Football: Boulder takes over in second half to sink Northglenn

THORNTON — It didn’t take very long on Friday night for Boulder to define what its game with Northglenn was going to be all about.

Defense.

The Panthers, facing another 2-0 Flatirons League team, swarmed to the ball all night, shook off a sluggish offensive first half and eventually handled the Norsemen 30-10 at 5-Star Stadium.

“It’s a team sport and sometimes your defense has to carry you until your offense gets involved. That’s a character that we haven’t had on this football team in a long time, that is showing up,” said Boulder coach Bob Simmons, whose team improved to 3-2 overall and 3-0 within league play. “I thought we did a better job on offense in the second half, but we’ve got to find the magic formula for coming out and starting fast.”

It was a total team effort on the defense side of the ball for the Panthers. On Northglenn’s first offensive possession, junior defensive back Dana Sullivan intercepted Norse quarterback Kris Hassell and set his team up at the 6-yard line.

The Panthers couldn’t punch it in and had to settle for a 19-yard Ismael Bouchta field goal.

Sullivan, who late in the second quarter tracked Manny Contreras down from behind to save a touchdown, was all over the place on the second possession as well. After making a 10 yard tackle for loss on Chris Brown on first down, he nearly had interception No. 2 on third down.

The Panthers got big plays all around from Colton Brandt, Jack Braymiller, Ellis Carroll and Noah Artinger just to name a few in the first half.

“We always come out in the second half real strong, but we are trying to do that more in the first half,” said Brandt, who recovered a fumble and had a tackle for loss. “We need to have that momentum for the whole game to keep it going.”

If it was the defense that set the tone in the first half, it was the offense and TJ Jones that delivered the message on the first play of the second half.

After being held to just 18 yards on 14 carries by the Norse in the first 24 minutes, Jones exploded for a 65 yard run on the first play from scrimmage and a 10-3 lead for the Panthers felt even bigger than the one score difference.

“The biggest adjustment was up front,” Simmons said. “For whatever reason, we have to take a look at the film, but we need to figure out why we don’t come out and play physical and dominate the offensive line.”

The Panthers extended their lead to 17-3 on the next possession when quarterback Max Bazja hit a wide open Mikey Thompson — there wasn’t a Norse defender within 15 yards of him — for a 39-yard score.

Jones had a field day in the second half and would go on to score on runs of 78 and 12 yards to finish with a grand total of 229 yards on 33 carries.

Simmons, whose team will host Denver East next Friday night at Recht Field, was more than thrilled to get a big road win within the league.

“It keeps us undefeated and we can control our destiny,” Simmons said. “Now we just need to go and continue playing like we’ve been playing.”

Jon Yunt: yuntj@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/JonEYunt

Boulder 30, Northglenn 10

At 5-Star Stadium

Boulder(3-2, 3-0)

3
0
21
6

30

Northglenn (2-3, 2-1)

0
3
7
0

10

First quarter

Boulder — FG Ismael Bouchta 19.

Second quarter

Northglenn — FG Sergio Escobar 32.

Third quarter

Boulder — Todd Jones 65 run (Bouchta kick).

Boulder — Mikey Thompson 39 pass from Max Bajza (Bouchta kick).

Northglenn — Cole Anderson 2 run (Anderson kick).

Boulder — Jones 78 run (Bouchta kick).

Fourth quarter

Boulder — Jones 12 run (run failed).

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — Boulder: Todd Jones 33-229, Max Bazja 2-11. Northglenn: Kris Hassell 11-51, Cole Anderson 9-25, Anthony Rivera 8-21, Elias Fraire 2-2, Chris Brown 11-(minus-4).

PASSING — Boulder: Bazja 6-15-1-91. Northglenn: Hassell 10-22-1-100.

RECEIVING — Boulder: Mikey Thompson 4-79, Kobi Boynton 1-18, Jones 1-(minus-6). Northglenn: Manny Contreras 4-46, Emmie Montes 2-15, Brown 2-1, Rivera 1-28, JJ Guttierez 1-8.