Only one Delta County football team in the playoff bracket survived to continue their run for the elusive state title. KVNF’s Tamie Meck has this report.
Even without their starting quarterback, the Cedaredge Bruins advanced to the 1A state championships after defeating Hotchkiss Saturday, 16-12. Dante Markley, a dual-threat quarterback, suffered a minor concussion a week earlier against Monte Vista. Backup quarterback Trent Walker, a six-foot-five junior running back, stepped in to play a nearly flawless game. Even though Walker had only thrown six passes this season, head coach Brandon Milholland says the only adjustments the Bruins made were to take advantage of Walker's height.
We kind of stuck with what we do. We did put in a 5-receiver set that we ran a few plays with, because Trent, he can throw the heck out of it...... Just a total team effort, offensively, defensively.
Cedaredge defeated the Bulldogs by a point in league play, and knew they were facing one of the toughest teams in the state.
All these young men just knew they had to step up, and we knew that we had to play our best to beat Hotchkiss.
Walker connected on 9 of 18 passes for 88 yards and two, two-point conversions, but gave credit to his teammates for the win, and for making his job easy.
Everybody did a great job, but I think the line is what won this game for us. They came together and they dominated today.
Hotchkiss suffered a big blow when senior Conner Beard was sidelined with a dislocated shoulder. Beard is the team's leading receiver and a big motivator on the team. Bulldog coach Zac Lemon says the injury was more than a loss of a good player.
It's just an, an emotional letdown. It takes a while to try to bounce back from something like that, and I thought we did a pretty good job... but it was still a major hit.
Carter Wasser ran for two touchdowns for the Bruins, and Walker connected with Cade Wasser on both two point conversions. Bulldog quarterback Josh Hardin scored late in the first half and Jacobe Galley put up another 6 points for the Bulldogs late in the third. But on both scores the Bruins were able to hold Hotchkiss on the two point conversion attempts. Cedaredge recovered a fumble with four minutes remaining in the game, and maintained control to run out the clock.
Those turnovers, including one on the game-opening kickoff, also hurt their game, says Lemon.
We had good field position and a chance to punch it in and we had a couple key turnovers. Defense played great. Did a little bend but don't break, never gave up a big play, really. They were just able to move the ball with their physical play and get just what they needed.
This is the first time since 1992 that Cedaredge has earned a shot at the state title. They travel to Buena Vista to face the undefeated Demons this Saturday at 1. Milholland hopes to win a championship both for the team and for the Western Slope. But win or lose, he's proud of his team.
This is sweet, this is awesome. We're going to the state championship. But these young men, their attitudes, their character, that speaks highly... That to me is more important than, than what we've accomplished.
The Delta Panthers also saw their run for a state title dashed in a second-round 35-24 loss to fifth-ranked Pueblo East. The Panthers put up a good fight but couldn't overcome a 28-10 halftime score. Quarterback Mitch Whiteside threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns, and connected with Ryan Whiteside and Chris Black on touchdown passes. Place kicker Alex Quintero was two for two in extra points and kicked a first-quarter 30-yard field goal. Under coach Ben Johnson, Delta ends the season with an 8-4 record.