Grand Valley rolls over Roaring Fork Rams, 41-0 | PostIndependent.com

Grand Valley rolls over Roaring Fork Rams, 41-0

Mike Vidakovich
sports@postindependent.com

On the road for the third week in a row to start the season, the Grand Valley Cardinals football team came up with a big 41-0 win over the Roaring Fork Rams in Carbondale on a crisp, fall Friday evening.

Grand Valley's game plan from the get-go was to utilize standout junior running back Jon Pena on the offensive end and play stingy defense at the line of scrimmage to bottle up the Roaring Fork rushing attack.

"We wanted to establish the run," said Grand Valley Head Coach Tim Lenard. "We wanted to work on that tonight and get better at running the ball."

Pena certainly did his part, rushing for 112 first-half yards on 15 carries, including the game's first score on a 21-yard burst around the left end to put the visitors up 6-0 at the 3:34 mark of the first quarter. The 2-point conversion attempt failed.

With junior Levi Nolan gaining yardage in short chunks up the middle to help Pena with the running game, Grand Valley scored its next touchdown of the evening in unusual fashion after stopping Roaring Fork on fourth down at the Rams 26-yard line. An agent of fortune, Pena picked up a fumble by Cardinals quarterback Sammy Gomez in the backfield and outsprinted the Ram defense 10 yards to the north end zone for the score. The 2-point pass from Gomez to Nolan connected, and the Cardinals led 14-0 with 11:27 left until halftime.

Nolan got into the act on the defensive end, as well, when he blocked a Roaring Fork punt at the 18-yard line to help set up the third Grand Valley touchdown on the night. Senior Jeff Holbrook, normally used at quarterback for the Cardinals, took a handoff from Gomez and scored on a 6-yard run through the left side of the line. The PAT kick by Laytham Magana was good, and the scoreboard read 21-0 in favor of Grand Valley.

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Roaring Fork running back Ronnie Petatan had some nice gains in the first half of play, but the Rams weren't able to establish any consistent drives against a tough Cardinals front line.

Grand Valley would tack on two more scores before the first half ended, as senior Jason Schubert rambled untouched 44 yards on a sweep play to the left side to make the score 28-0. Pena then scored his second rushing touchdown of the night from a couple yards out as the halftime horn sounded to give the Cardinals a commanding 35-0 lead.

The running clock mercy rule started with 9:35 to go in the third quarter when Holbrook took a pitch from Gomez and darted 47 yards to the end zone to wrap up things in the scoring column for the night.

Three tough losses have now greeted the Rams to start the season, but Roaring Fork Head Coach Matt Phelan — like his players — isn't about to throw in the towel.

"There's no quit in these kids. They won't ever give up," said Phelan. "We're a little short on experience right now, but we'll keep working."

Grand Valley (2-1) will make its long-awaited home debut next Friday night when they will host the 2A Aspen Skiers.

"We're glad to be playing at home next week after three straight weeks on the road," said Lenard. "We face a very good Aspen team and we'll have to prepare well."

For the Rams (0-3), things don't get any easier as they will take to the road on Friday for a visit to the state-ranked 1A Paonia Eagles.

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