LOVELAND — Despite playing one of the toughest schedules in Class 4A, the Longmont High School football team escaped the regular season without a blemish on its undefeated record.
On Thursday night, the Trojans, who were last seasons' 4A state runners-up and have been ranked No. 2 in the AP media since the preseason, capped their undefeated regular season with a 35-0 win over Thompson Valley. When the Colorado High School Activities Association releases the seeding for 4A postseason play on Sunday, the Trojans will likely be a top seed opposite the bracket from defending champion Pine Creek.
Then, the Trojans' long-awaited playoff run will begin.
"It's exciting to go 10-0 but we have bigger plans," senior center Sean Schumacher said. "We've got four more to go. Some of us seniors have been playing together since middle school and I love these guys so much. We've got one last shot at this and I hope we take it all the way."
Having beaten second-place Windsor (8-1, 3-1 Longs Peak) head to head and undefeated in conference play, the Trojans (10-0, 5-0 Longs Peak League) had already locked up the Longs Peak League title in Week 9.
After the Eagles (6-4, 2-3 Longs Peak League) fumbled on the opening drive of the game, Longmont got on the board first with a 4-yard touchdown run from Conlan Berger. The rest of the first half was a back-and-forth field position battle and Longmont kicker Cooper Rothe hit from 50 and 31 yards to give the Trojans a 14-0 lead after one quarter.
Freshman quarterback Oakley Dehning, who had filled in nicely after senior quarterback David Speidel separated his non-throwing shoulder against Windsor in Week 7, left the game with an injury in the second quarter. Speidel, who suited up for the game, returned from his injury a bit earlier than expected to throw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Gabrielle and the Trojans led 21-0 at halftime. Another touchdown apiece for Berger and Gabrielle pushed the Trojans' total to 35 points.
The Trojans defense sacked Eagles quarterback Kanaan Turnbull eight times and forced two turnovers while pitching its first shutout of the season.
"We were just trying to pressure the quarterback," senior defensive end Nathan DeWitte said. "Everyone on the team did their jobs and it was great to hold them to zero."
DeWitte was one of five Trojans defenders who recorded a sack on Thursday night and one of three with two. Avery Peterson led the Trojans with nine tackles and Eli Sullivan had an interception.
With the 4A tournament bracket scheduled to come out on Sunday, all that's left for the Trojans to do is wait and see who they play first.
Longmont 35, Thompson Valley 0
At Thompson Valley H.S.Longmont (10-0, 5-0) 14 7 7 7 — 35
Thompson Valley (6-4, 2-3) 0 0 0 0 — 0
Longmont — Conlan Berger 4 run ( Sullivan Run). Longmont — Cooper Rothe 50 field goal. Longmont — Rothe 31 field goal.
Longmont — Ethan Gabrielle 9 pass from David Speidel (Rothe kick).
Longmont — Berger 49 run (Rothe kick).
Longmont — Gabrielle 4 run (Rothe kick).
RUSHING — Longmont: Conlan Berger 17-139, Logan Goodner 4-26, Ethan Gabrielle 4-24, Oakley Dehning 5-18, Kobe Martin 2-8, David Speidel 2-3, Eli Sullivan 1-2. Thompson Valley: Patton Graff 10-16, Matt Berg 3-12, Jake Hornick 1-10, Gunner Mengel 3-4, Dylan Luithly 1-(-5), Kanaan Turnbull 10-(-60).
PASSING — Longmont: David Speidel 4-8-1-41, Oakley Dehning 0-1-0-0. Thompson Valley: Kanaan Turnbull 10-16-1-74, Jacke Hornick 1-1-0-27.
RECEIVING — Longmont: Ethan Gabrielle 4-41. Thompson Valley: Matt Berg 4-78, Jake Hornick 1-1, Jacob Bosse 2-17, Cody Lesperance 2-19, Gunner Mengel 2-(-17).