. Time and time again, it cost them.
Hotchkiss held Lyons to 116 yards rushing.
“We had a feeling if we stopped the running game they were going to pass,” Rodriguez said . “We adjusted to it — and we were ready.”
Lyons had no answers, Nichols said.
“They’re very balanced,” he said. “You can’t commit to the pass or the run. That put us in a quandary.”
Wray 47, Hayden 7: The Tigers weren’t able to give the top-seeded Eagles their first loss of the season.
Norwood 42, Walsh 28: The Mavericks rolled to victory in the Class A 8-man state quarterfinals and play top seed Caliche in the semifinals in Illiff.