Photo by Randy Sunderland The cold weather and hard hitting defenses made for a lot of turnovers during the 1A playoff game between Cedaredge and Monte Vista. The Bruins were able to take advantage of a couple of these turnovers to mount short scoring drives in their 18-0 victory.For two teams that sport season averages of nearly 40 points per game, last week's 1A quarterfinal football game between Monte Vista and Cedaredge must have seemed boring. The host Cedaredge Bruins, a team that last appeared in the state football playoffs for a title game in 1993, are hoping to reach that pinnacle in 2012 after running past the Pirates 18-0 last Saturday in Cedaredge.
That last state appearance for Cedaredge ended in a 26-8 loss to Rye. Brandon Milholland's team, and the rest of the Class 1A contenders, must now feel they have a legimate shot at the state title following last week's 47-26 win for Hotchkiss over Limon's Badgers.
The Badgers have won 17 state titles and are the state's winningest state title football team. Hotchkiss' victory allows the four remaining teams in the hunt for a state 1A title to think they just might be this year's winner.
Cedaredge doesn't have a storied history of winning state football championships. What the Bruins do have is a talented and a totally dedicated group of athletes who believe they are as good as anyone else that is left in the race.
Other than Cedaredge and Hotchkiss, who play this Saturday in Hotchkiss, the remaining combatants in the race are Buena Vista (number one) and number four Wray.
Hotchkiss knows how tough Buena Vista is after their 18-15 loss to the Demons on Sept. 7. And the Bulldogs have seen the determination and athleticism of the Bruins who dealt Hotchkiss its second loss of the season (21-20) on Sept. 28.
Cedaredge's lone loss of the season came on opening day against 3A Eagle Valley, who won its first-round playoff game against Frederick on Saturday.
This Saturday's rematch between the Bulldogs and Bruins will be a marquis matchup between the state's number three team (Cedaredge) and the number 10 contender (Hotchkiss).
Last week's playoff game between Monte Vista and Cedaredge was a defensive gem with just three touchdowns being scored. The Bruins scored once in each of the first, third and fourth quarters. In all cases, the extra point try for each touchdown failed.
The Bruins opening drive of the game stalled around their own 40, and after a short punt Monte Vista started its first possession of the game. After a short gain on its first play, Cedaredge lineback Beau Hebert knocked the ball out of the hands of Monte Vista's Hansel Garcia. Reid Gates fell on the ball, setting up the Bruins at the 42 for what would be their first scoring drive of the day.
The weather played a big role in the game, the cold and wind turning it into a defensive struggle with turnovers playing a big role. Hard hitting defenses and cold hands resulted in nine fumbles in the game. Monte Vista gave up the ball five times on fumbles and once on an interception, and it was never able to gain any momentum during the game.
It was the Bruins who took advantage of fumbles to shorten the field and mount scoring drives in the first and third quarters. The third scoring drive for the Bruins was perhaps their most impressive. Mid-way through the fourth quarter they took over on their own 45 and methodically marched the ball into the end zone. Quarterback Dante Markley milked the clock on each down, wating for the referee to start his five-second countdown before taking the snap. The offensive line opened holes for the running game, and with just under two minutes left in the game Carter Wasser dove into the end zone for his — and the Bruin's — third touchdown of the game.
Wasser carried the football 24 times for 91 yards. The senior fullback also caught three Dante Markley passes for 36 yards.
Markley was six of 18 for 83 yards in the game and threw two interceptions.
Reid Gates added solid support on offense with his 90 yards of rushing on 16 carries. Markley finished with 38 yards on six rushes and Peter Williamson ran for 15 yards on four carries.
Defensively, Gates, Dustin Stracener, Alexander Crowley, Corey Reynolds and Xander Camp all recovered Pirate fumbles.
The Bruins had trouble hanging onto the ball as well, but three of the four Cedaredge fumbles were recovered by the Bruins.
Beau Hebert had an interception and Austin Gartman recorded seven tackles to lead the defense.
Stracener had five tackles while Hebert and Markley had four tackles each.
Hotchkiss and Cedaredge are scheduled to play their semifinal-round game this Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. in Hotchkiss.