LONGMONT - Things started right for the Niwot football team on Saturday. They recovered a fumble, drove deep into Air Academy territory and James Lerner nailed a 36-yard field goal.
The brief celebration didn't last. The field goal was nullified by a penalty, Lerner pulled the next attempt and the Cadets took over. Air Academy rolled up 410 yards of offense and cruised to a 47-0 win at Everly-Montgomery Field.
Niwot (0-3) couldn't get anything going on offense and had trouble stopping the Cadets' rushing attack. They forced four turnovers but didn't capitalize on any of them and finished with minus -21 yards of offense. The Cougars didn't record a first down until 2:20 was left in the third quarter - after Air Academy had built a 40-0 lead. They finished with two first downs.
"We're still learning how to compete," Niwot coach Jeremy Lanter said. "I call that putting those mistakes behind you and being able to move forward. We're still learning how to do that."
Things snowballed late in the first quarter when the Cadets scored three times in a span of 2:39 seconds to go up 21-0. A field goal and a safety made it 26-0 at halftime, and Air Academy added three more touchdowns in the second half.
"Once we get down it's hard to get back," Lerner said.
The Cougars did have good moments. They won the turnover battle 4-3 and found some success with the pistol formation in the second half. But the inability to move the ball and 11 penalties made it tough on the defense.
"Mental mistakes offensively put us in a bad position defensively," Lanter said. "Our kids were on the field a lot and they were getting tired."
The players weren't discouraged after the game. They know they have work to do but they're trying to take positives out of the loss with so much season left ahead.
"Unlike past years we're going to learn from this," Lerner said. "If we win all our league games we can go to the playoffs. We're ready to go into league games and we'll get stronger from here."
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Air Academy 47, Niwot 0
At Everly Montgomery FieldAir Academy (2-1)215147—47Niwot (0-3)0000—0
Air Academy — Kyle Pope 50 run (Ben Newton kick). Air Academy — Zach Martin 2 run (Newton kick). Air Academy — Troyer Morse 4 run (Newton kick).
Air Academy — Newton 30 FG. Air Academy — Safety, Liam Flanagan tackled in end zone.
Air Academy — Michael Midkiff 86 pass from Micah Bregard (Newton kick). Air Academy — Troyer Morse 39 run (Newton kick).
Air Academy — Brandon Salamon 9 run (Newton kick).
RUSHING — Air Academy: Zach Martin 11-77, Kyle Pope 6-63, Troyer Morse 5-60,Darnez Davis 9-52, Brandon Salamon 4-40, Ethan Martin 2-14, Cole Edmondson 1-12, Jax Downey 1-6, Micah Bregard 2-0. Niwot: Liam Flanagan 15-33, Shane Timmermann 3-3, Nate Nielson 1 (-1), Noah Pena 2-(-11), Matt Baun 2-(-13), James Lerner 1-(-28).
PASSING — Air Academy: Bregard 1-2-1-86, Bo Powers 0-2-0-0. Niwot: Pena 3-9-1-(-5), Baun 1-4-0-1.
RECEIVING — Air Academy: Michael Midkiff 1-86. Niwot: Flanagan 2-1, Nielson 1-0, Bradon Golon 1-(-5).