LONGMONT — In 2016, the Silver Creek football team followed up an undefeated regular season by reaching the Class 3A state semifinals, falling one win short of a state title game appearance.
During that run, Collin Black played quarterback in just parts of four games, throwing for 229 totals yards as junior while his team had already played its way to a blowout win. But Black's days of collecting garbage-time reps are over and he's now the senior starter.
Debuting at quarterback against Dakota Ridge in the Raptors' season opener on Thursday night, Black threw for 198 yards and both of his team's touchdowns to lead Silver Creek to a 14-0 victory.
"The first half didn't go as planned but we came back out in the second half and just did what we do best," Black said. "We just had to get our focus back and just go for it. I have some really good guys to throw to, you know, TJ (Blazon) is one of the fastest guys in the conference and Andreik (Knechtel) is just a beast running back. It's super nice to be able to just trust them to make plays."
Ranked No. 4 in Class 3A by the CHSAANow.com preseason poll, the Raptors played the 4A Dakota Ridge Eagles to a scoreless tie at halftime while both run defenses allowed a combined 91 yards in the first two quarters. The Raptors defense forced a three-and-out on the opening drive of the second half and Black recorded his first touchdown as a starter six plays later by lobbing a 13-yard pass into the end zone for Blazon, who won a jump ball to put the Raptors on the board.
Black's second touchdown came on a screen pass to Knechtel, who broke a pair of tackles and ran 35 yards to give his team a two-score lead with 1 minute, 56 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
"We had some issues with inexperience and discipline, those type of things that we can clean up as coaches and players," Raptors head coach Mike Apodaca said. "I think if we do that, we have the talent to do some good things this year. But I'm proud of the offense persevering through the second half and our defense shut them out, so we'll try to build on that piece."
Junior defensive back Nick Eaton and junior linebacker Rex Olinger led the Raptors with eight tackle apiece. Senior defensive end Trevor Riters had six tackles, three quarterback hurries and a sack, and senior safety Ashton Hubert had a critical interception in the fourth quarter that kept the game tied with 8:30 left to play.
"We graduated a bunch of good players on defense last year," Hubert said. "We have the talent this year but we just need more reps and we need to communicate and get on the same page so we can be more aggressive. I think we did that better in the second half."
The Raptors will take on Mountain View, another 4A team, at 7 p.m. next Thursday in Loveland.
Silver Creek 14, Dakota Ridge 0
At Everly-Montgomery FieldDakota Ridge (0-1) 0000—0Silver Creek (1-0) 0077—14
Silver Creek — TJ Blazon 13 pass from Collin Black (Coltan Grabau kick).
Silver Creek — Andreik Knechtel 35 pass from Black (Grabau kick).
RUSHING — Dakota Ridge: Erik Palmer 8-40; Jered Garcia 8-26; Bryan Barger 4-15; Gavin Jordan 1-2; Riley Fisher 1-0; Drew Dominic 5-(-11). Silver Creek: Andreik Knechtel 14-64; Collin Black 8-43; Brandon Harper 2-15.
PASSING — Dakota Ridge: Drew Dominic 18-34-1-161; Silver Creek: Collin Black 17-27-1-198.
RECEIVING — Dakota Ridge: Riley Fisher 2-39; Kyle Scofield 4-44; Erik Palmer 5-30; Jarrett Gorton 3-24; Jered Garcia 2-10; Justin Sanchez 1-9; Gavin Jordan 1-5; Silver Creek: TJ Blazon 10-114; Patrick Miller 5-43; Andreik Knechtel 1-35; Brandin Graves 1-6.