Rams’ air attack too much for Bruins
Post Independent Staff
CARBONDALE ” At the start of the football season, Parker Nieslanik wondered about the abilities of the Rams’ new starting quarterback Kade Gianinetti.
“I was a little bit worried at two-a-days because I had Aaron Markham as our quarterback last year, and he was a great quarterback,” said the Roaring Fork wide receiver.
After watching the junior guide the offense to eight straight wins, including Friday’s 45-8 victory over Cedaredge, Nieslanik has become Gianinetti’s top target and No. 1 fan.
“Kade had improved so much. He looks just like Aaron now. He’s a good quarterback and he’s going to get better.”
Gianinetti was nearly perfect on Friday. He amassed most of his 344 passing yards by halftime, hitting on 11-of-16 attempts in the first half, for five touchdowns.
“We decided that we wanted to spread the field and really air the ball out, and the guys did a phenomenal job,” said head coach Matt Hauptly. “Kade had all day to pick out his receivers. The receivers were wide open, they were running disciplined routes and they got great yards after catching the ball.”
And most of Gianinetti’s throws found Nieslanik.
By halftime, the Rams senior wideout had touchdown catches of 24, 72, 26, and 20 yards en route to giving Roaring Fork a 45-0 lead at intermission.
Cedaredge opted to guard Nieslanik with one defender most of the night. That move cost the Bruins.
“All the other teams (we’ve played) roll the safety over top of me,” said Nieslanik. “(Cedaredge) didn’t. It just opened it for me. They covered me tight, but I just jumped over them.”
Before retiring in the third quarter, Nieslanik jumped over the Bruins cornerbacks for 181 yards in six receptions.
“(Parker’s) got good speed, great jumping ability and body control, a great sense for getting open and body positioning when he goes for the ball,” Hauptly said.
The rest of Roaring Fork’s offense was equally as good.
Each of the Rams’ six possessions in the first half produced a touchdown.
Jake Bowman ran for a 44-yard TD the first time Roaring Fork got the ball. The senior running back added a 76-yard punt return for a score early in the second quarter.
The play raised the Rams lead to 25-0.
Rams: see page A12
Nieslanik took over from that point, scoring three touchdowns in the remaining 8 minutes, 20 seconds of the first half.
Defensively, Roaring Fork held Cedaredge scoreless until the fourth period when back Joe Hollis, running against the Rams’ second string capped a six-play, 34-yard drive with a 1-yard score with 5:55 left.
With a first-round playoff home game sewn up with the win, Roaring Fork can finish out the regular season by beating neighborhood rival Basalt on Friday.
A task, Hauptly said the Rams are capable of completing. But, not necessarily easily, according Hauptly.
“With a rivalry team it doesn’t matter if one team’s 7-0 and the other’s 0-7. Anything can happen,” the coach said. “It’s so intense. The biggest thing about next week is to stay calm and composed and execute our game plan. I think if we do that we should be fine.”
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.