Roaring Fork rolls past visiting Cardinals, 30-7
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE, Colorado – No play better exemplified the spirit of the evening.
On a frigid senior night at Roaring Fork’s home football field, Trae Moxley – all 6-foot-4 and 239 pounds of him – busted through the line and got his mitts on a Grand Valley punt.
The ball shot backward toward the end zone, where Jake Strack-Loertscher scooped it up and, maybe a step later, scored a touchdown.
It was a Moxley, a sophomore, setting Strack-Loertscher, a senior, up with a TD. And that’s just the way it should be on the night the Rams’ seven seniors were honored for their contributions to the program.
Strack-Loertscher’s score was one of two defensive TDs on the night and helped Roaring Fork to a 30-7 win over the Cardinals on Friday night.
“This was a very good game for our defense,” said Moxley, a nose tackle who also had a 20-yard interception return for a TD. “Everybody was playing hard. We had Luke [Leone] getting a sack, Jake stopping them for a big loss. Everybody did their job. Definitely, the defense won the game.”
Strack-Loertscher, who lines up at either defensive end or linebacker depending on the scheme, stuffed Grand Valley ball carriers well behind the line of scrimmage numerous times as the Cardinals mustered only 170 yards of offense and turned the ball over three times.
“You know, they did a nice job against us,” Grand Valley head coach Mike Johnson said. “They’re physical. That Moxley kid in the middle certainly made things difficult to run some of the stuff we’d like to. They beat us up. Numerous kids were banged up out there. We ended up with three offensive starters on the sideline.”
Among the injured was running back Caleb Lenard, who suffered a rib injury in the second quarter and never returned.
“They think he either broke it or fractured it,” Johnson said. “There’s possibly some spleen stuff as well.”
Roaring Fork put the night’s first points on the board with 3 minutes, 1 second left in the first quarter, getting a 33-yard field goal from left-footed kicker Misael Farrias. The Rams had to kick after a 15-play, 49-yard drive stalled out at the Grand Valley 16.
With 8:54 left in the second quarter, Moxley snagged a Jerrod Busch pass and rumbled 20 yards for a score to make it 10-0.
Grand Valley immediately responded, scoring its only points of the game on a penalty-aided 80-yard drive. With 3:11 left before halftime, Busch found Emilio Ruelas on a screen pass for an 8-yard TD. Thirty yards of the drive were gained via penalties.
The Rams added to the lead with Strack-Loertscher’s blocked punt recovery for a TD at the 9:41 mark in the third quarter.
“I was kind of surprised when I got through the line,” Moxley said. “I put my hands up and hoped for the best, and the best happened.”
Moxley made it 24-7 at the 8:35 mark in the fourth by hauling in a 14-yard TD pass from quarterback Clay Gross.
Gross ran in a 3-yard keeper with 3:20 left to round out the final count.
Farrias finished with a game-high 100 yards on the ground, bulldozing his way to that total on 17 carries.
Tanner Zimmerman rushed for 38 yards on 10 carries to lead Grand Valley, which also got 27 yards on seven carries from Omar Melendrez.
On defense, Melendrez had a pair of interceptions for the Cardinals, who dropped to 3-6 overall and to 1-5 in the 2A Western Slope League. Vic Castaneda had a pick as well.
Roaring Fork improved to 3-6 overall and to 2-4 in the league with Friday’s win.
“You know, it all started in practice,” Strack-Loertscher said. “You’ve got to build yourself up. On Thursday is really when we stepped it up and there’s a lot of energy and it shows.”
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