LONGMONT — The preseason hype for Silver Creek moving up to Class 4A was legitimate, given their powerful, multi-faceted mode of attack few 3A teams ever learned how to stop.
That’s all the more reason why Thursday night’s lopsided 48-14 loss to 3A Discovery Canyon in the 2014 season opener — a dud on many levels for the Raptors — was so surprising.
A young team that still is expected to compete in the Northern League was bulldozed by Thunder back Alex Weber and quarterback Andrew Hall, and the Raptors allowed 225 rushing yards in the first half alone in dropping their opener for the first time in three seasons.
“We had to have a first game to find out really what we are, and I think physically we’re there but mentally we’re not very close,” said head coach Mike Apodaca, whose team went 10-3 last year. “I’m not concerned. We’re a bit inexperienced, but the reality is we just have to accelerate the process. That’s what we’ll go back and do.”
It looked to be a ballgame at Everly-Montgomery Field after Austin Wood found Austin Hartman for a 71-yard touchdown pass just 55 seconds after Discovery Canyon had opened the scoring, but the Raptors had no answer for Weber and Hall after that. Weber finished with 133 yards, a lot of them carrying weight on his back, and Hall maneuvered his way for 83 yards and two scores.
The turning point came early, and three turnovers didn’t do the hosts any favors. Silver Creek had a punt blocked that led to the Thunder’s opening score, but on the Raptors’ third series of the game all three offensive plays went for negative yards to pin them back toward their own goal line for a punt.
Discovery Canyon took over at the Silver Creek 31-yard line, and Hall scrambled for 30 yards on the first play. Weber eventually punched it in two plays later, and the Thunder led 21-7 with plenty of time still to go in the opening stanza.
Scott Betzer’s 29-yard run on a pitch play to open the second quarter made it 28-7, and Discovery Canyon upped the lead to 35-7 by halftime by going 50 yards in about 1 minute, with Hall again finding a seam in the line to lumber into the end . There was some brief confusion after referees blew the whistle and initially waved off the touchdown for a Discovery Canyon time out, but the touchdown ended up standing without much resistance from Apodaca.
In his first game on varsity, Wood hit Hartman a few times for some big gains. Hartman had four catches for 150 yards as part of Wood’s 187 yards passing. But there were too many glaring errors beyond that. Bad snaps and penalties cost yardage, and the running attack never developed.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys out here, and our seniors need to lead better,” Hartman, one of 16 seniors, said after the game. “We have a lot of young guys up front … it’s not a size thing or an effort thing, but mental. We just have to mature everywhere.”
“Now, it’s up to them to establish their own identity,” Apodaca added. “These kids have been around winning football and they know you’re going to get everybody’s best. It’s how you respond to it, and we didn’t do that very well tonight. They came and hit us in the mouth, and we let things get away.”
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DISCOVERY CANYON 48, SILVER CREEK 14
At Everly-Montgomery Field
Discovery Canyon 21 14 13 0 — 48
Silver Creek 7 0 0 7 — 14
Discovery Canyon — Andrew Hall 4 run (Mitchell Carter kick). Silver Creek — Austin Wood 71 pass to Austin Hartman (Sean Peskin kick). DC — Alex Weber 19 run (Carter kick). DC — Weber 1 run (Carter kick).
Discovery Canyon — Scott Betzer 29 run (Carter kick). DC — Hall 8 run (Carter kick).
Discovery Canyon — Beau Beattie fumble recovery in end zone (Carter kick). DC — Spencer Chambers 3 run (kick failed).
Silver Creek — Wood 5 pass to Anthony Kasper (Peskin kick).
RUSHING — Discovery Canyon: Alex Weber 17-133, Andrew Hall 10-83, Spencer Chambers 6-41, Scott Betzer 5-56, Blake Lawrie 3-12, Matt Call 2-10, Josh Tomjack 1-0, Jacob Vonloh 1-(minus-3), Silver Creek: Caden Bradbury 10-55, Anthony Kasper 5-44, Austin Wood 8-(minus-46).
PASSING — Discovery Canyon: Hall 3-4-0-28. Silver Creek: Wood 10-22-1-187
RECEIVING — Discovery Canyon: Mitchell Carter 1-12, Chambers 1-6, Dylan Draper 1-10. Silver Creek: Austin Hartman 4-150, Mitch Webster 2-19, Kasper 2-16, Collin Peterson 2-1.