After 250 miles and four hours of sitting on a bus bound for Palisade, the Holy Family football team stepped on the field a little flat Friday evening.
Tigers coach Mike Gabriel knew the distance was going to be a tough feat to overcome.
In addition to a long journey and playing on foreign turf, the game was a battle of two 3A ranked squads, with Holy Family at No. 2 and Palisade ranked No. 5, according to AP standings. And it proved to be too much as the Tigers fell for the first time this season, 42-34 to the Bulldogs.
“It took us a while to get rolling after a four-hour bus ride,” said Gabriel, whose team fell to 2-1. “They had a 14-0 lead on us for a while in the first half, and then it went back and forth for the second half.”
After falling behind by two scores, Holy Family battled back, getting a 50-yard scoring toss from Chris Helbig to Joe Golter in the second quarter. Later that quarter, the Tigers would also find an opportunity for points on the board in a Chris Helbig to Kyle Helbig short pass.
For the remainder of the game, Holy Family and Palisade exchanged scores, alternating until time expired. However, the first quarter deficit would end up being the difference maker for the Bulldogs (3-0) victory.
After setting the Colorado single-game passing record with a 607 yard performance in week one, quarterback Chris Helbig had another big game, finishing with 362 yards and three touchdowns. Helbig now has 16 passing touchdowns through three games, another state record.
Michael Zeman and Bryce Buderas also were strong offensive threats, combining for 329 rushing yards.
Despite the loss, Gabriel and the Tigers remain optimistic for the rest of the season.
“Non-league games are tough for a reason,” said Gabriel, whose team went 8-3 in 2014. “We are going to focus on a win next week, and continue on a strong season from there.”
The Tigers will be back at home next Friday night hosting Frederick for their first league game of the season. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
PALISADE 42, HOLY FAMILY 34
At Palisade HS
Holy Family 0 14 14 6 — 34 Palisade 6 15 14 7 — 42
Palisade — Price 44 pass from Riddle (kick failed)
Palisade — Price 11 run (two-point conversion) Holy Family — Golter 50 pass from C. Helbig (Elliot kick) Palisade — Maestas 5 run (PAT) Holy Family— K. Helbig 6 pass from C. Helbig (Elliot kick)
Palisade — Riddle 1 run (PAT) Holy Family — Buderus 38 pass from C. Helbig (Elliot kick) Palisade — Riddle 1 run (PAT) Holy Family — Zeman 22 run (Elliot kick)
Palisade — Maestas 87 run (PAT) Holy Family — Buderas 1 pass from C. Helbig (two-point conversion failed)
RUSHING — Holy Family: C. Helbig 12-47, Montoya 2-0, Zeman 18-169.
PASSING — Holy Family: C. Helbig 28-44-1-362
RECEIVING — Holy Family: Buderus 13-160, K.Helbig 2-15, Montoya 2-14, Zeman 5-51, Golter 4-86, Giron 1-16.
Amanda Cary: , firstname.lastname@example.org