Cardinals roll past visiting Titans |

Cardinals roll past visiting Titans

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler Post Independent

PARACHUTE, Colorado ” Interim Grand Valley head coach Jeremy Tanner admitted that going for two with a 38-point lead wasn’t the easiest of decisions to make.

But Tanner knew that if he could stretch his team’s lead to 40 points, it would kick into effect a running clock.

And that would mean not only a speedier end to the Cardinals’ game with visiting Coal Ridge, but a reduced chance of losing any players to injury.

So the coach called a play to William Waugh, who found his way into the end zone for a 2-point conversion midway through the quarter, for the final points of a 47-7 win over the Titans on Friday.

“That was a hard decision,” said Tanner, filling in for regular head coach Mike Johnson, who’s out while recovering from an appendectomy-related infection. “I didn’t want them to think we were being jerks. The quicker the game gets over, the quicker we can end it without any injuries.”

Considering the Cardinals lost starting center Cole Kraft to a knee injury in warm-ups, it’s no wonder they wanted the game over as quickly as possible.

Besides, Tanner’s players had already in a good night’s work.

Grand Valley, ranked No. 7 in the state in Class 2A by RockyPreps and now 7-1 overall and 5-0 in the Western Slope League, wasted little time running up the score in its homecoming game. The Cardinals built a 33-0 halftime lead and never looked back.

With the bloated score came big numbers from every angle.

Colton Cowan ran for a big chunk of the Cardinals’ 344 rushing yards with a game-high 163 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries. He also caught two passes for 24 yards and a TD.

Waugh added 64 ground yards and a TD on seven carries, Eric Glaze 47 yards on six carries and Jared Tonder 36 yards.

Quarterback Ryan Gallegos ended the night 5-of-9 passing for 52 yards and two TDs, one to Waugh and the other to Cowan.

The Cardinal defense got in on the stat party as well, intercepting Coal Ridge five times on the night. Cowan picked off two passes. Tyler Radel, Landon Paskett and Mike Davini also had interceptions.

Six first-half possessions yielded five Grand Valley TDs as the Cardinals rolled toward a rout from the outset.

After forcing a Coal Ridge punt on the game’s first possession, Grand Valley went to work.

Cowan rushed five times for 47 yards before hauling in a Gallegos pass in the right flat and rumbling in for a score from 20 yards out to cap an eight-play, 88-yard opening march.

Cowan, a two-way player like a number of his teammates, set up the Cardinals’ second score with an interception deep in Titan territory that led to a three-play, 9-yard drive finished off by Gallegos, who sprinted into the end zone from 2 yards out.

Grand Valley found the goal line once more in the opening quarter when Cowan scampered in from 37 yards out that, after a failed extra point, put the Cardinals up 20-0.

Two more TDs followed in the second quarter, one a 3-yard run by Waugh and the other a 3-yard plunge by Cowan.

All the second-half scoring fell within a 24-second span.

Immediately after Grand Valley went up 39-0 on a 3-yard TD pass from Gallegos to Waugh, Coal Ridge’s Bradey Gasaway broke up the shutout by returning the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a score.

The Titans followed with an onside kick try that bounced short of the necessary 10 yards and out of bounds, giving the Cardinals possession in prime territory.

One play and 46 yards later, Cowan had his third rushing TD of the night, giving way to Waugh’s two-point plunge and the final points of the night.

The win was Grand Valley’s fifth in a row since a Sept. 12 loss to Hayden, making for quite a first year of Class 2A football at the school.

“We came into the season wanting to show 2A we weren’t a joke,” Waugh said, “that we are here to win a league championship.”

The Cardinals resume that quest next week at Cedaredge before finishing up the year at home against Olathe on Oct. 31 in a game that will likely decide the 2A WSL crown.

Coal Ridge, which dropped to 4-4 overall and to 1-4 in league, is at home against Roaring Fork.

“It’s at home,” Titan running back Josh Alsop said. “We’ll have a bigger crowd and hopefully get some team spirit going.”

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