PARACHUTE - Mike Johnson made his message loud and clear.
As Grand Valley High School's football team played out the last few minutes of its 40-20 Class 2A Western Slope League victory against Gunnison this past Friday, the Cardinals coach saw something that did not please him.
It was a string of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on Grand Valley's defense, resulting in consecutive half-the-distance penalties that put the Cowboys on Grand Valley's 3-yard line.
What followed was a time out, then each of Grand Valley's defensive starters was sent to the bench in favor of junior varsity players. And while the younger players finished out the game, Johnson didn't hesitate to tell his team - during and after the game - what he thought about his player's actions.
"That kind of thing can't happen here," the 13th-year coach of the Cardinals said. "We've got some things to clean up."
Granted, there were plenty of other things that went right for Grand Valley (4-0 overall, 2-0 league play) against Gunnison (0-4, 0-2). Tanner Zimmerman rushed for three touchdowns and Tyler Scott threw for 163 yards and a TD, helping the Cardinals win for the seventh time in eight games since last season.
This Friday, Grand Valley will put that perfect record up against another unbeaten team in Bayfield (4-0, 2-0), a program that reached the 2A state title game a year ago. What's more, the Wolverines are coming off a 27-10 victory over Aspen last week.
Bayfield handed the Skiers their first loss of the season with the victory. As for Grand Valley, each of its first four opponents came into the match-up with a winless record.
Regardless, the Cardinals realize they have to clean up a few things prior to, and during, Friday night's home game. That includes how they conduct themselves.
"We can't be doing things like that," Scott said. "We're only hurting ourselves when we run our mouths like that, and we definitely can't do it against a team like Bayfield."
Bears have easy time with Panthers
Top-ranked Rifle (4-0, 2-0 Class 3A Western Slope League) amassed 628 yards of total offense against Montezuma-Cortez this past Friday on their way to a 62-6 victory.
The Bears, who play their homecoming game against winless Battle Mountain (0-4, 0-2) on Friday at Bears Stadium, got 521 rushing yards. Senior running back Ryan Moeller had 238 of those yards and four touchdown runs on 15 carries and was complimented well by Kellin Leigh, who had 183 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.
Quarterback Adam Rice finished 8-for-10 passing for 107 yards and a score. The second-quarter touchdown the Bears allowed was just the second time an opponent has reached the end zone and the first time it has happened in 10 quarters.