DENVER — Next man up. That’s what the Broomfield football team was saying over and over throughout Saturday’s bittersweet win over Montbello.
After the Eagles lost both starting quarterback Angelo Perez and backup Simean Combs in the first quarter, the next man up was Connor Eakes. Normally employing a spread offense, the Eagles had to revert to their meat-and-potatoes attack that features Eakes’ bruising running style.
The third-string, short-yardage quarterback ran the ball 30 times for 162 yards and led the No. 1-ranked Eagles to a 31-22 victory against their 4A Mountain League foe.
“We had a few injuries early so we decided to just line up and run the ball,” said Eakes, who ran for three touchdowns and threw another. “It wasn’t pretty. But we got it done.”
Perez left the game with a knee injury after throwing a 22-yard pass during the first drive of the game. Combs left the game with a shoulder injury after a long run later in the first quarter.
Senior starting left tackle Justin DiMichele hurt his knee, also in the first quarter. Normally an inside linebacker, Drew Davies filled in at left tackle for DiMichele.
Defensively, the Eagles started the game without their best player. Senior defensive lineman Andrew McLean blew out his knee against Standley Lake last week and is done for the season. Defensive coordinator Tom Burgesser was even standing in for Eagles head coach Gary Davies, who has been placed on paid administrative leave by Boulder Valley School District.
After the game, Burgesser said it was too early to tell how long, if at all, the injured players would be out. But with players and coaches filling in all over the place, Burgesser said the power package was a familiar fallback against the Warriors.
“When we get inside the 10 on short-yardage, we’ll go into that. Connor is our quarterback for that,” Burgesser said. “Obviously, he did a great job running that.”
Montbello showed it had no intention of laying down for the top-ranked Eagles, recovering an onside kick to start the game. But the Eagles still took a 21-7 lead into the halftime break.
Broomfield built a 31-7 lead before the Warriors scored 15 points in the fourth quarter to put a little pressure on the Eagles late.
Eagles 6-foot-4 senior wideout Dan Perse caught two passes for 51 yards, including a leaping 10-yard fade pass from Eakes and a 41-yard catch against a double-team on a ball thrown by Caleb Cox.
Perse, who also plays linebacker, said the Eagles defense was surprised at how physical the Warriors were up front. But as the Eagles adjusted, they were able to bottle up the running game. They held the Warriors to 68 yards on 25 carries and forced five punts and a turnover on downs.
While the Eagles controlled the Warriors’ offense, they controlled the game with their own. With four different quarterbacks combining on just six passes, the Eagles ran the ball 59 times for 278 yards.
“We put our Tim Tebow in there and he took some time off the clock and really ran hard,” Perse said of Eakes, who wears number 15. “That helped us a lot.”
The Eagles came away with a win on Saturday but it was a bad time to lose so many starters. The Eagles host third-ranked Monarch next week.
“It’s just one game at a time,” Perse said. “There’s nothing we can do about injuries now. We just gotta take them on.”
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BROOMFIELD 31, MONTBELLO 22
At All City Field in Denver
Broomfield (7-1, 3-0) 7 14 3 7 — 31
Montbello (2-6, 0-3) 0 7 0 15 — 22
Broomfield — Connor Eakes 2 run (Pat Lalancette kick).
Broomfield — Dan Perse 10 pass from Eakes (Lalancette kick).
Montbello — Jante Gadson 33 pass from Alpoirtier Thompson (Victor Caldera).
Broomfield — Eakes 1 run (Lalancette kick).
Broomfield — Lalancette 23 field goal.
Broomfield — Eakes 2 run (Lalancette kick).
Montbello — Marquille Jones 13 pass from Thompson (Caldera kick).
Montbello — Jalon Martin 3 pass from Thompson (Gadson 2-point run).
First downs 19 10
Rushes-yards 59-278 25-68
Passing yards 90 170
Comp-Att-Int 4-6-0 14-21-0
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 5-40 6-70
RUSHING — Broomfield: Angelo Perez 1-3, Dylan Plane 2-18, Ryan McCulley 11-64, Connor Eakes 30-162, Simean Combs 2-(-3), Tanner Schnurr 1-17, D.J. Zissimos 6-12, Kyle Holbrook 1-7, Caleb Cox 3-(-10), Connor Gee 2-8; Montbello: Alpoirtier Thompson 7-9, Jarell Nettles 9-19, Jalon Martin 4-23, Gerardo Barraza 2-5, Jante Gadson 2-7, Giovanni Torres 1-5.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Broomfield: Eakes 1-1-0-10, Perez 1-1-0-22, Combs 1-3-0-17, Cox 1-1-0-41; Montbello: Thompson 14-21-0-170.
RECEIVING — Broomfield: Dan Perse 2-51, Gian Panicucci 1-22, Michael Wristen 1-17; Montbello: Jones 7-93, Nettles 1-(-3), Gadson 4-69, Barraza 2-11.