Warriors drop game after Marsh ejected
LAKEWOOD — The lessons keep coming. The key for the Central High School football team is to keep a positive attitude while learning them.
The Warriors incurred their fourth loss in as many games Friday, falling to Green Mountain 49-3 at Trailblazer Stadium in their second nonconference trip to the Front Range in three weeks.
This loss came at a price as head coach Shawn Marsh was sent to the bleachers on the fourth play of the game.
Officials forced two Central players to the sidelines for one play because they were wearing different-colored towels. Marsh then requested a timeout to rectify the situation, but he was told he couldn’t take it at that point. When he questioned why, he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and ejected.
Central’s offense, which had struggled in previous games to sustain a drive, moved the ball against the Rams but seemed to bog down at key times.
Central’s defense, meanwhile, held strong until the start of the second quarter, when a 32-yard punt return and a 20-yard run off a pitch set up a first-and-goal play. Chance Boyce took the handoff and ran off tackle for the score.
The Rams scored on their next series as well, set up by a 37-yard pass to Mitch Schafer, who finished with four catches for 80 yards.
Central tried to cut into a 14-3 deficit just before halftime, but a fumble with a minute remaining turned the tables, setting up a 23-yard pass over the middle to Sean Carlson to give Green Mountain a 21-3 halftime edge.
The key statistic in the first half was penalty yardage. The Warriors were flagged seven times for 60 yards, the Rams nine times for 84 yards.
Central’s thin ranks took an even bigger hit when starting running back Jacob Rubalcaba exited with a lower-leg injury in the first half, and several other players were relegated to the sidelines with various maladies. Eventually the deeper Rams wore down the Warriors in the second half.
Central senior Jake Sebesta, who was switched from quarterback to wide receiver the previous week, said the offense, which has yet to score more than one touchdown in any game, is close to making the breakthrough.
“It’s the little things that are killing us,” he said of untimely fumbles and interceptions (the Warriors had three turnovers). “We just panic a lot when we get in the red zone.”
The focus in practice the past couple of weeks had been on the defensive side, which showed with improved tackling from the Warriors’ loss two weeks ago at Longmont.
“The scoreboard doesn’t indicate how much we improved this week,” assistant coach Phil Johnston said.
Sebesta, who is playing soccer for the Warriors in addition to football this fall, said the team is trying to change its focus.
“It’s the mentality; it’s getting people to think we’re going to win,” he said.
Johnston said Central spent more time on the opposition’s side of the field than it had in its previous three games.
“The kids are playing hard,” he said.
The road doesn’t get any easier, though. The Warriors, who will miss Marsh for one more game because of the ejection, pending an appeal, are home next Saturday against Dakota Ridge.