Coal Ridge spoils Roaring Fork’s Senior Night
In Carbondale on a windy, chilly night Friday, the Coal Ridge Titans rode into town and spoiled the Roaring Fork Rams’ Senior Night, scoring 42 points in the first quarter en route to a 62-0 win in which the Rams never quit, but simply couldn’t get much going against a stout Coal Ridge defense.
“One thing we talked about coming off the loss to Basalt was that we needed to stay focused and do all the little things right on every play,” Coal Ridge Head Coach Bob Frederickson said. “Tonight, we did all of the little things. We came through in all phases of the game, whether that was offense, defense or special teams. There were a couple times this year where we came close to coming together in all three phases, but we did it well in all three phases tonight and it all come together for us.”
Following a 15-minute ceremony to honor the eight Roaring Fork seniors, the Titans started fast on the opening kickoff as junior running back Jan Hernandez fielded the kick at his own 7-yard line before racing untouched down the left sideline for the 93-yard kickoff return, putting the Titans up 7-0 just 18 seconds into the game.
After Hernandez started the scoring quickly, firing up the Coal Ridge sideline, the Roaring Fork offense under the direction of Alex Jacquez took the field looking to respond. Three plays later the Rams punted it back to the Titans, which led to a 44-yard touchdown off right tackle for running back Jacx Power on the first offensive play of the game for the Titans, stretching the lead to 14-0 just 2:14 into the game.
Trailing by two scores quickly, Roaring Fork switched to senior quarterback Jasper Germain, who moved the ball five yards on two scrambles for the Rams, but a third-down pass down the left sideline intended for Irving Anchondo fell incomplete, forcing a second Roaring Fork punt.
On Coal Ridge’s second possession of the game, Hernandez rushed around right end for 11 yards before Power lost four yards on a big tackle for loss from Roaring Fork’s Pepe Rico. Facing a second and 14, Hernandez seemed to pick up 24 yards around left end, but holding call wiped out the big gain. That didn’t seem to phase the Titans, though, as junior quarterback Oscar Salazar rolled right off play-action and found a wide-open Power in the right flat on third and 23, allowing Power to race down the right sideline for a 71-yard score, his second of the game, stretching the Coal Ridge lead to 21-0 midway through the first quarter.
The ensuing kickoff from Coal Ridge was a pooch kick, which caught the Rams off guard, allowing the Titans to recover at the Roaring Fork 35-yard line. One play later Power found pay dirt for the third time on the night, sprinting up the gut for a 35-yard touchdown, making it 28-0 with 6:07 left in the first quarter.
In a big hole early, the Rams turned to Germain again, who rushed for 13 yards on a third and 10, giving the Rams their first first-down of the game. Four plays later, though, the Rams were forced to punt again as the drive stalled, giving the ball right back to a red-hot offense.
Power took advantage on the next Coal Ridge play, bouncing off two tackles before breaking free for a 68-yard touchdown, taking the air right out of the atmosphere in Carbondale as the beloved Rams trailed 35-0 with five minutes left in the first quarter.
Subbing in for a banged-up Germain, Jacquez tried to spark the Roaring Fork offense again, but Coal Ridge senior linebacker Stephen Pizzelli stepped in front of a Jacquez pass before weaving his way down the field for a 40-yard interception returned for a touchdown, starting the running clock with the Titans up 42-0 before the end of the first quarter.
Knowing his team needed him in the game down 42-0, Germain heroically came back into the game for the Rams and rushed for gains of 7 and 8 yards, but following a false start, Germain was picked off by senior Brandon Herrera, giving the Titans the ball again deep in Roaring Fork territory. This time it was senior running back Michael Frederickson who raced around right end for a 16-yard touchdown, putting the Titans up 49-0 early in the second quarter.
Refusing to give up, the Rams continued to fight on both sides of the ball as senior Andy Loya pounced on a Coal Ridge fumble midway through the second quarter to spark the Rams. Following Loya’s fumble recovery, the Rams seemed to find some momentum late in the half as Germain rushed for gains of 11 and 24 yards before the two teams headed into the half.
Coming out for the second half, Germain was joined in the backfield by fellow senior Spencer Ochko, who rushed for 16 yards on three carries to start the half, but the drive would stall as the Rams put the ball on the ground, allowing the Titans to jump on the loose ball.
Recovering the fumble deep in Roaring Fork territory, the Titans looked to stretch the lead, but Roaring Fork’s Kyle Baird forced a fumble, allowing teammate Ruben Gomez to jump on the ball and giving the Rams another chance to get moving offensively.
The Titans stood tall defensively, though, forcing a three-and-out and taking over at the Roaring Fork 43-yard line following a short punt.
On Roaring Fork’s side of the field, Frederickson took the first handoff 43 yards up the gut for the score, stretching the lead to 56-0. Late in the fourth quarter Frederickson would score for the third time, this one a 1-yard toss to his left, capping off the 62-0 win on the road.
It’s been a trying year for the Rams, but you wouldn’t know that when watching the players on the field. Despite trailing big early, not one player on the Rams quit, which is a positive sign for first-year head coach Matt Phelan, even if that could be hard to grasp sitting at 0-8.
With the win, Coal Ridge improves to 4-4 (1-3 2A Western Slope League) on the season.
The Titans will host the Steamboat Sailors next Friday in New Castle.