For the first time all season, Loveland was coming off a game where they didn't dominate from start to finish.
Yes, the Indians' 28-21 win over Broomfield last Friday produced the desired outcome. But the way they got there — allowing double-digit points for the first time all season, including 14 in the fourth quarter — wasn't exactly up to their lofty standards.
Six days later, the Indians were back to their old ways in a convincing 63-0 victory over winless Niwot on Thursday night at Patterson Stadium. Loveland remained unbeaten at 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the Longs Peak league with three regular season games remaining.
A visiting Niwot team lacking numbers and success this year (0-7, 0-2) provided little resistance. Still, all the Indians could do was play the next team on their schedule. And in that respect, coach Wayne McGinn's team showed zero signs of overlooking the opponent by playing mistake-free football in all phases — from the starters all the way down.
"I'm just real proud of the whole team, from our varsity down to our JV, because our JV finished the game and got a shutout," McGinn said. "All the way down, throughout the whole ranks of our team, everybody just went out and played hard."
Loveland found the end zone on all six of its first-half possessions, needing just 20 plays to score half a dozen touchdowns. Corresponding three-and-outs by the defense equaled a running clock midway through the second quarter after a 19-yard run up the middle by sophomore Marcelo Espinoza-Diaz, who carried multiple Niwot defenders with him into the end zone to make it 42-0.
"I just saw the end zone, and I didn't want to be that guy that didn't score," Espinoza-Diaz said.
Well before that, senior running back Zach Weinmaster had a pair of rushing touchdowns to bring his season total to 14. He's now had multiple touchdowns four times this season after scoring from 24 yards and just outside the goal line. The Indians also had long scoring runs in the first half by Cody Rakowsky (63 yards) and Jojo Bork (55) to go with a 28-yard reception from quarterback Riley Kinney to Caleb Smith.
David Pettit added a 70-yard dash to pay dirt in the third quarter to finish as the Indians' leading rusher with 96 yards on three carries. He was one of four Indians, along with Bork, Rakowsky and Weinmaster, with at least 50 yards on the ground as they eclipsed 300 rushing yards for the fourth time this season.
The only thing that broke the Loveland defense's streak of three-and-outs to begin the game was when Michael Lewis scooped up a screen pass (that was ruled a lateral) and returned it 10 yards the other way to make it 49-0 at the break.
The defensive touchdown was all part of a near-perfect performance by Loveland, the result of a nearly-flawless week of practice following a less-than-perfect win the previous outing.
"We knew that we had to come in and have a big week of practice to pick up on those little mistakes that we had (against Broomfield)," Lewis said. "It was a great week of practice, and we knew that we needed to get it going again because no one likes being scored on."
The Indians set a team-best for points in a game this season after a 26-yard touchdown run by Mason Adams in the fourth quarter. A nice finishing touch for the Indians — but a tough night for the JROTC students who did push-ups in the end zone after every score.
By the end of the night, their total rose to 294 because of the onslaught — not that the football team felt all that badly for their classmates.
"I mean, we work for our points," Lewis said with a smile. "But they're doing it for a good cause, so it's all good."
Indians 63, Cougars 0
At Patterson StadiumNiwot0000—0Loveland282177—63
LHS — Zach Weinmaster 24-yard run (Cody Rakowsky kick), 9:14.
LHS — Rakowsky 67-yard run (Rakowsky kick), 6:40.
LHS — Weinmaster 1-yard run (Rakowsky kick), 4:18.
LHS — Caleb Smith 28-yard pass from Riley Kinney (Rakowsky kick), 1:19.
LHS — JoJo Bork 55-yard run (Rakowsky kick), 10:23.
LHS — Marcelo Espinoza-Diaz 19-yard run (Rakowsky kick), 6:22.
LHS — Michael Lewis 10-yard fumble return (Rakowsky kick), 1:10.
LHS — David Pettit 70-yard run (Rakowsky kick), 9:30.
LHS — Mason Adams 26-yard run (Rakowsky kick), 3:30.