Fossil Ridge wanted to pull out all the stops.
Without a win and seeking an upset on homecoming, why not?
But what felt like a good idea, quickly backfired for the SaberCats when they opened Friday’s game against Eaglecrest with an onside kick, promptly returned for a touchdown by Tannen Hutton.
The play didn’t necessarily set a tone for the night, but it was an early indicator of the explosiveness the Raptors would bring to the field as they used big runs to take care of Fossil Ridge, 47-28.
“We told our kids that we believe in them and we thought we could steal some possessions, but they’re very good at what they do. Eaglecrest is a very good football team and they put up points like that every week,” Fossil Ridge coach Steve Vecchio said. “We took a gamble, we believed in our kids, but we missed a little bit in our execution.”
Fossil Ridge didn’t let the return slow it down. The SaberCats responded on the next possession thanks to a 30-yard touchhown pass from Travis Avila to Corey Peter to claim a 7-6 lead. It was the first of four touchdown passes for Avila, who finished with 280 yards and completed 31 of 39 attempts.
Peter and fellow wide receiver Eric Lanza also both had impeccable performances. Peter finished with 10 catches for 143 yards and Lanza had just two receptions, but both were touchdowns.
However, their highlight-filled night was overshadowed by a persistent Eaglecrest running game the Fossil Ridge defense couldn’t slow down.
Three Raptor running backs had 50 yards or more on the ground, with Greyson Hoffman and Ryan Wiley grinding for 87 and 89 apiece.
Eaglecrest (3-1) never punted and the only times it didn’t score was due to a fumble and taking a knee at the end of each half.
“We’re a split-back, veer team, but we can throw the ball and I just think we bring a lot of different looks, so sometimes it’s hard for teams to really get a gauge on us,” Eaglecrest coach Mike Schmitt said. “We have a good quarterback, great receivers and some really tough, hard-nosed running backs. They’re not the fastest guys on the field, but they’re hard-nosed and are going to get yards for us.”
Four weeks into the season and Fossil Ridge is still without a win. Vecchio said his team just needs to go back to work and focus in on playing Fort Collins next week to start Front Range League action. The two city rivals will play Thursday at 6 p.m.