Warriors battle but fall short

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Central’s Dusty Sanchez reaches the football across the goal line Saturday to score in the Warriors’ 28-21 loss to Longmont at Stocker Stadium. Sanchez ran for 57 yards and scored a touchdown.

Before Saturday’s nonconference game against Central High School, Longmont coach Doug Johnson told his team he had prayed they would have a tough, hard-fought game in order to gain some experience.

He got all of that and more.

Trojan quarterback Forrest Wetterstrom reeled off a spectacular fourth-quarter scoring run and a minute later picked off a pass to seal a 28-21 victory for Longmont at a warm and sunny Stocker Stadium. 

“I won’t be praying for that anymore,” Johnson said as the Trojans moved to 1-1 on the year. “We’re young, and we made some silly mistakes, but we battled with them.”

It was a battle all the way, one that Central (0-2) could have and maybe even should have won.

“We played well enough on defense to win,” Warriors coach Vern McGee said. “We played a lot better (Saturday) than we did last week (a 41-6 loss to Palisade). We definitely took a step in the right direction. We came out with some confidence, but we still need a win.”

That first victory was there for the taking late in the game, even though at one point in the first half things weren’t looking so good.

Down 15 points in the second quarter, the Warriors fought back to tie the game at 21-21, and then with only three minutes remaining in the game, they had a chance to take the lead. But Jake Sebesta’s 39-yard field goal attempt came up short.

Two plays later, Wetterstrom dropped back to pass, was flushed out of the pocket and then weaved his way in and out of traffic and in and out of tackles for a 63-yard TD run and a seven-point lead. Central quickly moved into Trojan territory, but Wetterstrom’s second interception of the game sealed the win.

“That might have been the best run I’ve ever seen,” Johnson said. “(Central) wore him out, but he hung in there.”

Wetterstrom, who was knocked out of the game on two occasions, ended the day completing 5 of 9 passes for 31 yards but rushed for 100 yards on nine carries. The senior, who did not play last week, put the Trojans up 15-0 midway through the second quarter by returning an interception 79 yards for the game’s first score and then leading Longmont on a 14-play, 64-yard drive that saw Drake Greeott score from 16 yards out.

But Central responded by going 80 yards on 14 plays, capped by a one-yard run by Noah Sanchez. Down 21-7 in the third, Central once again pulled close when Dusty Sanchez scored on a five-yard run. The Warriors tied the game late in the third when Josh Weller hauled in a 36-yard scoring strike from Mike Price.

The Price-to-Weller combo, something McGee wasn’t really trying to work, ended up stealing the show for Central. Price, who completed 16 of 27 passes for 222 yards, found Weller 10 times for 153 yards and a touchdown. Dusty Sanchez ended the day with 57 tough yards on 19 carries.

“That’s not who we want to be,” McGee said. “Out of necessity, we had to throw it. We want to run it.”

Down a number of players because of injury, the Warriors still racked up 353 yards of total offense but turned the ball over three times. Central held Longmont to 284 yards of offense, 232 of that coming on the ground.

Penalties were a problem for both teams. Longmont was flagged 14 times for 115 yards, and Central was whistled nine times for 80 yards.

The Warriors hit the road Saturday for an 11:30 a.m. kickoff against D’Evelyn at Trailblazer Stadium in Denver.


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