BRIGHTON — The start couldn’t have been better for the Boulder football team Friday night at Brighton High School. Unfortunately for the Panthers, it was all downhill from there.
Boulder scored the game’s first points 24 seconds into the contest, but that proved to be the Panthers’ lone highlight as Brighton pulled away for a 33-6 non-league victory.
“Right now we’re in our own way,” said Panthers coach Bob Simmons, whose team fell to 1-2. “Every time we have something happen good, we turn around and do something to negate it.”
Boulder, which was playing for the first time in 13 days and only had three days to prepare for the Bulldogs due to last week’s floods, was penalized more than 15 times, and Brighton’s no-huddle spread offense seemed to wear down the Panthers as the game wore on.
Bulldogs quarterback Tanner Pepin finished with 378 yards of total offense. After misfiring badly on four of his first five pass attempts, Pepin found a rhythm, connecting on nine consecutive attempts at one point in the first half.
“Once you hit one you just get in that groove and you get going,” said Pepin, who threw for 263 yards and two scores. “We noticed that (they didn’t have a lot of depth). In practice we really worked on that, that we’re going to stick to these formations and we’re going to go, go, go.”
Sophomore Todd Jones had another strong game for the Panthers, finishing with 192 yards rushing on 22 carries. He also showed a lot of toughness, taking several hard shots and returning to the game after having to be helped off midway through the third.
If there was a negative for Jones, it was that he fumbled twice, including on Boulder’s second series of the game. But Simmons knows he has something special to build around.
“TJ’s a good player, he took some hits but he’s got to learn to secure it and put it away,” Simmons said. “I like everything he does. I honestly do. I’d like for him to hold on to the ball more, but I like everything he does.”
Jones got the team off to a strong start, rumbling for an 80-yard score on the game’s second play from scrimmage to put Boulder on the board 24 seconds into the contest.
But the point after was blocked, the first of several misfires that saw the Panthers fall behind 17-6 by halftime.
Pepin found a wide-open Tristen Wells for a 20-yard score to give Brighton its first lead at 10-6 with 4:59 left in the second quarter, and then drove the Bulldogs 87 yards in 10 plays, culminating in a 3-yard Shane Golderman TD run, with 21 seconds left in the half to push the lead to 17-6.
Pepin had 174 yards passing and 66 yards rushing in the first half alone.
River Addison made a pair of spectacular catches on a Panthers drive early in the second quarter, including one for a 20-yard gain that gave Boulder a first-and-10 at the Brighton 34. But the Panthers lost 16 yards on the next three plays, and Addison’s fourth-down run on a fake-punt attempt was stopped well short, turning the ball back over to the Bulldogs.
With the North Metro League opener against Pomona a week away, Simmons said the Panthers have a lot to work on.
“As a football team we can’t have excuses,” Simmons said. “I saw too many penalties. I saw too many turnovers. And those are the kind of things we’re going to have to improve on.”
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Brighton 33, Boulder 6
At Brighton H.S.
Boulder (1-2) 6 0 0 0 — 6
Brighton (1-3) 3 14 7 9 — 33
Boulder — Todd Jones 80 run (kick failed).
Brighton — Tristin Wells 27 field goal.
Brighton — Wells 20 pass from Tanner Pepin (Wells kick).
Brighton — Shane Golderman 3 run (Wells kick).
Brighton — Kyle Swartz 7 run (Wells kick).
Brighton — Safety (Boulder intentional grounding in end zone).
Brighton — Golderman 17 pass from Pepin (Wells kick).
RUSHING — Boulder: Todd Jones 22-192, River Addison 1-4, Malcolm Patterson 7-(minus 4); Brighton: Tanner Pepin 21-115, Shane Golderman 4-26, Tommy Cruz 7-22, Tristin Wells 4-10, Nicolas Hawkins 1-9, Kyle Swartz 1-7.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Boulder: Malcolm Patterson 9-17-0-146; Brighton: Tanner Pepin 17-29-0 263.
RECEIVING — Boulder: Collin Heimbach 4-59, River Addison 3-78, Todd Jones 2-9; Brighton Tristin Wells 5-74, Michael Willis 4-53, Nathan Morales 3-80, Shane Golderman 2-27, Sam Kullberg 1-18, Joshua Sandoval 1-13, Tommy Cruz 1-(minus 3).