Windsor found a familiar formula in its 23-7 win over Grand Junction on Saturday.
The Wizards scored an early touchdown, taking advantage of a defense designed to stop an option running attack, then went through a penalty-marred mid-game lull while relying on their defense to keep the game under control before tacking on two late touchdowns against a weary opponent.
Just like a week earlier against Greeley West, it turned into a comfortable win. And the Class 4A defending champions improved to 3-2.
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“The positive that we take away from it as a coaching staff is that we’ve consistently worn teams down and finished in the fourth quarter,” Windsor interim coach Skylar Brower said. “We’d like to be able to finish drives during the second and third quarters, but winning the fourth and walking away with a win, I’ll take that any day.
“We’ve got a lot to improve upon, but our conditioning is paying off, and limiting the number of two-way players we have is paying off. Teams are getting worn down and we’re able to take advantage of it.”
A 47-yard pass play that accounted for nearly half of Grand Junction’s 122 yards of total offense set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Shawn Garcia that pulled the Tigers (0-5) within 10-7 at halftime.
But Brad Peeples — who threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Brayden Pedersen against a blitz in the first quarter — scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 17-7 in favor of the Wizards early in the fourth. Peeples and Pedersen connected on a 33-yard pass play to set up Corte Tapia’s 1-yard plunge near the end of the game.
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“Our defense did a great job shutting down their run game (22 yards), winning first and second down,” Brower said. “And our linebackers love it when it’s 3rd and long, because then they can get after the quarterback.”
Peeples passed for 116 yards and ran for another 89 to pace the Wizards’ offense. Pedersen had three receptions for 102 yards.
Windsor returns home Friday to face 2-3 Mountain View, a familiar foe that the Wizards scrimmaged in August.
They’re expecting to see the same kind of defensive alignment they’ve been seeing recently. And, if blitzing secondary players are coming after them, the Wizards will be ready.
“It’s a gamble, and if we can hit those wide open receivers, it’s just a three-step drop and a pitch and catch,” Brower said.