BROOMFIELD — Holy Family football coach Mike D. Gabriel knew exactly what Palisade was all about.
The Bulldogs, an annual challenger from the Western Slope, are nearly a mirror image of what Discovery Canyon brought to the table one week earlier.
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
The Tigers learned their lesson from the week before — a 44-28 loss — and bounced back with a 53-21 victory over Palisade in a Class 3A battle of top 10’s at Mike G. Gabriel Stadium.
“I don’t want to say we questioned them, but we challenged their heart after the way they played last week,” said coach Gabriel, whose No. 7-ranked team in the AP media poll improved to 2-1. “They showed what they are capable of tonight.”
Holy Family jumped out to an early lead on the Bulldogs behind the aerial mastery of junior quarterback Chris Helbig and his complement of worthy targets.
The Tigers made Palisade pay for fumbling the opening kickoff. Two plays later Helbig hooked up with Weston Dinsmore from 35 yards out.
Two possessions later Helbig hit Chanson Segeth from 36 yards out and the Tigers had it rolling.
“We came out strong and showed them what we were capable of,” said Helbig, who finished 18 of 32 for 339 yards and four touchdowns. “We wanted to punch them in the mouth first and we did that tonight.”
Palisade found its rhythm in the second quarter and cut the lead to 16-14 on back-to-back touchdowns. Caleb Clarkson went in from 10 ya
rds out and then Bulldogs quarterback Matt Sorenson hit Eastin Woods on a wheel rout for a 58-yard score.
But unlike last week, the Tigers had an answer.
After Helbig picked off Sorenson, Holy Family went 55 yards and Ryan Younggreen, who was held in check last week, scored the first of his two 3-yard touchdown runs to stretch the lead back to 24-14 after the 2-point conversion.
The Tigers got the ball back with 40 seconds to play on their own 3-yard line before the half and Helbig, who finished with 277 yards passing in the first half, made the Bulldogs pay for a post-play unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
On the last play of the half, Helbig kept the play alive by dodging several would-be defenders, created some space, and then spotted Bryce Buderus in the corner of the end zone for a 37-yard score and a 32-14 lead.
“We were talking about kicking a field goal, but coach looked over at me and said just make a play,” Helbig said. “Our line did a great job of giving me time, I was able to move the defense and saw Bryce in the back of the end zone and thought I’d heave it up.”
Holy Family outscored Palisade 14-0 in the third quarter on another Helbig-to-Dinsmore connection followed by a Younggreen scoring run.
When all was said and done and the dust cleared on another video game-like effort from the Tigers offense, the numbers were staggering all the way around. In addition to Helbig’s numbers, Younggreen finished with 158 yards on 24 carries. Dinsmore caught six passes for 114 yards and Segeth finished with 97 yards on five receptions.
Even more important was the effort of the defense and the special teams. One week after surrendering 440 yards to the Thunder on the ground, the defense, which also scored on a Ben Lavoie fumble recovery in the final minute, cut that number in half on Friday night. Palisade still rushed for 224 hard-fought yards.
“It did help us to have it two weeks in a row, but I think our kids got a wake-up call last week,” Gabriel said. “They weren’t as good as they thought they were and they kind of bought in to what we as coaches were telling them and we had a great week of practice.”
Holy Family will open up 3A Northern League play next Friday night on the road at Frederick.
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Holy Family 53, Palisade 21
At Holy Family
Palisade (2-1) 0 14 0 7 — 21
Holy Family (2-1) 16 16 14 7 — 53
Holy Family — Weston Dinsmore 35 pass from Chris Helbig (Joey Golter pass from Helbig).
Holy Family — Chanson Segeth 36 pass from Helbig (Ryan Younggreen run).
Palisade — Caleb Clarkson 10 run (Marcus Combs kick).
Palisade — Eastin Woods 58 pass from Matt Sorenson (Combs kick).
Holy Family — Younggreen 3 run (Segeth pass from Helbig).
Holy Family — Bryce Buderus 37 pass from Helbig (Dinsmore pass from Helbig).
Holy Family — Dinsmore 14 pass from Helbig (pass failed).
Holy Family — Younggreen 3 run (Helbig run).
Palisade — Woods 1 run (Combs kick).
Holy Family — Ben Lavoie 10 fumble recovery (Helbig kick).
RUSHING — Palisade: Eastin Woods 10-84; Matt Sorenson 18-83; Quincy Campbell 11-30; Caleb Clarkson 4-24; Cody Latham 2-3; Holy Family: Ryan Younggreen 24-158; Chris Helbig 8-25; Weston Dinsmore 3-15; Matt Durnford 2-6; Michael Zeman 1-2
PASSING — Palisade: Sorenson 3-6-1-86; Woods 0-1-0-0; Holy Family: Helbig 18-32-0-339.
RECEIVING — Palisade: Woods 2-64; Latham 1-22; Holy Family: Dinsmore 6-114; Chanson Segeth 5-97; Bryce Buderus 3-71; Joey Golter 2-40; Younggreen 2-17.