LONGMONT — Silver Creek's Andreik Knecthel and Erie's Noah Roper both entered Thursday's football game as two of the state's most productive tailbacks and leading the way for two of Class 3A's top offenses.
Only one found the kind of running room that could keep his team undefeated through the football season's first five weeks, however.
At Everly-Montgomery Stadium, Knechtel ran for 193 yards and three touchdowns to pace a Raptors offense that is averaging over 30 points a game and hasn't slowed down since the season opener. The junior's effort, combined with a strong showing from the Raptors defense, was everything the team needed to win 38-22 and head into its 3A Northern League schedule with 5-0 record.
"It was beautiful the way my linemen opened up the holes for me," Knechtel said. "I love my O-line. We got off to a good start in the first half and we were able to work as a team to get more touchdowns as the game went on. We're undefeated and it's awesome but we'll just keep working until we get to the playoffs."
It took Knechtel just nine carries to pass the 100-yard mark against a solid Erie defense. While Knechtel ran free and Raptors quarterback Dylan Ordway threw for 322 yards and a pair of touchdowns, the Silver Creek defense held Roper, who also intercepted a pass on the goal line just before halftime, to 53 yards on 18 carries. Before Thursday's game, the sophomore had averaged 114 yards per game for the previously-undefeated Tigers.
For Raptors head coach Mike Apodaca, whose team is currently ranked sixth in the latest CHSAANow.com poll, Thursday's win over eighth-ranked Erie wasn't as satisfying as he expected it to be. But for a team that won just three games last season, Apodaca will take the wins any way they come.
"I thought we left a lot out there and our defense let them out of some holes," Apodaca said. "But it's a credit to them, too. They made some big plays against us when we couldn't. But we got a win against a quality team and our good kids did a good job against their guy (Roper). He's the best back that we've seen this year and we put a lot of emphasis on containing him. You just never want to be satisfied."
The Raptors led 17-7 at halftime but the Tigers cut the lead to 30-22 when quarterback Ruben Portill hit wide receiver Quintin Hyrup on a 60-yard touchdown pass with 8:26 left in the game. On the Raptors' next drive, however, the offense went down the field and scored in seven plays.
Silver Creek will begin league play at Northridge next Thursday. Erie will kick off its 3A Tri-Valley League schedule at home against Berthoud on Friday.
Silver Creek 38, Erie 22
At Everly-Montgomery FieldErie 0 7 0 15 — 22
Silver Creek — Andreik Knechtel 5 run (Colton Grabau kick). Silver Creek — Grabau 27 field goal.
Erie — Zach Roper 7 pass from Ruben Portillo (Julian Cutine kick).
Silver Creek — Andreik Knechtel run (Colton Grabau kick).
Silver Creek — George Ramirez 31 pass from Dylan Ordway (Grabau kick).
Erie — Zach Roper 6 pass from Portillo (Cutine kick). Silver Creek — TJ Blazon 16 pass from Ordway (illegal procedure). Erie — Quintin Hyrup 60 pass from Portillo (Hunter Cremers pass from Portillo). Silver Creek — Knechtel 9 run (Knechtel run).
RUSHING — Erie: Noah Roper 18-53, Joshua Cobb 2-3, Trevor David 1-2, Ruben Portillo 9-(-10). Silver Creek: Andreik Knechtel 23-193, George Ramirez 2-12.
PASSING — Erie: Ruben Portillo 14-26-0-252. Silver Creek: Dylan Ordway 24-35-1-322.
RECEIVING — Erie: Quintin Hyrup 4-134, Ryley Deckert 1-15, Noah Roper 2-9, Zach Roper 2-13, Sean-Tyler Curell 2-59, Alexander Mathis 1-7, Brock Roylance 1-7. Silver Creek: Kahri Harrison 7-76, George Ramirez 7-72, TJ Blazon 8-106, Anthony Allman 1-28, Joe Roth 1-8.