LOVELAND — It wasn’t exactly the start Broomfield coach Gary Davies and his staff had in mind on Friday night.
The 10th-seeded Eagles opened the Class 4A playoffs at Ray Patterson Field and after a quarter and a half found themselves in a 16-0 hole to seventh-seeded Loveland.
All that did was allow the Indians to pin their ears back on defense and take it to Alec McLain and the Broomfield offense.
Broomfield showed signs of life in the second half, but Loveland ultimately ended the Eagles’ season with a 33-6 decision and will move on to the quarterfinals to take on No. 2 Monarch. The Coyotes beat Vista Ridge.
“We just didn’t make plays and I think we had five or six drops,” Davies said. “It was one of those things, that once we did get things going, we got penalties. They were better than us, they played well.”
Loveland (9-1), which was supposed to play Broomfield in the washed out Week 3, set the tone early on defense and never allowed the Eagles to settle into any sort of rhythm. The Indians won the field position battle in the first quarter and took advantage of a short field on their second possession.
Stanly Garcia capped Loveland’s initial scoring drive, going in from five yards out after Loveland gouged the Broomfield defense with eight straight power runs.
As it would turn out, that would be all the Indians would need.
A 1 minute, 15 second stretch of time early in the second half, that would basically summarize the Eagles’ night, would add to the Loveland cushion. Backed up deep in their own end and forced to punt, the Eagles snapped the ball out of the end zone, resulting in a safety.
After John Freismuth returned the safety kickoff 53 yards to the Broomfield 22-yard line, it took coach Wayne McGinn’s offense, which won the battle in the trenches for most of the night, six plays to get a touchdown run from all-purpose quarterback Mike Zweigle.
“Their front four was probably the best we have faced all year,” said McGinn, whose team moves to 9-1 with the victory. “Sometimes you just have to do other things and find different ways to win the ballgame. Our defense stepped up and probably played their best game all year.”
Despite the first half domination, the Eagles were still only down two scores at the half. The Indians gave Broomfield a gift early in the third quarter, when a Garcia fumble was recovered by Broomfield at the 11-yard line and on the next play Jack Sherwood scored to make it a 16-6 game.
On the scoring play, McLain limped off, leaving Logan McCormick as the quarterback to try and execute the two-point conversion. A wayward snap to McCormick resulted in big loss and the score remained the same.
The Eagles offense never hit for the big play in the air or on the ground. McLain, who rarely had a clean pocket to throw from, finished 11 for 35 for 115 yards and two interceptions. He lead the rushing attack with 70 yards on 13 carries and Noah Tripp had 60 yards on 14 carries.
“The thing with game like this is that they are a very good team and that is why they are in the playoffs. All the teams in the playoffs are bigger and better,” Tripp said. “They got up early and they kept the gas on. Our defense couldn’t come back, our offense couldn’t answer and we just self-destructed a little bit.”
Zweigle, who would finish with 152 yards on 18 carries and capped his night on the ground with an 18-yard dash, would single-handedly answer back for Loveland on the next drive. A 49-yard scamper set the Indians up at the Eagles 5-yard line and Zweigle would hit an open Garcia for the score.
“They deserved to win the ball game,” Davies said. “I’m proud of our kids and I always am.”
After the game, Davies kept the postgame speech to his team short and sweet and urged his underclassmen to remember the feeling.
“There is not a lot you can say, and when kids care it hurts and you can’t take that away,” he said. “We are young and they have a lot of work to do and if we do that, we can be pretty good.”
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Loveland 33, Broomfield 6
At Ray Patterson Field
Broomfield (6-4) 0 0 6 0 — 6
Loveland (9-1) 7 9 14 3 — 33
Loveland — Stanly Garcia 5 run (Jayce Melby kick).
Loveland — Safety, ball snapped out of the end zone.
Loveland — Mike Zweigle 6 run (Melby kick).
Broomfield — Jack Sherwood 11 run (run failed).
Loveland — Garcia 5 pass from Zweigle (Melby kick).
Loveland — Zweigle 18 run (Melby kick).
Loveland — FG Melby 27.
RUSHING — Broomfield: Alec McLain 13-70; Noah Tripp 14-60; Jack Sherwood 4-30; Loveland: Mike Zweigle 18-152; Jacob Weinmaster 5-23; Ryan McCloughan 6-18; Stanly Garca 4-5; Marcus Vasquez 2-0; Kenneth Pomponio 1-0.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Broomfield: McLain 11-35-2-115; Loveland: Zweigle 7-13-0-97; Weinmaster 0-1-0-0; Freismuth 0-1-0-0; McCloughan 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Broomfield: Dante Panicucci 5-44; Michael Wristen 2-42; Simeon Combs 2-26; Sherwood 2-3; Loveland: McCloughan 3-25; Garcia 2-40; Tanner Berry 1-27; John Freismuth 1-5.