No fair-weather fans

Fruita cheering section stays despite loss

Fruita Monument’s Zach Griggs breaks a tackle and picks up some extra yardage Friday night in the Wildcats’ 55-28 loss to Eaglecrest at Stocker Stadium. Griggs scored Fruita’s first touchdown, returning the opening kickoff 92 yards. Griggs added a touchdown catch in the loss.

Somehow, Fruita Monument put a sort of buffer on the end of its 55-28 loss to Eaglecrest on Friday at Stocker Stadium.

Down 55-14 in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats (1-3) not only scored two touchdowns during a running clock — one by running back Vince Grasso on a 40-yard pass from Jacob Lynch and another on a one-yard reception by Jordan Hightower — the Fruita fans, covering the tower-side seats, remained throughout. And they seemed to grow louder.

Some Eaglecrest players said they noticed.

“I thought it was crazy,” said Eaglecrest quarterback Adan Soto, who completed nine of 11 passes for 135 yards and three touchdowns. “This is a big stadium over here, and they filled up the stands, I thought that was pretty cool. It didn’t even matter what the scoreboard said, they kept cheering. That was pretty nice.”

Soto, in particular, took advantage of three Eaglecrest fumble recoveries, throwing two touchdown passes and running for a one-yard touchdown.

“We can’t turn the ball over,” Fruita coach Sean Mulvey said. “You can’t make mistakes like that and not hurt yourself. That team capitalized tonight. Every time we gave them the ball, they took it in and scored.”

On the opening play Zach Griggs had Fruita fans standing. Griggs took a kickoff to the left sideline and ran for a 92-yard touchdown. But on its next series, Fruita fumbled on an exchange from Lynch to Grasso. Eaglecrest (2-1) recovered.

“I thought we were really going to take advantage of that (kickoff return) and get the momentum going,” Griggs said. “We learned that you can’t just go out and play and win. That’s pretty cliche, but it’s the truth.”

Lynch finished with three touchdown passes, one with five seconds remaining in the second quarter to Griggs. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Griggs dove in the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown grab.

But Eaglecrest seemed to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and Fruita could not make up for lost fumbles in its own territory.

Eaglecrest was ahead 14-7 in the first quarter. After displaying prowess rushing the football with run-dominated drives that ended in touchdown runs, Soto went to the air and hit Cameron Grove for a 51-yard touchdown reception.

Late in the second quarter, Soto also targeted Aaric Witt in the corner of the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown pass.

“I trust my guys one-on-one with anybody,” Soto said. “It’s a great receiving corps. But it all started up front with the line, and they gave me time.”

But something relatively new is happening with Fruita: Its fans poured into Stocker Stadium and would not leave until the clock was loaded with zeros.

“That’s something we haven’t had here in a couple years,” Mulvey said. “The last couple years these fans have done a great job keeping the support. The cheerleaders, our spirit squad, our fans are really into it, and it was really nice to hear.”


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