Wildcats pile up yards, but can’t outscore No. 5 Bear Creek
The numbers looked good.
The Fruita Monument High School football team moved the ball effectively Friday against perennial Jefferson County Conference power Bear Creek. The Wildcats didn’t turn the ball over.
The fifth-ranked Bears, were a little more effective in the red zone, however. That proved crucial.
Bear Creek quarterback Zach Thenell tossed four touchdown passes and Lukas Lockett ran for two more as the Bears (1-1) defeated the Wildcats 40-13 at Stocker Stadium.
The new pass-happy Fruita Monument offense looked effective, especially in the first half. The Wildcats (1-1) had thrown for 100 yards with only 10 minutes gone and had 183 total yards in the first half.
The problem was they couldn’t score a touchdown, settling for two second-quarter field goals.
“We kept them out of the end zone,” Bear Creek head coach Tom Thenell said. “That was the key to the game.”
That was part of it. The other part was Zach Thenell, the coach’s son. The Bears’ senior quarterback methodically moved his team down the field for a score on its first series, rolling left and finding Armoni Brewington open in the back of the end zone from 25 yards out.
He did the same thing on Bear Creek’s third series, hooking up with Brewington on a 21-yard fade pattern. Those were Brewington’s only two catches in the first half, but he wasn’t complaining.
“I love to score,” he said, not minding that Thenell spread the wealth by connecting with three other receivers.
Tom Thenell said he knew some halftime adjustments defensively would improve his team’s chances.
“The thing you never do with that (A-11) offense is control the line of scrimmage,” Thenell said.
The Wildcats gained only 23 of their 217 total yards in the second half as the Bears clamped down defensively.
Still, Wildcats coach Bill Moore was encouraged by his team’s performance against a good Bear Creek team.
“I think we’re doing the right thing,” he said of changes made in both the offensive and defensive strategy in the offseason. “It gives us a chance to compete at the (Class) 5A level.”
In addition to moving the ball effectively, the Wildcats had no turnovers against the Bears, something that plagued them last week in their victory over Montbello.
“Even when (Bear Creek) knew what we were doing we were still able to move the ball,” he said.
Moore sees it as a week-by-week process for his team.
“We’ve got to keep learning, growing,” he said.
Sophomore quarterback Zach Thorpe was sharp with his passing, completing 23 of 31 passes.
Moore said playing against a top-10 team was a good lesson for his team.
“You learn from these experiences,” he said. “You don’t get down.”
The problem with playing top-flight teams is the physical nature of the game. The Wildcats incurred a couple of injuries that could affect their lineup next Friday against Rangeview in Aurora.
“We’re on the right track,” Moore said. “We’ve (just) got to get healthy.”