Wildcats get shut out at home
It seemed on its first offensive drive that the Fruita Monument High School football team was going to move the ball at will against Poudre in Saturday’s nonconference regular-season finale for both teams.
Alas, the Impalas tightened up the reins to thwart the Wildcats’ drive.
They continued to tug those reins through the remaining 46 minutes.
Poudre held Fruita Monument to 84 yards total offense in defeating the Wildcats 28-0 at Stocker Stadium.
“I think we weren’t able to adjust,” Wildcats head coach Bill Moore said. “We tried everything today.”
Fruita Monument tried the veer offense; it tried the Power I; it tried passing out of the shotgun.
Nothing worked against a roster that featured eight defensive linemen weighing more than 200 pounds.
Fruita Monument took the opening kickoff. On its first play from scrimmage, fullback Sean Tillman reeled off a 26-yard run on a quick opener straight up the middle.
At that point, the Impala defense stiffened. It was downright rigid the rest of the game.
The Wildcats gained only 11 more yards on the ground.
Tailback Mike Campbell, Fruita Monument’s leading ball carrier who had 238 yards last week against Montrose, was held to 7 yards on 10 carries. He caught three passes out of the backfield that netted only 4 yards.
“Our guards couldn’t handle their linebackers,” Moore said.
The Impalas (7-2) were coming off their first two losses of the season, to Rocky Mountain and Legacy, both ranked in the top six in last week’s RockyPreps Class 5A poll. They were hoping to get back on the winning track and gain some momentum heading into the playoffs.
“That was the biggest thing for us. Nonconference or not, it was important for us to get off on the right foot,” Impalas tailback Josh Morton said.
His foot, or feet, played a large role in their ability to do so. Poudre had 45 rushing attempts; Morton had 32 of those.
“It’s getting to be that way,” he said of doing the yeoman’s share of the ground work for the Impalas.
In last week’s 21-14 loss to Legacy, Morton carried the ball 44 times.
“Toward the end of the season we’re having to play harder (and) stronger,” he said.
The Wildcats held Poudre to 246 yards total offense, but 187 came from Morton on the ground.
“I thought the defense played well enough for us to be in the game if the offense could’ve moved the ball,” Moore said.
Fruita Monument quarterback Brett Nankervis was accurate when he had time to throw, but his seven completions went for only 47 yards.
On the plus side for the Wildcats, they didn’t have a turnover.
The Wildcats join the remainder of the Class 5A teams in learning today their fate in the state playoffs.
Fruita Monument (4-5) will qualify for the 32-team championship bracket but will be on the road in the first round.