Energized Titans relish program’s first ‘W’
Every Saturday morning the Coal Ridge football team hits the field to do ladders, but this week something was different.Every Titan had a little extra jump in his step and looked way too happy for players running lines.There was a reason for the joy as just 12 hours earlier there had been dozens of people charging the field, mobbing the players and celebrating.”All the students, and all the people in the stands stormed the field like we had won the state championship,” said Titan head coach Jim Hoffman.It may not have been state, but on Friday night Coal Ridge earned its first football victory in the school’s three-year history with a 12-11 nail-biter over Basalt.This win was so deserved for the hard-working athletes and coaches at Coal Ridge High School. For three years, they have practiced every day just like every other team, fought it out on Friday nights just like every other team. And now they get to feel the satisfaction of a win other teams feel.For the seniors on the team, what relief after all the sweat they’ve poured into the program.”It was nice. It feels great to have that first win. It feels great, like we got a monkey off our back,” said senior lineman Jonathon Lawson. “This whole game just felt good. We just wanted it really bad.”The Titans needed just two touchdowns in the win and didn’t even end up needing the extra points, but the way it shaped up, they might have been nice.With 4 minutes and 36 seconds to go in the game, Titan quarterback Keenan Grumley hit Alex Klein for a touchdown to put Coal Ridge up 12-5. That’s when things got interesting.Basalt marched down the field and scored to make it 12-11, but then Klein stretched out his arms from his 6-foot-6 frame and blocked the extra point for a play that would have made SportsCenter’s Top 10 if it covered high school sports.”We were all sitting there like ‘Block it, block it, block it!'” Lawson said.Basalt then recovered an onside kick, but the Coal Ridge defense stopped them as the Longhorns missed a 22-yard field goal with less than two minutes left that would have won it.Then came Coal Ridge’s last possession. This is where the Titans showed how smart a football team they are and that we can expect more wins from them in the future. It was fourth down, and Hoffman called for a punt. But then Josh Alsop – pulling a Peyton Manning – made a call after reading the defense. He shouted an audible and changed the play. With the Longhorns thinking punt, they crowded the middle, and Coal Ridge went outside. That’s when running back Adam Miller threw a pass to Jeremy Bullock.”The guy (Bullock) was uncovered. They ran it great, threw the pass and got the first down. Game’s over,” Hoffman said. “It was Josh that made the call. Awesome call.”There have been a few games this year when Coal Ridge had worked to a lead, but the Titans had always lost it. That was before Friday’s storybook finish.”Our motto this week was to finish,” Hoffman said. “Finish everything and they did.”Miller, who admitted he’s not used to throwing the ball, wasn’t able to run with his teammates on Saturday. As he rolled out to pass on the winning play, he was hammered by a Longhorn and had to hobble up to watch practice with what he is hoping is only a bruised back. Despite the pain, he still smiled as he talked about Friday’s win. Contact Joelle Milholm: email@example.com
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