Warriors learn from tough loss to Lobos
Central knew it was facing a big challenge last week against Rocky Mountain.
The Warriors’ plan was to stop the Lobos’ running attack, which ended up backfiring.
Although Central (2-2) held Rocky Mountain to 57 yards rushing on 22 attempts, quarterback Bryan Peters had a big day passing (247 yards) in the Warriors’ 29-6 loss.
“One of our goals was to stop the run and maybe we focused on that too much because we didn’t cover the pass well,” Central coach Vern McGee said. “But we learned from it and did a better job in the second half.”
Rocky Mountain scored nine points in the second half and held Central to a fourth-quarter touchdown when Holden Reed connected with Nolan Curtis on a 64 yard pass.
The Warriors, who scored 38 points the previous week, didn’t see much of a drop in their offensive numbers, gaining 284 yards and earning 16 first downs but had trouble finding the end zone.
“Offensively we moved the ball and had about as many yards in that game as we did when we scored 38,” McGee said. “Field position played a factor and it shows stats can sometimes be deceiving.”
Central enters Southwestern Conference play at 8 p.m. on Friday against Fruita Monument.
“They are 3-1 and a good football team,” McGee said. “You are excited any time you have an in-town game.”
Things at Palisade are running like clockwork.
The Bulldogs are 5-0 and dominating games on the ground.
Last week, Palisade racked up 360 yards rushing on 52 carries in a 42-14 win at Moffat County.
Leading the way have been junior Jesse Brannon and senior Travis Fehlman. Brannon rushed for 171 yards against Moffat and Fehlman scored two touchdowns.
After a week off from carrying the football because of a broken hand, fullback Aaron Wagler got back into the action rushing for two touchdowns.
But now the stakes rise.
After taking care of its first three Western Slope Conference opponents with relative ease, defeating Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley and Moffat County by a combined 120-28, the Bulldogs have their toughest challenge of the year against Steamboat Springs.
The Sailors are ranked fourth by the Rocky Mountain News and have rolled to a 4-0 including a 35-14 win over Eagle Valley.
“They have good talent and better speed than we have seen,” Arledge said. “They expect to win, have a good coach, and they will be ready.”
Thursday’s game at Stocker Stadium begins at 7 p.m.
By now, the Wildcats have come down from their emotional high after Friday’s 18-14 fourth-quarter win over Grand Junction.
Fruita quarterback Brett Nankervis engineered a nine-play drive, covering 78 yards in 1:37. On 4th-and-10, Nankervis escaped the Tigers’ rush and connected with Scott Miller on a 41-yard reception
for the go-ahead touchdown.
The Wildcats’ sideline exploded in celebration after the play, which Fruita coach Bill Moore called hoping to gain enough yardage for kicker Aaron Reiger to kick the go-ahead field goal.
“I told them in the huddle that we have to get to the 20 to kick a field goal,” Moore said. “Luckily Brett was able to scramble around a bit to find Scott. Everyone was on the right and Scott broke left and he was clear the rest of the way.”
This week, the Wildcats take on another cross-town rival, Central. Moore is guarding against the ’Cats being too excited for another rivalry game.
“I told them (after the Grand Junction game) that this was a big win and they have two days to enjoy it,” Moore said. “When Monday comes, you have to put it behind you and get ready for the next one, so we will drive that home pretty good.”
Grand Junction was 14 seconds away from its first win this season against Fruita.
The Tigers struggled offensively in their first three games, scoring a total of 17 points.
Against the Wildcats, the Tigers seemed to turn the corner.
Grand Junction gained 360 yards on offense. Jayke Brock established a running game for the Tigers running for 144 yards and freshman quarterback Sean Rubalcaba had a breakout game, throwing for 123 yards on 8-of-16 passing.
Brock’s success on the ground allowed the Tigers to open up the offense and Rubalcaba completed two lengthy passes to wide receiver Ashur Verna.
“We were able to get them a little off-balance and they were afraid of Verna, so we did a good job offensively,” Grand Junction coach Robbie Owens said. “We haven’t played like a crud so we finally showed that we can play football and we can go from here.”
The Tigers host Class 4A Skyline (1-3) at 4 p.m. on Friday.
“The Fruita game was a tough one but they understand that there is a big chunk of our season left, so they have to regroup,” Owens said.