LAFAYETTE -- The Longmont football team certainly proved to be an opportunistic bunch on Friday night.
The Trojans took advantage of two early short punts by Centaurus to set up touchdown drives, then intercepted three passes, returning two for touchdowns — and very nearly all three.
Suffice it to say that the Longmont offense wasn't taxed much at all as the 3A seventh-ranked Trojans racked up a 42-6 victory over host CHS at Warrior Field.
The win — LHS' third straight — improved the Trojans' record to 5-2, and their Northern League mark to 2-0.
"I was very proud of our effort," Longmont coach Doug Johnson said. "We had some things we specifically challenged our group to get better at, and I thought they did. ...
"I would say this is our best game."
It was also unique in some ways thanks to the LHS defense, which chalked up five takeaways — three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
In the second quarter, junior Caden Dion picked off a Shaquille Ebadi pass and raced 89 yards down the sideline before being knocked out of bounds at the Centaurus 1. Shortly therefter, Kelvin Townsend scored his second rushing TD of the night for Longmont.
Then in the third quarter, junior Nick Paone had not one, but two pick-sixes, going in from 35 and 43 yards after reading Ebadi's eyes and stepping in the passing lanes.
"That was weird, yeah," Paone said. "It was a little surprising. We had the coaches put us in the right spot and I was there to make the plays."
Said Johnson: "Nick made great plays on the ball, but I have to give his teammates credit. We bracketed that kid, we had a guy over the top to help him, we had a guy inside. It allowed (Paone) to make the breaks on those, especially the second one. That was a team deal."
Also coming up big for the Longmont defense was junior Danny Nichols, who chalked up two first-half sacks of Ebadi, the second of which resulted in a fumble that the Trojans recovered after Centaurus had driven to the LHS 5-yard line.
"We were dominant on both sides of the ball," Paone said. "We ran the ball well on offense, and on defense, we shut them down — stopped the run and defended the pass. We did it really well tonight."
After a running-clock situation for much of the second, Centaurus foiled LHS' attempt for its first shutout of the season when Ebadi connected with Dylan Serlin for a 17-yard TD pass with less than four minutes left in the contest.
The loss — Centaurus' third in the last four games — dropped the Warriors to 3-4 and 0-2 in league action. CHS has allowed more than 40 points in three of the last four games, ironically with a shutout also in that mix.
"It's my responsibility. It comes back to me," Warriors coach Bob Carskie said. "When nice things are said, I appreciate it. But when things like this happen, I take total responsibility."
Next up, Longmont hosts Northridge next Friday as the Trojans finish up the regular season with three straight games at Everly-Montgomery Field. Silver Creek pays a visit to Centaurus that same night.
Longmont 42, Centaurus 6
At Spangenberg FieldLongmont 14 8 20 0 — 42
Centaurus 0 0 0 6 — 6
Longmont — Oakley Dehning 2 run (Avery Peterson kick). Longmont — Kelvin Townsend 5 run (Peterson kick).
Longmont — Townsend 1 run (Cruz Garcia run).
Longmont — Will Preuss 6 pass from Dehning (run fail). Longmont — Nick Paone 35 interception return (Peterson kick). Longmont — Paone 43 interception return (Peterson kick).
Centaurus — Dylan Serlin 17 pass from Shaquille Ebadi (run fail).
RUSHING — Longmont: Engelking 9-74, Townsend 8-41, Martin 8-30, Dehning 7-23, Ribbons 4-17, Gallegos 2-6, Ludemen 1-4, Garcia 2-3, Fieth 2-(-3). Centaurus: Losasso 7-34, Sniff 1-16, Silver 4-2, Tran 1-0, Ebadi 2-(-12).
PASSING — Longmont: Dehning 3-6-0-30. Centaurus: Ebadi 12-32-3-150.
RECEIVING — Longmont: Preuss 2-19, Engelking 1-11Centaurus: Medoza 4-72, Serlin 4-50, Losasso 3-23, Post 1-5.