Inexperience leads to lopsided loss for ‘Cats
Several new faces had their first taste of varsity football Saturday afternoon for Fruita Monument, and it wasn’t sweet.
The young Wildcats were unable to keep up with a fast and athletic Denver East team in their nonconference season opener, falling 41-0 at Stocker Stadium.
Fruita Monument didn’t get penalized much and limited its turnovers to two, but the Wildcats, with only three returning starters, struggled with blocking assignments and executing plays.
The Wildcats (0-1) were limited to less than 150 yards of total offense and allowed 423 yards.
“I saw a lot of first-game stuff, missed snap counts, missed assignments, little stuff that went wrong,” Fruita Monument coach Sean Mulvey said. “It snowballed on us today, and we weren’t able to get out of the hole.
“On both sides of the ball, we had breakdowns. There are things we feel we can fix. It was first-game stuff, and it really came back to bite us.”
The Wildcats were in a hole before they touched the ball.
Denver East returned the opening kickoff 86 yards to the Fruita Monument 6-yard line, and quarterback Michael Kouba scored on the first play from scrimmage. The point-after kick failed.
Fruita moved into Denver East territory on its first two possessions. A fumbled snap cost the Wildcats a scoring opportunity on their first possession, and Fruita’s next possession ended when a fourth-down attempt at the Denver East 27 was one yard short of the first down.
The Angels came back and scored on their next possession. Jordan Willis made an athletic reception, pulling in a pass after bobbling it, for a 30-yard touchdown.
Denver East’s defense forced and recovered a Fruita fumble at the Wildcats’ 34, and the Angels scored four plays later when Kouba hit Jack Moran for a 15-yard score and a 20-0 halftime lead.
“We’ve got to get 11 guys out there that play with the same idea, the same mind, the same heartbeat,” Mulvey said. “Everything’s got to be the same. They’ve got to trust the guy next to them. If (you) think you’ve got to make every play, you’re not going to be successful. It’s a team game, and we didn’t play team football.”
Kouba led the Angels to another score to open the second half before taking the rest of the game off. The senior completed nine of 13 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns.
“That’s a fast team,” Mulvey said. “We knew they are a very talented speed team. Coach (Spencer) Colter did a good job of getting his guys hungry and ready. It showed today, they wanted it more than we did. They came out and punched us, and we didn’t punch back.”
The Angels rushed for 164 yards and had 423 total yards. John Sunn came in at quarterback and led Denver East to another score late in the third quarter.
Trailing 41-0, Fruita Monument had a final chance to avoid being shut out. The Wildcats moved into Denver East territory, and quarterback Sam Schroeder threw a pass over the middle to an open receiver inside the 20. The ball was dropped, however, and a couple of plays later the clock expired.
Mulvey was disappointed, but he believes the Wildcats will improve.
“We have a lot of heart on this team and a lot of good kids,” Mulvey said. “Nobody’s down on each other. We’re looking to become a better football team. There are things good football teams do that we’re not doing right now. We can fix that.”
Vail Christian 38, Plateau Valley 8: Vail Christian scored all of its points in the first half. The Cowboys avoided the shutout when Hunter Bagett threw a touchdown pass to Alex Cox in the fourth quarter.
Plateau Valley coach Dave Bristol said the Cowboys had two TDs called back because of penalties in the second half.
Fruita Monument’s No. 2 doubles team of Blaine McCormick and Ben Bishop led the Wildcats’ sweep of the doubles matches in a 6-1 win over Durango.
“They truly led us,” Fruita Monument coach Clint Davis said.
McCormick and Bishop won their match 6-4, 6-1.
Austin Stelmach scored a goal for Palisade 20 minutes into the first half, but Nathan DePuy scored his second goal of the game minutes after halftime to give Steamboat Springs a 2-1 win at Walker Field.
Ivan Galindo made eight saves for the Bulldogs.
Brighton 3, Grand Junction 2, OT: The Tigers scored a goal in the final 20 minutes of regulation to force overtime, but Brighton scored in overtime for the victory.