BERTHOUD — Another week, another ranked foe in the books for the Erie Tigers.
One week after Chad Cooper's team officially declared itself to the state with what kind of team they are after a physical win over Silver Creek, they again faced a stern test in their Tri-Valley League opener against the 5-0 and No. 4 ranked Berthoud Spartans.
They didn't blink.
Erie was impressive from the get-go, controlling the line of scrimmage to set up its power run game, spearheaded by junior Noah Roper and now three-week starting quarterback Jacob Mansdorfer.
The No. 3 Tigers improved to 6-0 overall with a thorough 33-7 whipping of the Spartans at Max Marr Field.
"(Berthoud) has extremely good kids and their quarterback is a well polished athletic quarterback and they have some kids on defense that cause us some issues," said Cooper, whose team will host Holy Family next Thursday. "We got things we want to do and execute them the way we want to do them and we have the confidence in our kids to go out there and do them."
On the opening drive of the game into a ferocious wind, Erie went 15 plays and over 70 yards, but came up empty after Julian Custine missed a 21-yard field goal.
Just two plays later after Berthoud took over, the Tigers got on the board with a defensive score. Spartans quarterback Brock Voth scrambled around the left side for a first down but fumbled the ball and Noah Roper picked it up and outran the pursuit for a 35-yard score.
Berthoud was able to answer on its next possession, a Voth to Lozinsky 10 yard pass, but that would be it for the pass-happy Spartans, who just couldn't get anything going against the wind and a stout defensive push from the Tigers front seven that sacked him five times.
"This was very important to us, a top 5 match-up," Cooper said. "But our focus is already to Holy Family. They have been good for years and years and years, and if we really want to be considered good in the state, they are the ones we need to get."
Mansdorfer, who started the season as a hybrid fullback and slot back, was pressed into the starting quarterback roll due to unforeseen circumstances and has taken the job and literally run with it.
And in Cooper's system, where passing is rare, Mansdorfer has slowly worked that part of the game in to his arsenal.
On Friday night he ran for 103 yards and completed just one of his six passes, but it was a biggy. He connected with Jaren Gilmore in the final seconds of the first half that put the Tigers up 20-7 at the break.
"Once we started repping me more in practice and getting into the games more it definitely helped with the confidence," Mansdorfer said. "It's working out for us. The passes aren't quite there because I'm a little rusty, but the run has opened up and it helps to have me and Noah running the ball and driving it down their throats the whole game."
Said Cooper of Mansdorfer's play: "He has stepped up to the plate. Now he's putting the pass with the running game ... with how he is progressing and how he is able to stretch the field, we'll be able to do some different things and make us even harder to stop."
Roper eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark with an impressive 183 yards on 27 carry night. He scored twice in the second half on short touchdown runs of 3 and 2 yards.
ERIE 33, BERTHOUD 7
At Berthoud's Max Marr FieldErie (6-0, 1-0)71367—33Berthoud (5-1, 0-1)0700—7
Erie — Noah Roper 35 fumble recovery (Julian Custine kick).
Berthoud — Jacob Lozinsky 10 pass from Brock Voth (Ryan Schmad kick).
Erie — Jacob Mansdorfer 9 run (Custine kick).
Erie — Jaden Gilmore 5 pass from Mansdorfer (kick failed).
Erie — Roper 3 run (run failed).
Erie — Roper 2 run (Custine kick).
RUSHING — Erie: Noah Roper 27-183, Jacob Mansdorfer 19-108, Colby Wingfield 3-22. Berthoud: Wyatt Woodrick 6-22, Brock Voth 14-13, Jacob Lozinski 2-12, AJ Anema 3-6, Brennen Garvin 2-(minus-13).
PASSING — Erie: Mansdorfer 1-6-0-5. Berthoud: Voth 14-23-0-144, Garvin 1-2-0-22.
RECEIVING — Erie: Jaden Gilmore 1-5. Berthoud: Lozinski 4-51, Woodrick 4-35, Jacob Rafferty 2-24, Danny Pelphrey 2-21, Miguel Sarmiento 1-14, Anema 1-10, Jake Yuska 1-7.