Wildcats fumble away win with costly miscues
In a span of only 15 seconds, the fortunes of the Fruita Monument High School football team changed dramatically on Thursday.
The Wildcats had a chance to pull to within 14-7 of visiting Douglas County early in the second quarter.
Boom, boom. Within two plays, the entire momentum was back in the Huskies’ hands.
Douglas County used that impetus to pull away for a 38-6 victory at Stocker Stadium.
“I’m just disappointed,” Fruita Monument coach Bill Moore said, the evidence showing on his face and in his voice.
The Huskies (4-3) were giving up chunks of yards to the Wildcats’ veer offense. The problem for Fruita was that it couldn’t get the ball the end zone.
That was never more evident than with just four minutes gone in the second quarter.
After Douglas County had taken a 14-0 lead of Jose Astorga’s 76-yard burst off tackle for a score, the Wildcats mounted what appeared to be their first scoring drive.
They moved from their own 20 to the Huskies’ 5 yard line in four plays, quarterback Brett Nankervis setting up a first and goal with a 55-yard run.
On second and goal from the 3, the Wildcats fumbled; Douglas County recovered at its own 1.
On the next play, Huskies quarterback Eddie Williams, with all sorts of time in the end zone, sailed a pass down the right sideline. Receiver Conlin White latched onto it and raced the entire length of the field for the score.
“We had game-planned for their corners to play back and they pressed,” Williams said.
“We thought we could run (a) hitch (route) on them all week,” he said. “When you’re that far backed up, they don’t expect (the big play).”
Fruita Monument, which gained 224 yards on the ground, again moved the ball well and had another first-and-goal opportunity at the Douglas County 9 just before the half but fumbled again, the Huskies recovering at the 3.
“We were all over the field and I’m just disappointed we couldn’t show,” Moore said. “That’s big-time offensive football from Fruita Monument.
The Wildcats emphasized the counter trap for much of the night.
“We’ve had that in our system. We just added some motion to it. We had to progress to get to this point (with it),” Moore said.
The Wildcats struggled to stop Astorga, who finished with 210 yards on 24 carries.
Williams was particularly effective rolling out. He completed 12 of 16 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns.
“Our kids have got to show up and not cower down,” Moore said. “They’ve got to realize we can play with these (Class) 5A teams.”
Looking at the scoreboard, Moore lamented, “They’re not 38-6 better than us.”
The Wildcats (4-3) close out the Southwestern Conference portion of their schedule next Friday at home against Montrose.