BOULDER — There are different issues involved depending on the year, anything from quality of opponents to injuries to other factors.
But whatever the reasons, there’s no mistaking the trend that’s developed over each of the last five seasons for the Boulder High football team: Win early in the season, lose after that.
This year, to say the least, injuries have played a major role in the Panthers having lost four in a row after starting the season 2-0. The latest defeat — 49-8 — came on a cold, wet Friday night at Recht Field at the hands of No. 5-ranked Ralston Valley.
Having played six quarterbacks this season as one after another has gone down — including original starter TJ Patterson in Week 2 — and having lost many other players, Boulder was not in position to match up with one of the better teams in the state on Friday.
And that was before four other Panthers had to be helped off the field in the first 14 minutes or so against Ralston Valley, including Friday’s QB starter River Addison.
“Our backup to River got hurt before River did, then River got hurt, and Phil (Swisher, who was next in line) hadn’t taken a lot of snaps this week,” said BHS coach Jeff Santee. “He’s just coming back off a concussion and he’s back in there. It’s been crazy — the craziest thing I’ve seen in 20 years.”
And that craziness has been a big factor in BHS’ recent losing streak. And this season has fallen into a very similar pattern as recent years.
In the previous four seasons under Santee, this is how BHS has fared: 2008, 3-1 then lost the last six games; 2009, 2-0 then lost seven of the last eight; 2010, 3-1 then lost five of the last six; 2011, 3-0 then lost six of the last seven.
But the Panthers (2-4, 0-2 in North Metro League action) believe this year can turn out different if they get some of their key players back soon, including Patterson and running back Demetrius Kennedy. Kennedy said Friday night he plans to start practicing today after being hurt in Game 4.
“If we get some of those guys back, we’ll be playing the same way we were at the beginning of the season,” said Luis Escobar, who rushed for 110 yards on Friday, and scored Boulder’s only TD in the waning minutes.
But Ralston Valley (5-1, 2-0), which is averaging more than 37 points per game, had its way and then some against BHS. The Mustangs scored touchdowns all six times they had the ball in the first half, with QB Jacob Knipp completing five passes for 223 yards and TDs of 31, 37, 89 and 44 yards — all before being pulled in the second period.
On the other side of the ball, Addison was sacked four times in Boulder’s first two possessions before being injured on a second-quarter running play. And Swisher threw three interceptions.
“We’ve been struggling obviously with injuries, and we also haven’t been playing well,” Santee said. “We can’t just blame it on guys being out. We can’t sit around and feel sorry for ourselves and we can’t do anything about the games we’ve lost.
“But the good news is I think we’re going to get a lot of our (injured) guys back.”
Boulder will return to action Thursday at 6 p.m. when it plays Arvada West at the North Area Athletic Complex.
RALSTON VALLEY 49, BOULDER 8
At Boulder HS
Ralston Valley (5-1, 2-0) 20 22 0 7 — 49
Boulder (2-4, 0-2) 0 0 0 8 — 8
RV — Hunter Price 31 pass from Jacob Knipp (run fail)
RV — Andrew Wingard 37 pass from Knipp (Knipp run)
RV –Price 89 pass from Knipp (run fail)
RV — Keenan Gibson 44 pass fromm Knipp (pass fail)
RV — Jakob Buys 4 run (Jon Baumann run)
RV — Buys 1 run (Noah Wells run)
RV — Anthony Falbo 1 run (Collin Root kick)
Boulder — Luis Escobar 28 run (Collin Heimbach pass from Lois Guegan)
First downs 11 11
Rushes-yards 22-114 34-110
Passing yards 223 85
Comp-Att-Int 5-7-0 6-16-3
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 5-1
Penalties-Yards 1-5 2-10
RUSHING — Ralston Valley: Vessa 3-30, Falbo 2-22, Jus. Buys 2-20, Jak. Buys 4-14, Svejcar 1-8, Wingard 2-7, Bartusiak 1-5, Clark 1-4, Baumann 1-3, Leech 1-3, Knipp 1-0, Raub 1-(-1), Booton 1-(-1); Boulder: Escobar 17-110, Swisher 6-14, Guegan 1-3, Pettit 2-(-6), Addison 8-(-11).
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Ralston Valley: Knipp 5-7-0, 223 yards; Boulder: Swisher 4-12-3, 56 yards; Addison 2-4-0, 29 yards.
RECEIVING — Ralston Valley: Price 2-120, Gibson 2-66, Wingard 1-37; Boulder: Escobar 2-12, Lurie 1-43, Heimbach 1-20, Guegan 1-9.