DENVER — The Denver South Rebels are a and more physically imposing football team than the Longmont Trojans.
When the two teams met up in the Class 4A state quarterfinals at All-City Stadium on Saturday, the second-ranked Trojans showed they wouldn't be intimidated, even on the 10th-seeded Rebels' home turf. Imposing their own will on defense from start to finish, Longmont won 48-14 to reach the state semifinals.
"They're big, they're tough, they hit us hard and knocked us off the ball," Trojans senior linebacker Logan Goodner said. "But we just did not give up. We wanted to break them early and show them that we're the better defense."
Goodner led the Trojans (12-0) with 11 tackles. The Trojans also forced four turnovers, including three interceptions, two of which senior defensive back Eli Sullivan returned for touchdowns.
Standing up against the Rebels' vaunted rushing attack that features junior tailback Marcus Lindsay, who averaged 134.8 yards per contest during the regular season, the Trojans held Lindsay to 82 yards on 17 carries. Before the Trojans junior varsity took over in the fourth quarter, Lindsay had just 24 yards on 12 carries.
"We just tried to put him on his back every time," Goodner said. "We do not like when the running back pushes forward so we wanted to let him know that we were there every play. We did not want him to get nothing so we were going to meet him right there in the hole."
Filling in for injured starting left tackle Brenen Watts, sophomore Jarod Fixmer held his own on a Trojans offensive line that helped produce 217 rushing yards against a Rebels (8-4) defense that allowed just 14.2 points per game this season. Senior tailback Conlan Berger led the way, as he has all season, with 94 yards on 12 carries.
"The whole team had my back and I think I was ready for it," Fixmer said. "I played right guard last year and I've played all over the line on offense and defense this season. Our whole team stepped up because we knew we would have a tough game this week. We just wanted to show them what the Longmont Trojans are all about."
In the first quarter, the Trojans parlayed a Rebels fumble into a two-play drive that ended in a six-yard run from Berger. On the Rebels' next drive, Sullivan intercepted a pass and returned it 52 yards for a score. Senior tailback Ethan Gabrielle then broke loose for a 29-yard touchdown run to give the Trojans a runaway 21-0 lead to start the second quarter.
Longmont led 35-7 at halftime. Sullivan's second defensive touchdown of the game, an 80-yard interception return, triggered the mercy-rule running clock on the final play of the third quarter.
Playing at home next week, the Trojans will host third-seeded Windsor (11-1) in the semifinals. Longmont defeated Windsor 8-7 on a last-second touchdown and two-point conversion when the teams met during the regular season on Oct. 15.
Windsor defeated 11th-seed Palmer Ridge (8-4) in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Longmont 48, Denver South 14
At All-City StadiumLongmont (12-0) 21 14 13 0 — 48
Denver South (8-4) 0 7 0 7 — 14
Longmont — Conlan Berger 6 run (Cooper Rothe kick). Longmont — Eli Sullivan 52 interception return (Rothe kick). Longmont — Ethan Gabrielle 29 run (Rothe kick).
Denver South — Keenan Brown 69 pass from Amon Wright (Zach Cheiko kick). Longmont — Berger 38 pass from David Speidel (Rothe kick). Longmont — Sullivan 4 run (Rothe kick).
Longmont — Berger 48 run (Rothe kick). Longmont — Sullivan 80 interception return (kick missed).
Denver South — Marcus Lindsay 6 run (Cheiko kick).
RUSHING — Longmont: Conlan Berger 12-94, Ethan Gabrielle 6-50, Eli Sullivan 3-33, Logan Goodner 4-20, David Speidel 4-16, Oakley Dehning 3-7, Kobe Martin 1-1, Austin Ribbons 1-(-1), Drake Engelking 1-(-3). Denver South: Marcus Lindsay 17-82, James Hardy 4-18, Quinton Johnson 3-11, Amon Wright 4-16, Aaron Knox 7-10, Derius Pinkett 2-10.
PASSING — Longmont: David Speidel 1-5-0-38. Denver South: Amon Wright 7-22-2-181, Aaron Knox 3-4-1-22.
RECEIVING — Longmont: Conlan Berger 1-38. Denver South: Keenan Brown 3-101, James Hardy 4-69, Kevin Brooks 2-22, Darrien Golden 1-10, Dre'mond Griffin 1-1.