(Dan Mohrmann / Single Wing Media)
Dan Mohrmann / Single Wing Media
COLORADO SPRINGS – When the community gets involved, it makes sense to lead an entire precession through town and into CA Foster Stadium.
Mesa Ridge and Widefield could lead their annual rivalry match to a Friday night. Under the lights at prime time seems like the logical choice. But in their mind, it’s thinking too small. Give the city the day. A parade paraded the community down the road and into the stadium before the 48-minute battle between the players.
The Grizzlies came away with a 35-0 win, but this particular game went way beyond football. It was four quarters between two teams and a Colorado Springs subdivision.
“It’s crazy, the atmosphere in the locker room is crazy,” said Widefield running back Braydon Demattos-Burrows. “Losing a game hurts even more. “
The loss was really the result of three big games, all of which came in the first quarter. Quarterback Noah Ramirez threw touchdown passes from 62, 63 and 72 yards with Niko Allgood, Desmond Burton and Cash Cheeks all in reception.
In a flash, the Grizzlies (2-2 on aggregate) took a 21-0 lead and looked set to run away with the game. But then something clicked defensively for Widefield.
The Gladiators (0-3) began to put pressure on Ramirez and the defense became immobile.
He has been sacked four times, twice by Matthew Clark and twice by Cody Wilson.
“We were doing a bad job moving our feet early,” said Mesa Ridge coach Jerimi Calip. “We wanted to correct this. We knew what we needed to do and only made a few adjustments. “
It took a little while for the adjustments to take effect. The Gladiators kept the intensity going on the defensive end of the ball and kept Mesa Ridge out of the end zone for the entire third quarter. The play-off unfortunately didn’t hold and the Grizzlies added a pair of touchdowns before the game was over.
“My line got stronger in the second half,” said Ramirez. “It was a team effort to get this victory.”
This is the Gladiators’ third straight loss at the start of the season, but after a week of missing players due to COVID-19, there was a lot to build on after Saturday’s game. .
The way the defense fought in the second and third quarters gave a glimpse of what the team is capable of and how they just need a few more balls to bounce back and set everything in place.
“We have to put this one behind us,” Widefield coach Shane Zimmerman said. “We just need to focus on what we can do today. The result is the result and we must move forward. We have a choice, we can be 7-3 or 0-10. Being 7-3 means taking the good things we did in the second and third quarters on defense and our offense starts to execute and eliminate turnovers.
The Gladiators welcome Golden to the non-championship final before moving on to the 4A I-25 class. Mesa Ridge will host Falcon, then open the league against Fountain-Fort Carson.