Rams come through for win over ‘Dogs
CARBONDALE – In relative terms, the Roaring Fork Rams posted a blowout win over Hotchkiss. Still, the game wasn’t decided until the final minutes.Over the past three seasons combined the point differential between the two Class 2A Western Slope football teams has been a mere four points. On Friday night, Roaring Fork’s homecoming game, the No. 3-ranked Rams eclipsed that mark with a 14-8 victory to stay undefeated on the season.”Six points. We almost doubled our tally from the last three years,” Roaring Fork coach Tory Jensen said with a laugh. Jensen could laugh after the game, but there were some nervous moments late in the contest.Fourth downs proved to be the difference for Roaring Fork (2-0 WSC, 4-0 overall) on both offense and defense. With 8 minutes, 33 seconds left in the game, Hotchkiss (1-1, 2-2) drove to the Rams 21-yard line before Roaring Fork stuffed Gates Shaklee on a fourth-and-3 attempt.
The Roaring Fork offense took over and held on to the ball the rest of the game, though it wasn’t easy.Faced with a fourth and inches on their own 30, fullback Trevor Hunt’s burst through the middle for 13 yards resulted in a first down and a collective sigh of relief from the Rams faithful.”I knew I had to get it and I knew I wasn’t going to get stopped by anybody,” said Hunt, who also had an interception. “Once I heard ‘hut’ I just blew through that gap and kept moving my feet.”Jensen said there was “no question” about taking the chance on fourth down. It also showed the players the coaching staff had confidence in the team – confidence the Rams would need later in the drive.Aided by a pass interference call on fourth-and-12 later in the drive, Roaring fork converted a 2-yard fourth-down quarterback sneak on the Hotchkiss 13-yard line to seal the game. The Rams finished the game 4-for-6 on fourth-down conversions and didn’t punt in the contest.Roaring Fork controlled the first half from the opening kickoff. Quarterback Aaron Markham engineered a 12-play, 64-yard touchdown drive. He accounted for 14 yards rushing and was 3-for-3 passing, including two fourth-and-long strikes to Tyler Hunt. Christian Tena finished off the scoring march with a 4-yard run and, after a missed kick, the Rams led 6-0 with 3:38 left in the first quarter.After the two teams traded fumbles Roaring Fork went up 14-0 when Parker Nieslanik used one hand to corral a 43-yard Markham pass on the right sideline with 5:16 left in the half.”Coach called a ‘Parker-in-the-end-zone’ play,” Nieslanik said with a smile. “It was a stop and go and the corner bit hard. Aaron threw it a little long and I reached out with one hand and luckily snagged it.”
Markham and Nieslanik also hooked up for the two-point conversion.Markham finished the game 8-for-13 for 108 yards with Nieslanik being the main beneficiary. The junior receiver had a game-high five catches for 84 yards.In the second half Hotchkiss got back in the game. The Bulldogs converted a muffed punt recovery at the Rams 27 into a 2-yard Shaklee sneak with 7:10 left in the third. Shaklee hit Brandon Bell for the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 14-8. Jake Bowman led the Roaring Fork rushing attack with 47 yards, while Hotchkiss’ Brad Queen had a game-high 50 yards on the ground. The Roaring Fork offense racked up 282 offensive yards in the game compared to 138 for the Bulldogs.Monte Vista hands Basalt first lossThe Basalt Longhorns suffered their first lost of the season, 30-6, at the hands of No. 10 Monte Vista in a nonconference Class 2A football game in Basalt Friday.The Pirates (4-0) got off to a quick start, amassing a 23-0 lead before Basalt (3-1) answered with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Cody Burkholder to Darren Duroux to cut the lead to 23-6 midway through the second quarter.
It was the only points the Longhorns could muster as Monte Vista took advantage of five Basalt turnovers in the game.Senior Clayton Peetz paced the Basalt offense in the losing effort with 94 yards on 17 carries and Ari Wolters added 50 rushing yards. Peetz also accounted for a team-high 12 tackles.Grand Valley downs Soroco 25-19Richard Gallegos hit Sam McKinley for three touchdown passes to lead Grand Valley to a 25-19 victory over Soroco in Class 1A Western Slope football action at Grand Valley High School in Parachute Friday.The duo connected for passes of 20, 10 and 30 yards to take an 18-0 lead into the fourth quarter. Taylor Prince scored an early fourth-quarter touchdown before Soroco got on the scoreboard.Gallegos finished 7-for-13 for 150 yards and one interception. McKinley had five receptions in the game for 131 yards. Danny Manzanares ran for 76 yards on 18 carries.Grand Valley improves to 1-1 in the WSC (2-2 overall), while Soroco drops to 0-2 (2-2).Grand Valley improves to 1-1 in the WSC (2-2 overall), while Soroco drops to 0-2 (2-2).
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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.