Just three plays lift Indians over Fruita Monument
The way Fruita Monument High School football coach Bill Moore viewed it, his team’s game with Montrose on Friday came down to three plays.
Those plays all went in the Indians’ favor.
Montrose took advantage, using an early lead to take a 34-17 victory at Stocker Stadium.
“Fruita did some great things,” Montrose coach Todd Casebier said. “At the same time, they exposed us a little bit.”
In actuality, it was Montrose doing the exposing early.
The Indians (7-1, 2-0 Southwestern Conference) scored on their second play from scrimmage, a simple toss to Jordan Passehl around right end. Passehl got clear and raced 78 yards for the score with only 33 seconds gone.
“My line makes it happen,” Passehl said, echoing the works of his quarterback, Nathan Robertson, who cited the same reason for success in Montrose’s victory over Central the previous week.
That was the first play Moore said turned the tide in Montrose’s favor.
The second came eight minutes later.
The Wildcats had driven 80 yards in seven plays, the last 51 coming on Mike Campbell’s run around the right end similar to Passehl’s scoring run. Campbell’s touchdown pulled the Wildcats to within 14-7 with 3:22 remaining in the first quarter.
The Indians’ Taylor Neill quickly gave the momentum back to Montrose, taking the ensuing kickoff at his own 3-yard line, finding a seam and running it all the way to the Wildcats’ 4.
That set up Glayden Berry’s 1-yard run over left tackle to put Montrose ahead 21-7.
“We gave ’em a cheap one with that kickoff return,” Moore said. “That’s a lack of discipline, not staying in your lane.”
With Montrose leading 21-10 at halftime, the Wildcats took the second-half kickoff but fumbled on their first play from scrimmage, Montrose recovering at the Wildcat 17. Two plays later, Robertson scored on a keeper over left tackle.
“Again, that’s a lack of discipline,” Moore said.
Fruita Monument outgained the normally potent Montrose rushing game 300-274, with Campbell doing most of the work. The tailback carried 30 times for 238 yards and two scores.
“It’s good for us,” Casebier said of having some chinks in the armor exposed. “We’ll get better for it.”
The Indians host Grand Junction next week, then visit Durango to close out the regular season.
“I don’t think we’ll have a letdown,” said Passehl, who had a good night with 181 yards on 13 carries.
“I could tell talking to them in the locker room they realize we have some work to do,” Casebier said.
As for the Wildcats (4-4, 2-2 SWC), they close out their regular season at home next Saturday with a nonconference game against Poudre.
“Poudre is a must-win game for us to get a decent seed in the playoffs,” Moore said.
Having drawn eventual state champion Grandview in the first round of last year’s Class 5A playoffs, he’s well aware of the consequences.