LOVELAND — Dominating offensive line play and plenty of rushing yards to boot, third-ranked Broomfield looked to be on top of the world Thursday night.
The Eagles were, for the most part, with the team’s 34-13 Class 4A nonconference win over Loveland marking the beginning of a win streak. The victory also came by the widest margin Broomfield has produced this season. But a strikingly quiet huddle after the game suggested that not everything went Broomfield’s way.
And it did not, with the Eagles exiting Ray Patterson Field with Ryan McCulley on crutches.
“Our trainer said it was his MCL,” Broomfield coach Gary Davies said. “And he was talking that he’d be out five to six weeks.”
Broomfield (2-1) lost its starting running back heading into halftime after he had done wild damage to Loveland’s defense.
McCulley finished the night with 94 yards on 13 carries, with the fleet-footed senior taking advantage of every nook and cranny his line opened against the Indians (1-2). The back was on from the moment he first touched the ball, capping his team’s convincing opening drive with a 5-yard touchdown on a sweep.
His injury came on what turned out to be only series where the Eagles had to punt. The possession also saw McCulley’s backup go down, with D.J. Zissimos tweaking his ankle.
“We lost them both in a three-play span,” Davies said.
Broomfield dipped into its defense after the injuries, drawing on the powerful Connor Eakes to carry the ball. The usual linebacker finished the night with 37 yards and a touchdown. And Eakes, if the healing process takes some time for Zissimos, might be the man for the foreseeable future, Davies said.
With the way Broomfield’s line blocked and the way Eakes punished tacklers, his coach had little doubt about the senior keeping the Eagles’ run game moving.
“Connor Eakes is no slouch, we’ll ride him as long as we have too,” Davies said. “He’s a great competitor, he’ll do what he needs to do.”
Despite the sullenness from losing the McCulley, the Eagles were pleased with the headway they made in the rout. Angelo Perez, for one, was shocked at how fast and furious the team produced on offense, rolling into halftime with a 27-0 lead.
“We knew we could score on them, but I didn’t think it would come so fast,” the quarterback said. “Our line did a great job of blocking and opening huge holes.”
Broomfield’s bread and butter Thursday, was its rushing game. But when the Eagles turned to the air, they produced fireworks.
Perez finished the night with 151 yards on nine completions with his biggest bomb of the night coming on his only touchdown pass. The senior hit receiver Gian Panicucci, who beat his man across the middle of the field for a 31-yard score.
“It felt good to come out here and hand some big numbers up,” Perez said. “We’re getting a feel for our offense and things are starting to click.”
Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.
BROOMFIELD 34, LOVELAND 13
At Ray Patterson Field
Broomfield (2-1) 14 13 0 7 — 34
Loveland (1-2) 0 0 6 7 — 13
Broomfield — Ryan McCulley 5 run (Pat LaLancette kick).
Brooomfield — Angelo Perez 15 run (LaLancette kick).
Boomfield — D.J. Zissimos 4 run (kick failed).
Broomfield — Gian Paniccuci 31 pass from Perez (LaLancette kick).
Loveland — Tanner Berry 4 pass from Mike Zweigle (pass failed).
Broomfield — Connor Eakes 2 run (LaLancette kick).
Loveland — John Freismuth 13 pass from Mike Zweigle (Brad Parsek kick).
First downs 15 14
Rushes-yards 31-194 36-126
Passing yards 151 131
Comp-Att-Int 9-11-0 10-15-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 3-30 3-15
RUSHING — Broomfield: McCulley 13-94, Perez 6-51, Eakes 8-37, Combs 2-6, Zissimos 1-4, Hawkins 1-2; Loveland: Dunkelman 5-14, Garcia 4-12, McCloughan 7-35, Weinmaster 7-29, Zweigle 10-13, Vasquez 1-8, Hecker 1-15.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Broomfield: Perez 9-11-0, 151 yards; Loveland: Zweigle 9-14-0, 117 yards, McCloughan 1-1-0, 14 yards.
RECEIVING — Broomfield: Panicucci 3-52, Perse 1-12, Zissimos 1-28, McCulley 1-8, Ferguson 3-51 (receptions-yards); Loveland: Freismuth 5-44, Vasquez 3-39, McCloughan 1-31, Konitshek 1-17.