Impressive Indians: Montrose cruises past Central
In the first quarter Thursday night, it appeared the Central High School football team was ready to make its final home game of the season one to remember.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, that one quarter — which really was two big plays — was all it took to light a spark for Montrose, which seemed to struggle to a 7-7 tie after the first quarter, but surged back to defeat the Warriors 41-14 at Stocker Stadium.
The Indians opened the game with an 11-play, 73-yard scoring drive that ended with quarterback Drew Casebier connecting with Brenan Woodruff from 24 yards out and an early 7-0 lead. The Warriors answered with an impressive 62-yard drive, but failed to convert on fourth-and-two, turning the ball over to Montrose on downs.
Two plays later, Montrose running back Angelo Youngren fumbled on the Warrior 31-yard line. The ball was recovered by Central’s Fred Hiller and two plays later, Central quarterback Tyler Sanchez hit Kyle Rowe in stride down the middle of the field for a 67-yard touchdown. Jake Sebesta’s extra point was good and the game was tied 7-7.
“You know, (Central) got us on that play early in the game,” Montrose coach Todd Casebier said. “I thought our defense did a great job tonight, but that one play was big for (Central) and big for us, too.”
From that moment on it was all Montrose as the Indians took control of the game with a balanced offensive attack keeping the Warriors (1-7, 0-4 Southwestern Conference) in check.
“Montrose is a great football team,” Central coach Vern McGee said. “We played with them the first quarter and a half and then we let things get away from us with penalties and it kind of pushed us back.”
That penalty McGee referred to was a killer for the Warriors and a momentum shift for the Indians.
Down 14-7 with 2:48 to play in the second quarter, the Warriors seem to be on the verge of tying the game again when a personal foul moved them back to the Montrose 31-yard line. From there, Central managed one yard before missing a 47-yard field goal. Montrose drove 70 yards for a score to take a commanding 21-7 halftime lead.
“With 50 seconds left in the half, (Montrose) needed to go 70 yards for a score and they did,” McGee sad. “Didn’t even need the full 50 seconds. You have to tip your hat off to Montrose, but at the same time you really want your kids to be able to step up and make plays when you need them to and Montrose made the plays and we didn’t.”
The Indians (7-1, 1-1) entered the game after a 49-21 loss to Class 5A’s top ranked team, Grand Junction, a loss that was still resonating with Todd Casebier.
“I feel good about the way our team played tonight,” he said. “We wanted to get a win down here because last week was tough and our guys really did a good job responding.”
In the second half, the Indians used a balanced offensive attack between the running and passing games. The Indians gained 305 yards rushing and Drew Casebier threw for 145 yards and four touchdowns, two each to Woodruff and Cameron Jones.
“I’ve got to take my hat off to Montrose,” Sanchez said. “They were just hungry and it showed they wanted to win the way they were able to move the ball and stop our offense.”
Late in the game, Central finally got back on the scoreboard when Noah Sanchez scored on a 1-yard run. Prior to that, the Warriors had three possessions where they managed only seven total yards.
“I just think (Montrose) outplayed us,” Rowe said. “(Montrose) had better plays and just beat our offense and defense down and it seemed we couldn’t stop them.”
The win should keep Montrose firmly in the top 10 of the wildcard standings; the Indians were eighth this week. The Indians play Fruita Monument next week and close the regular season against Durango.
“We’re still playing for a lot,” Todd Casebier said. “It’s real simple for us. If we can beat Fruita and Durango we can get a home playoff game. Fruita has a fine football team. They are a better football team than last year, that’s for sure.”
The Warriors wrap up the regular season at Lakewood next week, then will play a non-playoff qualifier game the first weekend of November.
“Everything has to end sooner or later, it’s just kind of hard to realize that I probably won’t play on this field again,” Sanchez said. “But, I’m not going to hold my head down. I’m going to enjoy my career here ... every part of it and every game. I have no regrets. You know, things don’t always work out the way you want them to, but I had fun every year I played.
“It has been a tough year for me physically. But then again, I’ve been playing tough and taking big hits since I was a sophomore, so I was used to it. Win or lose, I’ve loved every game I’ve played in. I had fun my senior year and enjoyed having competition on the other side of the ball.”