Thanks to the legs of Phallen Salvati and Malakhi Espinosa, Palisade opened league play Friday night with a statement 28-17 victory over Battle Mountain in Edwards.
The game was a back-and-forth affair before the Bulldogs (4-2, 1-0 Class 3A Western Slope Conference) pulled away late in the fourth quarter. Battle Mountain receiver Tanner Roberts's 2-yard touchdown run opened the scoring in the first quarter. Then, with two minutes to go in the first half, Salvati put Palisade on the board with a 10-yard run.
Battle Mountain (1-5, 0-1) answered quickly and closed out the half with a field goal for a 10-7 lead.
The Huskies forced four turnovers, including returning a fumble for a touchdown after Espinosa had given the Bulldogs a 14-10 lead with a 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. After Thomas Rodney's 45-yard fumble return for a touchdown, Salvati scored from 10 yards out again for a 21-17 lead.
The Bulldogs’ defense forced a turnover on downs on Battle Mountain’s 33-yard-line, and Espinosa added his second touchdown of the game with a 24-yard run. Rhett Ward sealed the game for Palisade with a interception with less than 60 seconds remaining in the game.
“We’re fortunate to get a victory, four turnovers caused us some real problems. The young men played hard and overcame a lot of adversity,” head coach Joe Ramunno said. “We will work to get better next week.”
Fountain-Fort Carson 42, Fruita 28: Corben Rowell and Wyatt Sharpe both accounted for two touchdowns for the Wildcats (4-3, 1-1 4A Southern 2) but it wasn't enough to overcome the host Trojans (6-1, 2-0).
The Wildcats jumped to a 14-7 lead in the first quarter and added six more points in the second before the Trojans scored 21 before halftime.
Fruita evened things up at 28-28 in the third quarter before Fountain-Fort Carson pulled away late.
Rowell scored on a sneak, and then connected with Cole Jones for a long touchdown pass. Sharpe scored twice on the ground, which brings his season total to six, and Armony Trujillo added a two-point conversion.
Central 33, Monarch 17: The Warriors battled their way to a conference win over the Coyotes in Louisville.
The teams went back and forth with touchdowns to start the game. In the waning moments of the first half and Monarch up by two points, Justin Blanton's 11-yard rushing touchdown on a reverse gave Central a 19-14 lead.
In the third quarter, Central blocked a 30-yard field goal attempt that Blanton recovered and returned for a touchdown. Central was unable to convert the two-point conversion, but led 25-17.
In the fourth, Central iced the game with another rushing touchdown and a two-point conversion. Blanton finished with two rushing touchdowns and three overall and Devin Hickey and Santana Martinez both had rushing touchdowns.
Denver South 56, Grand Junction 14: The Tigers couldn’t over come three strong quarters by the Ravens in a conference game at Stocker Stadium.
Grand Junction (0-7, 0-2 4A Metro 2) fell in an early 21-0 hole in the first quarter. The Tigers scored in the second quarter, but Denver South (6-1, 2-0) scored two more touchdowns and led 35-7 at halftime. The Ravens rounded out their performance with 21 points in the third quarter and the Tigers scored in the fourth.
Addie Ritterbush had 14 digs, 12 kills, five aces, two solo blocks and one block assist to lead Palisade to a 25-15, 25-23, 25-13 victory over Steamboat Springs.
Ella Yanowich had nine kills, Lauren Hardin added eight kills, Kyra Birch had 12 digs and Ella Steele had 29 assists and four aces for the Bulldogs (13-3, 8-1 Class 4A Western Slope League).