Monte Vista quarterback Michael Sanchez (7) fakes a handoff to Pirate running back Mitch Vanderpool in the third quarter of Saturday's snowy Class 1A quarterfinal loss in Cedaredge.
Courier Photo by Eric R. Flores
Courier Sports Editor
CEDAREDGE—A blistery chill really slowed two strong offenses and made for a great defensive battle here at Cedaredge High School on Saturday afternoon. Ten combined turnovers did not help the Monte Vista Pirates’ effort as they were eliminated in the second round of the Class 1A playoffs as the Cedaredge Bruins got an 18-0 shutout.
The weather was clearly the story as the strong winds that blew from the south stopped the passing game for both teams and made the team going toward the north end zone have great field position. To make matters worse, as the second half commenced, snow started falling making the ball slippery.
Each team had five turnovers in the game, but the Bruins were able to capitalize on them because the first 12 points came on possessions following a turnover. The Pirates had two fumble recoveries and two interceptions in the first half before gathering another interception in the second half. The Bruins gathered two fumbles in the first half before two more fumble recoveries and an interception in the second half.
The Pirates, who averaged 342.1 rushing yards per game in their ten previous games, only amassed 173 total yards, 169 on the ground on 31 carries (5.45 ypc). The Bruins collected 323 yards of total offense, 247 on the ground and 76 through the air.
Senior running back Shadron Wenta led the way for the Pirates with 100 rushing yards on 13 attempts (7.7 ypc). Senior running back Hansel Garcia carried the ball eight times for 26 yards (3.25 ypc), junior quarterback Michael Sanchez carried the ball six times for 24 yards (4 ypc) and junior running back Mitch Vanderpool carried the ball four times for 19 yards (4.75 ypc). Garcia made the only catch for the Pirates for four yards meaning Sanchez only connected on 1-of-12 pass attempts (8 percent).
The Bruins were led by senior fullback Carter Wesser who carried the ball 22 times and made four three catches. He was responsible for 102 yards on the ground, 36 receiving yards and all three touchdowns. Junior running back Reid Gates carried the ball 14 times for 88 yards (6.3 ypc) while senior quarterback Dante Markley, who was 6-for-16 (38 percent) on pass attempts for 76 yards also accounted for 35 rushing yards on five attempts (7 ypc). Junior running back Peter Williamson got 20 yards on five carries (4 ypc).
The game started with a quick three-and-out by the Bruins before giving the ball to the Pirates at the 21 yard line. It appeared as if the Pirates were going to move the ball pretty easily as they moved the ball 24 yards on just three plays but the cold weather, coupled with a hard defensive hit on Garcia, forced the ball loose and the very first defensive take away of the game with nine minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The Bruins wasted time by capping off a 44-yard 9-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown by Wesser with 4:18 showing on the clock. The extra point kick was a grounder that didn’t even get off the ground and was no good.
The two teams traded three-and-out chances before another fumble by the Pirates gave the ball right back to the Bruins on the 27 yard line. Two plays later the ball popped loose and Pirate senior linebacker Austin Vance hopped on the loose ball for a turnover.
The Pirate offense could not move the ball and since they were approaching the south end zone, they decided not to go for a field goal attempt and instead went for it on fourth down. The running play went nowhere as the defensive linemen broke through and got the turnover on downs.
Both teams traded the ball twice before sophomore defensive back Daniel Borunda came up with an interception and return just out of the end zone to the 4-yard line.
Again the Pirates could not do anything with the ball and they were forced to punt into the strong winds. The kick was a good one as it bounced and downed at the 50-yardline.
Confusion and controversy was the focus of the final drive of the half. Several fans and even the Pirate sideline thought that the Bruins were given an additional down. The very first play of the drive was a 9-and-a-half-yard catch to keep the clock running making it second down and half-a-yard to go. Before the officials could spot the ball as ready to play the Bruins rushed to the line of scrimmage and attempted to spike the ball forcing the officials to call for the clock be stopped to spot again with it still remaining second down. The Bruins did huddle and when the officials marked the ball as ready to play, the clock started running catching the Cedaredge players by surprise. They quickly rushed to the line and spiked the ball with 6.3 seconds remaining and it being third down. The third down play was an incomplete pass making it fourth down with 1.4 seconds remaining.
The coaches decided that they had nothing to lose and they went for a touchdown throw as time expired. As the play went on, Pirate senior defensive back Jeff Cooper cut in front of the wobbly pass for an interception to end the half.
After two punts to open the second half, the snow forced another fumble, this time 13 yards away from a touchdown. Wasser crashed into the end zone three plays later with a 1-yard touchdown. After a failed 2-point conversion attempt, the score was 12-0 with 3:11 remaining in the third quarter.
It looked like the momentum would stick with Cedaredge because on the kick return, the ball popped loose and was recovered at the 24-yard line. They drove down to the 9-yard line with the help of a defensive pass interference penalty. They then went in reverse with a holding penalty to set up an interception by Cooper in the end zone for a touchdown. Four plays later the ball was back in the Bruin’s possession as they came up with an interception of their own.
With the clock winding down and the Pirates punting to keep themselves in the game, their defense did not rise to the occasion because 45-yards and 10 plays later, Wasser broke through for a 3-yard touchdown with 1:59 remaining.
The Pirates, who entered as the sixth seed, finished the 2012 campaign with a 9-2 record, all this coming after their original head coach resigned less than a three days before their season opener.