LAKEWOOD -- The crisp white jerseys made the Silver Creek football team look even more monstrous on Saturday afternoon at Trailblazer Stadium.

That was even before the Raptors got on the field against Evergreen.

Once they took to the turf, a considerable size advantage from end to end along the line was evident, and Silver Creek used that advantage to pound its way to a 47-14 thrashing of the Cougars in their Class 3A first round playoff game.

SCHS built its title defense chunks at a time on the ground, as Josh Quiroz ran for 223 yards on 27 carries and got in the end zone twice. Ben Sjobakken also threw for 169 yards and two more scores, advancing the No. 9-seeded Raptors to a quarterfinal matchup against No. 16 Pueblo East next week.

Silver Creek’s Nick Hartman caps an interception return with a dive into the end zone during the Raptors’ win against Evergreen in the first
Silver Creek's Nick Hartman caps an interception return with a dive into the end zone during the Raptors' win against Evergreen in the first round of the 3A state tournament. ( LEWIS GEYER )

Senior lineman Donovan Rodriguez was just one of several of the boys up front that were pretty much salivating when they saw how much size they had over the Cougars. And with the help of a solid practice week, SCHS improved to 8-2 on the season.

"Our coaches worked their butts off this week, had us prepared looking at every single front they had, so we were ready going in," Rodriguez said. "I think Josh was salivating to get out there, and he ran hard, and we opened up some big holes for him. Ran trap, ran counter, and it was successful.

"I feel good about where our team is right now, and I think we have a lot more in us."


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As the visiting Raptors built a 23-0 halftime advantage, they held eighth-seeded Evergreen (8-3) to just four first downs and three series of three plays and a punt. Outside of two long touchdowns in the second half, Evergreen was bottled up from the get-go.

The Cougars had 261 total yards, but 124 of those came on two touchdown plays from Ryan Hays. Silver Creek had eight total tackles for loss, giving Evergreen quarterbacks Jack Curtis and Keenan O'Hearn fits for the better part of the action.

It wasn't just a dominating effort up front on defense. Linebacker Andre Apodaca had several big plays, and Ross Fitzgerald, Collin Gibbs and Nick Hartman each had interceptions -- two of those in the first half -- to help keep the ball in the hands of the offense.

"We hang our hat on our defense, and they played well for about 98 percent of the snaps," coach Mike Apodaca said. "One thing Evergreen had been able to do well, they throw the fade ball. All film that we saw, it was tough to stop. We preached to the guys all week not letting them get up over the top, and we played a lot of man coverage this week. The (defensive backs) did an outstanding job."

Following Gibbs' interception with 1 minute, 18 seconds left in the second quarter, Silver Creek showed an impressive quick-strike ability with a 38-yard pass from Sjobakken to Eric Machmuller. But the Raptors really ground out this affair on the legs of Quiroz, pushing the Raptors forward.

A senior who started at tailback last year, Quiroz was more of a defensive presence this season as Anthony Kasper took over rushing duties. But with Kasper out because of an injury -- he'll be back next week against the Eagles -- Quiroz wanted to "show I still got it."

Did he ever. On his second carry of the game, he ran straight up the middle for 31 yards, the first of eight runs of 10 or more yards. His big play came at the 10:04 mark of the second when he followed Logan Phillips up the field, got a good block from a receiver, and danced into the end zone for a 58-yard touchdown. He also scored from 1-yard out in the fourth quarter.

"Coming into the game, we knew we were going to run the ball, run the ball, run the ball because that's what we want to be known as," said Quiroz, who also had 193 yards in last week's win against Berthoud. "I take what I can. Since Anthony was out, I had to step in. I knew the game was going to kind of be on my shoulders, and I wanted to make a statement."

Evergreen never got closer than 23-7 in the third quarter. Hays scored his first of two touchdowns on a 47-yard run with 4:28 left in the frame, but Silver Creek responded with perhaps its best drive, a seven-play sequence that took 3:15 off the clock. Off a QB rollout, Sjobakken found Nico Rembert for a 29-yard score to cap the drive, ending any hope for the Cougars.

"We're going to have to step it up one more notch defensively next week," Apodaca said.

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Silver Creek 47, Evergreen 14

At Trailblazer Stadium

Silver Creek (8-2) 9 14 7 17 -- 47

Evergreen (8-3) 0 0 7 7 -- 14

SCORING SUMMARY

First Quarter

SC -- Safety (bad punt snap out of end zone).

SC -- Brock Ricks 4 run (Ryan Charles kick), 2:40.

Second Quarter

SC -- Josh Quiroz 58 run (Charles kick), 10:04.

SC -- Eric Machmuller 38 pass from Ben Sjobakken (Charles kick), 7:32.

Third Quarter

E -- Ryan Hays 47 run (Nash Norton kick), 4:28.

SC -- Nico Rembert 29 pass from Sjobakken (Charles kick), 1:13.

Fourth Quarter

SC -- Quiroz 1 run (Charles kick), 5:59.

E -- Hays 77 pass from Jack Curtis (Norton kick), 5:21.

SC -- Charles 29 field goal, 2:21.

SC -- Nick Hartman 13 interception return (Charles kick), 2:08.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING -- Silver Creek: Josh Quiroz 27-223, Brock Ricks 3-10, Collin Gibbs 1-8, Sebastian Metcalf 1-10, Ben Sjobakken 4-(minus-8), Austin Wood 2-(minus-3); Evergreen: Ryan Hays 3-51, Joe Danni 12-43, Tanner Cassin 10-33, Jack Curtis 8-22, Kipp Nilson 7-18, Keenan O'Hearn 3-(minus-1), Jake Lankutis 2-4, Patrick Story 1-2.

PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) -- Silver Creek: Sjobakken 8-16-1-169; Evergreen: Curtis 2-9-3-89, O'Hearn 0-3-0-0.

RECEIVING -- Silver Creek: Nico Rembert 2-38, Zane Lindsey 2-26, Eric Machmuller 2-62, Ricks 2-43; Evergreen: Hays 2-89.