LONGMONT — It really didn't matter in Austin Hassler's mind that he was not on the field last week for Longmont's loss to Pueblo East. He saw all of it, and he was a part of a group that knew they needed a more concerted effort in Week 2 against Greeley West.
The Spartans and featured back Darren Delacroix had come off a win against a Roosevelt team that made the 3A state title game last year and on paper looked frightening. But looks can be deceiving, and thanks in part to a ferocious effort by the Trojans defense at Everly-Montgomery Field host Longmont cruised to a 30-3 win that brought them to 1-1 on the short season.
To put it simply, it was the type of defensive effort that the Trojans had been known to roll out the past couple of years.
"I knew with a short week we still had it in us to get (back) and get it done quick," Hassler said after the defense allowed just 181 yards of offense to the Spartans. "Our camaraderie was great, we flowed to the ball together, did our assignments together and we had trust in one another."
The pursuit of the football was on point, with the exception of two long runs from Delacroix that gave him 86 of his 131 total rushing yards. And it was pursuit by Nick Paone on one of those lengthy runs that altered the game considerably in the second quarter.
After Longmont had taken a 16-0 lead on a safety and a pair of Oakley Dehning TD runs, Paone stopped Delacroix on a 56-yard run at the Longmont 1. A host of defenders, Hassler and Avery Peterson among them, went on to stop three straight runs from inside the 1-yard line, including a third-down pitch play that cost the Spartans 12 yards. A field goal instead of a likely touchdown made it 16-3.
Greeley West had a chop block called against them that negated an early touchdown in the third quarter, but the Spartans also turned the ball over twice on downs after that.
With a host of running backs getting a chance to play for Longmont, the Trojans got second-half TD runs from Cruz Garcia and Drake Engelking to complete the game.
"That stand set the tone for our defense, and once we shut them down there we felt invincible," Hassler said. "We kept that type of play the rest of the game."
"Nick Paone runs him down to stop the kid from scoring, and it's those kind of effort plays that you just have to have," Longmont head coach Doug Johnson said. "The goal-line stand, and the hustle play that gives us a chance to do that, it was special."
The Spartans had some early mistakes that helped LHS forge a lead, as well. Two mishandled punt attempts led to the first 8 Trojans points, and the Spartans also fumbled the football prior to Dehning's second score.
"I think our defense played well last week and really just got worn down because our offense didn't move the ball ... the defensive coaches and players are awesome though and did a great job," Johnson said.
Longmont 30, Greeley West 3
At Everly-Montgomery FieldGreeley West (1-1) 0 3 0 0 — 3
Longmont — Oakley Dehning 3 run (run failed)
Longmont — Safety (punter tackled in end zone). Longmont — Dehning 13 run. Greeley West — Devin Sirio 30 field goal.
Longmont — Cruz Garcia 11 run (Avery Peterson kick).
Longmont — Drake Engelking 67 run (Peterson kick).
RUSHING — Greeley West: Darren Delacroix 19-131, Alex Valverde 7-47, Derek West 5-4, Xavier Vasquez 5-29, Joe Placenza 2-0, Devin Sirio 1-1, Brody Clark 1-(minus-3), Branden Worley 3-(minus-25). Longmont: Drake Engelking 8-98, Oakley Dehning 13-47, Kelvin Townsend 7-32, Cruz Garcia 5-40, Telvin Townsend 2-11, Will Preuss 1-2, Ryan Ludeman 1-0, Jaden Ribbons 1-0, Austin Ribbons 1-0, Kobe Martin 2-(minus-6).
PASSING — Greeley West: Worley 3-6-0-35. Longmont: Dehning 0-3-0-0.
RECEIVING — Greeley West: Jack Lovin 1-22, Iseal Ramirez 2-13. Longmont: None.