THORNTON — Boulder's defense came up with an interception and a fourth-down stand inside the red zone in the fourth quarter to preserve the lead Friday. Then, in the final second, it blocked a game-tying field goal.
Safe to say, new coach Ryan Bishop won't soon forget his first win.
After allowing five touchdowns and more than 400 yards to Fairview quarterback Aidan Atkinson last week followed by a 74-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage against the Northglenn Norsemen, the Panthers' defense regrouped to lead Boulder to a dramatic 19-16 win at Five Star Stadium.
"It's always nice to get that first win," Boulder's first-year coach said.
It'll probably be nice to finally get a breather, too.
Holding onto a 19-14 lead in the fourth, Wiley Bennett leapt high into the air for the team's second interception of the game at the 18. A drive later, the unit stuffed JJ Gomez on fourth-and-2 at the 12 with 2 minutes remaining.
The final field goal chance was set up after Bishop elected to take a safety with his team backed up to its goal-line on fourth down with less than a minute remaining. Preston Stansel burned nine seconds to put the clock at 31 seconds and Northglenn returned the ensuing kick to the 45 with 22 seconds remaining.
The Norsemen had two chances at a game-tying field goal thanks to an offside call on the first attempt. Tarin Martin's second chance after he missed a 45-yarder was blocked.
"Super stressful," Bennett said.
In the end, Boulder's bend-not-break defense had held strong. It was something that didn't seem to be in the cards at the game's start.
On the first play, Gomez, who had a 61-yard dash in a Week 1 win over Thornton, made a quick addition to his highlight reel with a 74-yard run that looked easy. The Northglenn "bowling ball," as Bishop referred to the back's running style, ended the first quarter with two touchdowns and 105 yards.
The Panthers held him to 75 yards for the rest of the game.
"We couldn't arm tackle him," Bishop said. "We needed to have 11 hats around the ball. And for the most part, when we go back and watch film I think we'll have 11 hats around the ball."
Shane Provost scored on an 8-yard run in the second to cut the lead to 14-9 in the second quarter. Stansel then gave the Panthers (1-1, 1-0 5A Metro 10) the lead at 17-14 when he scored on an 8-yard run and converted a two-point conversion.
Boulder's D did the rest. It forced a safety in the final minute of the quarter and didn't allow a point on Northglenn's final three drives.
"We gave up 14 points quick and then held strong," Bishop said. "It's OK to get punched but you have to get right back up. They have a street fighter mentality."
Defensive highlights weren't in short supply: A gang of Boulder tacklers swarmed to the back of the end zone to force a safety on the Norse's second drive after a botched backwards pass. It came up big again late in the half with Northglenn in the red zone and looking to add to its 14-9 lead as Manny Arellano dove to full extension to pick off an errant throw Norse (1-1, 0-1) quarterback Devin Scudder. Scudder had been forced backwards and threw off his heels with strong pressure in face.
Brent W. New: , email@example.com
Boulder 19, Northglenn 16
At Five Star StadiumBoulder (1-1)27100—19Northglenn (1-1)14002—16
Northglenn — JJ Gomez 74 run (Tarin Martin kick). Boulder — Team safety. Northglenn— Gomez 9 run (Martin kick).
Boulder — Shane Provost 8 run (Brady Keuer kick)
Boulder — Preston Stansel 8 run (Stansel run). Boulder — Team safety.
Northglenn — Team safety.
RUSHING — Boulder: Shane Provost 19-90, Preston Stansel 11-31, Hale Chargois 6-3, Daniel Feenstra 4-30. Northglenn: JJ Gomez 20-180, Devin Scudder 7-30, Carlos Flores 7-20, Iram Macias 3-(minus-6)
PASSING — Boulder: Hale Chargois 8-16-0-59, Preston Stansel 3-5-0-36 Northglenn: Devin Scudder 10-22-0-62
RECEIVING — Boulder: Drake Arthur 4-26, Cade Travis 3-43, Jackson Wyatt 2-9, Daniel Feenstra 1-14, Preston Stansel 1-3 Northglenn: Hector Ortega 5-34, Nick Watkins 2-24, Iram Macias 1-9, Ethan Lucero 1-(minus-2), Carlos Flores 1-(minus-3)