LOVELAND — Football coaches ask for the proverbial four quarters of production all the time, but the Niwot High School squad needed just a quarter of a quarter to inflict the necessary damage Friday night.
Taking on winless Thompson Valley, the Cougars scored three touchdowns in the final 3 minutes, 34 seconds of the second quarter to build a lead that would hold up in a 20-8 victory at Patterson Stadium. The Cougars are now 1-4 in the 4A Northern Conference and 2-7 overall and get a measure of revenge for losing to the Eagles (0-5, 0-9) a season ago.
Dillon Manzanares came back from an injury to rush for 101 yards on 10 carries, including a 76-yard sprint around the right side for the game’s first points. Soon after, on a fourth-and-11 play, Elijah Noterman lofted a 36-yard halfback pass for a TD, and just before halftime Nate Merriman found Cahill Kelleghan for a 6-yard TD pass.
Niwot made it interesting by giving the Eagles a short field on two occasions after the break, but the home team mismanaged both possessions. Thompson Valley did score on a 70-yard drive early in the fourth quarter, but fumbles were enough to short-circuit two more drives as the Cougars held firm the rest of the way.
“It was a rough start to the season after we had to forfeit (a victory against Adams City), and everything seemed to snowball downhill. We wanted to get back up with a conference win,” said Noterman, who had two interceptions and completed two passes for 78 yards. “There was a lot of mud, so receivers couldn’t run as fast a route, so I just watched the quarterback’s eyes and got lucky. The (halfback pass), we haven’t tried that often. When we have, it was open. We decided to try it, throw it up there and see what happens, and it worked out.”
Nick Stager did a nice job running the ball late in the fourth quarter, bashing out a couple of first downs and closing with 46 yards on 16 carries.
Niwot 20, Thompson Valley 8
At Patterson Stadium
Niwot (2-7, 1-4) 0 20 0 0 — 20
T. Valley (0-9, 0-5) 0 0 0 8 — 8
Niwot — Dillon Manzanares 76 run (Tommy Dyer kick), 3:34.
Niwot — Max McCaddon 36 pass from Elijah Noterman (kick failed), 1:26.
Niwot — Cahill Kelleghan 6 pass from Nate Merriman (Dyer kick), :24.
TV — Spencer Shook 2 run (Drew Meintzer run), 10:21.
First downs 12 17
Rushes-yards 39-157 40-173
Passing yards 119 132
Comp-Att-Int 6-14-1 13-32-2
Punts-Avg. 5-27.7 4-29.0
Fumbles-Lost 4-3 5-2
Penalties-Yards 3-25 10-99
RUSHING — Niwot: Manzanares 10-101, Nick Stager 16-46, Jake Sarosi 5-8, Bryan Meek 1-6, Noterman 1-0, Merriman 6-minus-4; Thompson Valley: Shook 18-55, Jahan Aslami 11-47, Daniel Bebo 1-45, Lee Chieppo 3-14, Josh Strobel 3-10, Oby Rios 2-5, Gabe Garcia 1-0, Meintzer 1-minus-3.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Niwot: Merriman 4-12-1-41, Noterman 2-2-0-78; Thompson Valley: Shook 13-32-2-132.
RECEIVING — Niwot: McCaddon 2-76; Kelleghan 2-27, Sarosi 2-14; Thompson Valley: Meintzer 5-49, Rios 4-31, Darryn Highland 2-31, Bebo 2-21.