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Football: Longmont offense gaining traction in Northern League

Jonathan Castner
Longmont quarterback Clint Sigg, seen here in action against Mountain View earlier this year, is leading a dynamic Trojans offensive attack.

LONGMONT — Only one football team in Colorado pops into mind when thinking of a squad whose offense is clicking as well as the Longmont Trojans.

And they happen to play at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

The Trojans have a long way to go to get the recognition statewide that pro team in orange and blue is garnering, but those who follow Class 4A football are beginning to realize how dangerous Longmont can be as Northern League play gets under way.

Averaging 465 yards a contest, Longmont leads all of 4A — conference foe Loveland is a close second at 446 yards per game. And, like the Indians, the Trojans have done right by those numbers by converting drives into points. Heading into Thursday’s conference tilt against Thompson Valley, Longmont is pushing 39 points per game, too.

And that is giving junior quarterback Clint Sigg and his teammates immeasurable hope for the possibilities of a championship run.

“We had a vision during spring and summer that we wanted to win state, and we knew what it was going to take,” said Sigg, in his first year as a starter on varsity. “Our coach (Doug Johnson) has been pushing us hard, but we know that’s what’s best for us. When we play hard, we’ve seen what we can do, so we just want to try and keep that up.”

The Trojans are getting the job done through the air and on the ground, and it started even in a Week 1 loss to Ralston Valley — a game that may have done more good than harm. Against the 5A powerhouse Mustangs, the Trojans put up 29 points and moved the ball exactly how they wanted to for starters.

Interestingly, that was Sigg’s second career start against the Mustangs, as he headed the offense in place of Forrest Wetterstrom (suspension) in the 2012 opener. That was a 41-3 blowout loss that set the tone to a 6-4 season and no playoff appearance.

Perhaps getting caught in the headlights, Sigg was just 3-of-8 for 33 yards and an interception in that game. Those days appear to be far behind him, though.

In his first year with the opportunity to see a majority of the snaps, Sigg has excelled with 571 passing yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.

“He’s got a chance to be the best quarterback I’ve ever had, and that’s saying something,” said coach Doug Johnson. “He’s making very good reads, getting the ball out, and running hard. He is a terrific leader and a terrific student. Every day, he’s helping out guys.”

“Playing behind Forrest was awesome, and he was a really great quarterback and watching all that he did really helped develop myself,” added Sigg. “I was just excited to take over the team this year, and lead us.

“If you look at last year, we haven’t changed that much. It’s all in execution, and I just think we are all hungrier this year. We know we didn’t get where we wanted to go.”

Sigg has been elusive as a rusher, too, gaining another 350 yards. Whereas Wetterstrom was more the do-it-all type last year (he ran for over 1,000 yards), Sigg has given way to a couple of designated running backs to help create more of an open attack. Eli Sullivan, whose impact as a freshman came more in the receiving game, has turned into a feisty tailback.

“I’ve seen potential in him ever since he got here, and he is a fantastic receiver as well,” Johnson said of Sullivan, who has 558 rushing yards so far. “For us to take the next step, we need to get him the ball in the passing game, to be honest. He’s a very good runner, and just good with the ball in his hands.”

Of course, none of the numbers would gleam so brightly if not for the experience provided by the offensive line. The systems are well in place for the four seniors and one junior that man the trenches, and Andy Lee said that parlays into success more often than not.

“It feels pretty good rolling over teams, and when we do good up front everything seems to click,” said Lee, one of the veteran linemen. “It’s pretty simple; what you see is what you get, and we’re going to run the same plays no matter who we face. Go ahead and try and stop us, because we are going to keep running the same thing. We all have experience, and now that we have that experience we are able to do it at a high rate of speed, and violently.”

“They’re knocking people off the ball, and I mean we’re getting surges of three yards their way every play. They’re the foundation of our offense,” Sigg added.

Johnson couldn’t allow for his offense to take all the credit for a 3-1 start, particularly with the way the defense set up the Trojans’ last contest — a 26-14 road win against Windsor. While he will continue to laud both sides of the ball for whatever successes the Trojans come upon — deservedly so — he knows he has something special in the unit that posts the points on the scoreboard.

“The offense has done its job, we’re running the ball really well, and Clint has been outstanding,” Johnson added.

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