Coal Ridge Titans dominate second half in 57-26 win over Olathe Pirates
In a battle between two quality football teams, the Coal Ridge Titans managed to cruise by the visiting Olathe Pirates 57-26 under the Friday night lights at Coal Ridge High School.
Neither team wasted much time getting the scoring started as Olathe running back Cesar Suarez got the ball on the second play from scrimmage and took off on a 55-yard jaunt down to the Coal Ridge 2-yard line. Suarez cleaned things up on the very next play by plunging into the end zone to give the Pirates a 6-0 advantage with less than a minute gone in the game. Titan senior Jacx Power blocked the Olathe PAT attempt.
Coal Ridge then put to work its quick-strike capabilities as Power showed his abilities on the offensive end of things by rushing for a 30-yard gain deep into Pirate territory. Junior running back Jan Hernandez then took a pitch from quarterback Oscar Salazar and sprinted 15 yards to give the Titans an answering touchdown to Olathe’s initial score. Another blocked PAT resulted in a deadlock at 6-6.
The defenses on both sides then woke up a bit, but not for long.
Coal Ridge began its second scoring march on its own 40-yard line. A 20-yard run by Power and a critical fourth-down conversion deep in Olathe real estate helped pave the way for a 5-yard score by Hernandez to put the Titans back on top. The PAT this time by Salazar was good to make the count 13-6.
It took the Pirates just a little over a minute to answer the Titan touchdown, as running back Elias Ramirez bolted 44 yards down the right sideline to make things interesting once again. Anthony Garcia booted the PAT to make it 13-all.
Not to be outdone, Coal Ridge took to the offensive once again as senior Brandon Herrera tossed a nice option pass to Hernandez for a long gain down to the Olathe 28-yard line.
Power had more strong runs, punishing the Olathe defensive front time and again. Senior running back Michael Frederickson took the ball the final 9 yards into the south end zone as Coal Ridge jumped back on top 20-13 in the seesaw affair.
When Coal Ridge put back-to-back scores on the board with a 35-yard Herrera touchdown run around the left end, it looked as though the Titans might decide to run away and hide at 27-13.
The Pirates would have none of it, though, as they started to try out the airways after spending most of the first half rushing the ball.
Senior quarterback Dillon Nelson, following a couple of nice completions, found Ramirez open in the middle of the end zone to bring Olathe back to a 27-20 deficit as the first half ended.
The first minute of the second half proved to be the Pirates’ undoing, as Power took the ball down the left sideline 53 yards to break things open at 34-20.
Herrera then recovered the ball for the Titans on the ensuing kickoff as Olathe failed to pounce on the ball that went just 20 yards in the air. The Pirate miscue led to a 16-yard field goal by Salazar that gave the Titans a 37-20 lead at the 9:25 mark of the third quarter.
Anchored by junior linebacker Michael Taylor, the Coal Ridge defense began to put the clamps on the Pirates as the game began to slip away from the visitors.
In the late going, Power added to his impressive evening with a 51-yard touchdown burst, which was followed by a 2-yard score from Frederickson to help put the finishing touches on the evening for the Titans.
Coal Ridge (3-1) will be at home once again next Friday when they will host the Aspen Skiers in a 2A Western Slope League contest. Olathe (2-2) will also be on the home turf next week, as the Grand Valley Cardinals will be paying a visit to the Pirates.
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Newly hired Rifle Police Officer Kalob Foreman refers to the feeling as getting “Monday-morning quarterbacked to death.”