Montrose wins SWC title
MONTROSE — If Montrose didn’t have the respect of the Grand Valley teams, it sure does now.
For the third straight weekend, the Indians took care of School District 51 team soundly, locking up their third straight Southwestern Conference championship with a 35-0 win over Grand Junction (2-7, 1-3).
Montrose (8-1, 3-0 SWC) defeated Central 45-13 two weeks ago and downed Fruita Monument 34-17 last week.
“For three weeks all we have heard from the Grand Junction media is how are we going to stop Grand Junction, Fruita and Central,” Montrose head coach Todd Casebier said. “For three weeks we have said nothing but ‘let’s get the job done.’
“Our guys have kept their mouths shut, played the game the right way and they got rewarded tonight.”
Montrose again posted 30-plus points for the seventh straight week but it took the Indians a little longer to get rolling.
Grand Junction was able to control the ball in the first quarter, allowing the Indians only one first down. The Tigers’ defense was locked in but the offense had its three drives stall after putting
together a few first downs.
Early in the second quarter, the Indians took the ball on a 81-yard, 15-play drive that ended with a Glayden Berry touchdown run. The Indians were able to convert two first downs on the drive by drawing the Tigers offside.
The long drive seemed to take the wind out of the Tigers’ offense. Grand Junction was unable to move the ball on its next two drives.
With roughly two minutes left in the quarter, Tigers quarterback Sean Rubalcaba was intercepted by Taylor Neill at the Grand Junction 34-yard line.
Montrose was able to take advantage of the turnover five plays later when Berry ran it in from 3 yards out.
Berry led the Indians with 70 yards rushing and added 48 receiving yards on three catches.
“The last seven minutes of the second quarter where they got 14 points really hurt us,” Grand Junction coach Robbie Owens said.
“They were able to get some momentum but they are a good football team and they just wore us down.”
The Indians’ first drive of the second half all but secured the game for Montrose, using power football, running the ball eight times. Nathan Robertson took it in from 1 yard out.
“When you are playing a good team like Montrose, you have to control the ball and you can’t give them a short field to work on,” Owens said. “We didn’t do that.”
The Indians ran the ball 23 times in the second half compared to only three passes.
Braxton Franz and Jordan Passehl added the Indians’ two other second half scores on running touchdowns.
“In the second half our offensive line took over,” Casebier said. “I thought we started slow but finished well.”
Grand Junction’s offense didn’t move the ball until late in the fourth quarter when Jayke Brock was able to string some good gains together. Brock finished with 98 yards on 27 carries.
Grand Junction will most likely not make the Class 5A state playoffs but will still have a game next weekend.
The Indians finish their regular season against Durango next week. Montrose is looking to lock up a top-four seed in the 4A playoffs.
“We have won the league, this being our third year now,” Casebier said. “Nobody is talking about us, but we are earning it on the field.”