Key turnovers plague Indians
MONTROSE — Turnovers in football are a self-destruct button: commit too many and a team’s chances of winning explode.
In Saturday’s Class 4A state quarterfinal game between Greeley West and Montrose, the Indians committed five turnovers, caused zero and lost 22-8.
“When you have five turnovers you have a weak chance of winning,” Montrose defensive back Mac Alexander said. “It wasn’t our day on offense. Our defense played great but offensively we had a rough day.”
Not only was Montrose coughing the ball up, but Greeley West capitalized every time.
It began on the Indians’ second drive of the game when Montrose quarterback Nathan Robertson was intercepted on his first pass by Erick Ghent at the Spartans’ 45-yard line. He returned the ball to the Indians’ 25. Greeley West used a six-play drive to take a 6-0 lead.
Montrose remained turnover-free in the first half and was able to forge a 6-6 tie at halftime.
In the second half, Montrose had the momentum. Despite going 1 for 7 in the first half, Robertson connected with Shane Hedrick on 3rd-and-10 for a 22-yard completion. That put the Indians in good field position at the Spartans’ 43.
After two short runs, Robertson’s pass attempt for Jordan Passehl was intercepted at the Montrose 39-yard line.
“Our defense, especially our secondary, really stepped it up,” Greeley West running back Steffen Bunting said. “We had an idea that if we were in the right spot we could get a few picks.”
The Spartans scored with another six-play drive but the extra point was blocked, keeping the Indians down only 12-6.
Montrose seemed to break out on the next drive, starting with a 19-yard scramble by Robertson.
That was followed by two 11-yard runs by Passehl. The Indians had it at the Spartan 31-yard line on 3rd-and-2 when a fumbled snap turned the ball back over to Greeley West.
“We were driving in the third quarter with a chance to take the lead,” Montrose coach Todd Casebier said. “You can’t turn the ball over. We talked about that all week.”
Greeley went on a 17-play drive that ended with Brian Wright’s 23-yard field goal.
The Indians’ next drive followed suit as Robertson’s fourth-down pass at midfield was tipped and intercepted.
With nine minutes left in the game, the Spartans didn’t waste any time. Bunting scored on a 63-yard rushing touchdown, giving the Spartans a 22-6 lead.
“Turnovers are a product of a lot of things,” Casebier said. “Pass protection, the receivers, but give (Greeley West) credit, their kids played hard and made a couple of big plays.”