Snowflake dominates second half to cruise past Blue Ridge

Snowflake dominates second half to cruise past Blue Ridge


Snowflake dominates second half to cruise past Blue Ridge


SNOWFLAKE – With an offense that has often needed some time to heat up this season, Snowflake has relied on a cold-blooded defense that thrives at keeping opponents off the scoreboard.

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That was the story again Friday night, in a performance that keeps Snowflake at the top of the White Mountain hierarchy.

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Lakeside Blue Ridge scored first, but it was all Snowflake after that, as the top-ranked team in Division IV stormed past No. 10 Blue Ridge, winning 36-7 at home to stay undefeated.

Snowflake (7-0, 2-0 Division IV Section I) trailed 7-0 midway through the first quarter and 7-6 at halftime, but shut out Blue Ridge (5-2, 0-2) in the second half and quickly got in gear on the other side of the ball after coming out of the locker room.

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Snowflake has yet to allow more than 12 points in a game this season.

“That’s part of our team’s personality this year,” first-year Snowflake coach Kay Solomon said. “Our offense hasn’t really clicked until the second half, when we’ve had the chance to talk it over and make some adjustments based on what we’re seeing.

“It’s not my preference, for sure. We want to get past that and play a little bit more smoothly on the offensive side in the first half. Luckily, our defense has been lights-out all game long, all season long. They do a great job, so we’ve always been in the position where we have the time to make those adjustments.”

After Snowflake gained just 38 yards of total offense on its first five possessions, it gained some momentum with a score before halftime and then found the end zone again on its first two drives of the third quarter.

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Snowflake then backed Blue Ridge all the way up into a fourth-and-31 from its own 6-yard line, before junior Tanner Willis turned in the back-breaker – a touchdown from near midfield on the punt return, which made it 28-7 Snowflake with just more than 8 minutes to play.

“I got the ball and just saw an open lane on the right side,” Willis said. “I just took it and ran.”

Blue Ridge, which sat at No. 11 in the Division IV power rankings before Friday, has lost two in a row after opening the season with five straight wins, and meets up with another White Mountain rival, Show Low, next week.

“We understand we have no margin for error,” Blue Ridge coach Bob London said. “The way the power points are shaping up right now, two losses is not a good place to be, and we still have to play Show Low next week. We just have to regroup and heal up, get after it and see what happens.”

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