LITTLETON — After an unforeseen break just as the football season was getting into full swing, Broomfield was getting a bit antsy.
The Eagles, a perennial contender in Class 4A, didn’t expect to head into the latter portion of September with zero wins. But two losses to potent 5A squads and a flood-related cancellation left Broomfield winless entering Friday night.
Opposing Littleton, meanwhile, welcomed the Eagles to their home turf with four games already under their belt. Despite a hint of preseason-like rust, however, Broomfield clearly was the more polished team. The Eagles are winless no longer after a 45-7 victory at Littleton Public Schools Stadium that spoiled the Lions’ homecoming.
“All those days off, mentally, physically, everything gets rusty,” said Broomfield running back Noah Tripp, who scored three touchdowns on short runs. “You just have to come back. We’re not used to (being winless) here at Broomfield, so we were all scratching for a win.”
Senior defensive back Luke McAninch capped the first half with a 47-yard interception return for a touchdown, and the Eagles were comfortably ahead 17-0 at the break. It served as the fulcrum moment.
“I usually line up a little bit inside, but they kept rolling out and throwing outside of me,” McAninch said. “So my coaches told me to spread out a little bit further, and it was right there. I was in perfect position to make that play.”
The Eagles (1-2) dropped a handful of passes and took awhile to generate any sustained drives, but such was to be expected after a weeklong layoff from practices. Because of the lengthy break, Eagles coach Gary Davies originally hoped to have the game moved to Saturday, but the stadium was booked, plus it was Littleton’s homecoming.
“It was good to win and it was good to get back with the kids,” Davies said. “We only had two practices going into this, but we weren’t going to use it as an excuse. I thought we were a little bit sluggish early on, but the second half we played really well I thought.”
Six-foot-4 quarterback Alec McClain had repeated success finding 6-5 wideout Dante Panicucci for a bevy of chain-moving receptions, as the Eagles used their passing game to set up the run with Tripp.
The Eagles surrendered a 99-yard kickoff return to Tre Blake for a Littleton TD, but Broomfield countered it with a 98-yarder by Jordan Xiong. Broomfield led 31-7 after the dueling kickoff returns.
The Eagles still figure to be a factor in the classification, but it took until Friday night for them to feel as if the season was actually rolling.
“We needed to get it, we got it, and now we can concentrate on the bunch of games we have left,” Tripp said.
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Broomfield 45, Littleton 7
At Littleton Public Schools Stadium
Broomfield (1-2) 3 14 14 14 — 45
Littleton (2-3) 0 0 7 0 — 7
Broomfield — Travis Frese 24 FG
Broomfield — Noah Tripp 4 run (Frese kick).
Broomfield — Luke McAninch 47 interception return (Frese kick).
Broomfield — Tripp 2 run (Frese kick).
Littleton — Tre Blake 99 kickoff return (T.R. Mitchell kick).
Broomfield — Jordan Xiong 98 kickoff return (Frese kick).
Broomfield — Tripp 1 run (Frese kick).
Broomfield — Benen Cousey 7 run (Bryan Tanigawa kick).
RUSHING — Broomfield: Tripp 14-65, Cousey 3-32, McCormick 2-21, McLain 5-13, Lederbrand 1-7, Sherwood 5-5, Stodden 1-0, Collison 1-(minus 1); Littleton: McGhee 10-54, Sonju 16-37, Pebworth 1-2, McNamee 7-(minus 12).
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Broomfield: McLain 10-23-0-171, McCormick 2-2-0-14 ; Littleton: McNamee 6-14-2-52, Bieber 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Broomfield: Panicucci 6-104, Wristen 2-54, Stodden 2-14, McAninch 1-13, Xiong 1-0; Littleton: Pebworth 2-12, Bieber 1-13, Timmermeyer 1-10, Blake 1-9, Sonju 1-8.