Markley, Wasser lead Cedaredge to easy win
CEDAREDGE — For Dante Markley and Carter Wasser, Friday night’s game against Paonia was a victory lap.
Cedaredge didn’t need to beat Paonia, but did anyway, winning the Class 1A Western Slope Conference championship outright by routing Paonia 46-6 with more than 400 yards of total offense.
The Bruins (8-1, 5-0 WSC) were led by Markley and Wasser, who did to the Eagles what they did to most league opponents this year. Wasser, a fullback, bowled over defenders, rushing for 140 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns. Markley completed 10 of 23 passes with no interceptions, and rushed for a touchdown.
Defensively, Cedaredge forced two interceptions and a fumble. Paonia (4-5, 3-2) threw the ball more than 20 times, but the Bruins limited the damage through the air, allowing fewer than 100 yards. They also stuffed the Eagles at the goal line on two drives, forcing them to turn over the ball on downs.
Cedaredge had already secured at least a share of the 1A Western Slope Conference title, but going undefeated in its league schedule was something special for Markley. Since his freshman year, the Bruins had struggled through three losing seasons.
“This season started when we were freshmen,” Markley said. “Our first three seasons we weren’t very good. But we knew if we stuck together and busted it in the weight room and kept dedicated, we’d eventually get to this point.
“Nobody has an ego, it doesn’t matter who puts it in. We got the league champs, but our goal’s not finished yet. We want the whole thing.”
Cedaredge nearly had an undefeated season, its only loss coming against Class 3A Eagle Valley, 32-6. Outside of that and a 21-20 win over rival Hotchkiss, the Bruins had scored at least 38 points in every game and never allowed more than 20 points in a league game.
“We had to think practical,” Cedaredge coach Brandon Milholland said. “We came into this year just wanting to improve on previous seasons. And every game we strive to have our kids do their very best. But we did some things in the offseason to be successful.”
Along with his team’s strong work ethic, Milholland credits some of the success this season to a football camp in Alamosa that 32 of his players attended.
“They put in that hard work and that dedication,” he said. “Right then I knew we had something. These kids always bust their (butts) in the weight room and during conditioning. That’s translated to a league title.”
The Bruins find out their playoff seed Sunday, and will likely host a first-round game in the 1A state playoffs.