Thursday night’s football game looked like a Three Stooges skit at times with six turnovers, but Highlands Ranch held onto the ball enough to defeat Fossil Ridge, 19-13.
The SaberCats fumbled twice and muffed two punts leading to 13 points by Highlands Ranch.
“It seemed like the way a lot of them turned out was pretty unlucky,” Fossil Ridge coach Steve Vecchio said. “There were four turnovers, but probably 130 plays. Realistically, we had our shots to win the game.”
Fossil Ridge’s best chance to win came after senior Michael Reyna intercepted a pass at the Highlands Ranch 23 yard line off a tipped ball. Junior quarterback Travis Avila hit senior receiver Connor Rutledge for a 47-yard gain to the Falcons’ 20 yard line two plays later.
But the SaberCats fumbled the ball on third down and Highlands Ranch ran the clock out to pull off its first win of the young season.
“It’s important for the offense and defense because we’re platooning for the most part. It’s about trying to get the kids to play as a unit now because we’re so young and inexperienced,” Highlands Ranch coach Darrel Gorham said.
Senior running back Alfred Prisco gained 141 yards for the Falcons, and Highlands Ranch went to him early and often each drive.
“We kept trying to tweak (our defense) and take away options. Darrel’s a great coach and he’s going to stick with what works and we kept trying to take away what was working for him,” Vecchio said. “He kept having answers all night.”
Fossil Ridge started to lean on Avila more in the second half, and he responded by completing 12 of 19 passes for 135 yards and scampered for 26 more.
“He’s an incredibly competitive kid. Down the stretch, he was one of the guys giving us a shot down there at the end,” Vecchio said.
The SaberCats dropped to 0-3 after the loss, but are starting to see their complete game take shape.
“Our defense is playing very strong. The offense, you can see the sparks. You can see we have some weapons on offense, if we can get out of our own way,” Vecchio said. “We’ve been talking for a couple weeks now how do we get all three phases of the game running effectively.
“Our offense was just a couple plays short.”