LONGMONT — After all the hard work and hardship, the weather of all things threatened to rob the Longmont Christian football team of its cherished home playoff.
But resolute in their desire to host, the Warriors players spent four hours before Friday night’s cross-divisional game shoveling snow off the Sandstone Park Fields.
Once the field was cleared and the home game secure, the Warriors fell 57-13 to the Haxtun Fightin’ Bulldogs. The outcome was undesirable. But if they were going to end their season on Friday, the Warriors weren’t going to let 5 inches of snow deny them the chance to end it on their home field.
“Every singles one of us is dedicated to the team, not just ourselves. We showed it this year,” senior tailback Aaron Rodarte said. “We just had to have that home game. So, we all just pitched in and got this field shoveled in a few hours.”
Battling a rash of injuries to start the season, including all-conference linebacker James Dick and quarterback Michael Rampson, the Warriors started 0-3. They were outscored 148-22 during the rough stretch.
Hitting their conference schedule, the Warriors turned things around to win five straight, including a 4-0 division sweep to win the North Conference I-25 Division title.
Playing their first season in the I-25, the Warriors’ goal was to win it. They did. A win Friday would have boosted them into the 16-team 8-man state playoffs.
“Our goal was to win the league and we did that this year. Obviously, we wanted to win a playoff game and make it to the quarterfinals and it’s rough to see it end,” Flowers said. “But it has to end some time. Everyone walks off the field at the end of the year.”
Against the Bulldogs, the Warriors kept the game close in the first quarter despite turning the ball over twice. But tackling bigger, stronger players is tougher for four quarters than it is for one.
The Warriors forced the Bulldogs into fourth-and-8 situations twice in the opening frame. The Bulldogs, however, came up with big pass plays to cover the long yardage.
The Bulldogs took the momentum in the second quarter, outscoring the Warriors 30-0 to take a 44-7 halftime lead.
Rampson accounted for both Longmont Christian scores, including a 14-yard touchdown pass to Rodarte in the first quarter and a 53-yard touchdown run in the fourth. Junior tailback Parker Liske was the Warriors’ leading rusher with 61 yards on 10 carries.
Warriors head coach Jerry Martin said the Warriors did a good job in their first season not in the Plains Division.
“I’m very proud of these guys. As freshmen, these guys were the four seed, like Haxtun, and we went and beat the one seed from what was the Central,” Martin said. “The Plains is a great league and we still feel like we can play football decently. We did what we expected to do and we got better every week and that’s your goal as a coach.”
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Haxtun 57, Longmont Christian 13
At Sandstone Ranch Park
Haxtun (5-4, 2-3) 14 30 6 7 — 57
Longmont Christian (5-4, 4-0) 7 0 0 6 — 13
Haxtun — Weston Slyards 1 run (Lane Anderson kick).
Haxtun — Brandon Hinde 31 pass from Brady Heinz (Anderson kick).
Longmont Christian — Aaron Rodarte 14 pass from Michael Rampson (Josiah Bolyard kick).
Haxtun— Hinde 20 pass from Heinz (kick missed).
Haxtun— Salyards 85 pass from Heinz (kick missed).
Haxtun— Bryce Bivens safety.
Haxtun— Salyards 44 run (Anderson kick).
Haxtun— Jake Gerk 28 pass from Heinz (Anderson kick).
Haxtun— Hinde safety.
Haxtun — Garrett Shafer 7 run (kick missed).
Longmont Christian — Rampson 53 run (2-point pass incomplete).
Haxtun — Brady Edwards 6 run (Anderson kick).
First downs 21 9
Rushes-yards 32-123 31-198
Passing yards 68 221
Comp-Att-Int 8-14-1 8-20-2
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 5-1
Penalties-Yards 3-25 3-36
RUSHING — Haxtun: Ryan Nelson 9-37, Weston Salyards 6-59, Jake Gerk 3-(-5), Tyler Horalek 4-13, Garrett Shafer 3-21, Brady Edwards 2-11, Bryce Bivens 4-62; Longmont Christian: Michael Rampson 16-49, Parker Liske 10-61, Aaron Rodarte 6-13.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Haxtun: Brady Heinz 7-12-1-221, Rece Coffin 1-2-0-6; Longmont Christian: Michael Rampson 8-19-2-68, Aaron Rodarte 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Haxtun: Weston Salyards 2-122, Brandon Hinde 3-61, Kyle Pierce 1-10, Jake Gerk 1-28, Brady Edwards 1-6 Longmont Christian: Aaron Rodarte 3-23, Cole Moffitt 1-20, Parker Liske 3-21, .