ARVADA — One day it’s going to come together for the Boulder football team.
One day the Panthers are going to clean up all the little mistakes, all the false starts and unsportsmanlike penalties, the fumbled exchanges from center to quarterback, the lapses in pass coverage.
Some day Boulder’s young players are going to mature, use the experience they’re gaining and play like savvy veterans.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, that day wasn’t Friday.
Arvada West took advantage of Boulder’s mistakes and inexperience to score a 47-35 non-conference victory Friday afternoon at the North Area Athletic Complex. It was a game with strange ebbs and flows, a contest where Boulder (0-3) mightily struggled at times, and then looked like a team that was figuring a few things out at others.
“We just have to keep fighting to get better,” said first-year coach Vincent Smith. “We have young guys. That’s an excuse but it’s no excuse. We, as coaches, have to do a better job. We have to do a better job getting them ready, helping build their confidence, building those guys up and doing things the right way.”
Still, the truth of the matter is that Boulder only had six seniors on the roster, and started freshmen and sophomore in most key positions. And yet, every time Arvada West (2-1) threatened to blow the game open, the Panthers found a way to stay in the contest and was in striking distance as time wound down in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats only needed two snaps from scrimmage to get the first score of the game, a 58-yard touchdown strike from Johnny Krutsch to Chase Dixon, and then added another a short time later following a Boulder turnover.
The Panthers got some things working a short time later, and scored their first touchdown on a 6-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Cade Travis to Cole Peterson early in the second quarter.
Arvada West answered right back with its third score of the game, only to see Boulder take advantage of a fortuitous bounce to keep it a one score game.
Cade Travis tried to hit Ryan Travis on a slant out to the right, only to see the ball pop off of Ryan Travis’ hands high into the air. The ball finally settled in the hands of Jackson Wyatt about 10 yards further down the field, and he corralled it and raced 84 yards into the end zone, Cutting the deficit to 21-14 heading to the half.
That was the way the rest of the game went. Arvada West would score a couple of times and threaten to put the game away, only to see Boulder come back and keep it a ballgame. And every time the Panthers would build a little momentum, they would hurt themselves with silly penalties or turnovers.
Boulder had a lot of trouble holding on to the snap from center in the third quarter, and the team’s two quarterbacks combined for four second-half interceptions.
“Physically, is not the issue,” Smith said. “It’s just that we’re making a lot of mental mistakes. We’ve got guys running around open, and we’re dropping snaps and we’re misreading coverages, things like that. And that’s all part of being young and inexperienced.”
Freshman Drew Maier, who started the game under center but left after the second series, came back during the fourth quarter with the Panthers trailing 41-14 and threw a couple of touchdowns to Wilson Maier. Boulder also got a 35-yard fumble return for a touchdown from Patrick Fletcher midway through the fourth, just to keep a little heat on the Wildcats.
Despite the 0-3 start, Smith said the Panthers are staying positive, and he believes the team is trending in the right direction.
“Nobody here is giving up,” Smith said. “We see a bigger picture, and I’m here to coach a program and not a team.
“We’re going to take some lumps. But, the lump is worth the lesson. And we’re going to get better.”
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Arvada West 47, Boulder 35
At North Area Athletic Complex
Boulder 0 14 0 21 — 35
Arvada West 14 7 14 12 — 47
Arvada West — Chase Dixon 58 pass from Johnny Krutsch (Michael Vandeberg kick), 11:16. Arvada West — Tony Cass 9 run (Vandeberg kick), 5:31.
Boulder — Cole Peterson 6 pass from Cade Travis (Sam Lowery kick), 7:50. Arvada West — Cass 14 run (Vandeberg kick), 5:40. Boulder — Jackson Wyatt 84 pass from Travis (Lowery kick), 5:20.
Arvada West — Dixon 5 pass from Krutsch (Vandeberg kick), 6:39. Arvada West — Joey Perez 3 run (Vandeberg kick), 3:29.
Arvada West — Isaiah Ocana 29 pass from Krutsch (kick fail), 8:39. Arvada West — Tanner Spirek 28 run (kick blocked), 8:14. Boulder — Wilson Maier 9 pass from Drew Maier (Lowery kick), 5:34. Boulder — Patrick Fletcher 35 fumble return (Lowerly kick), 5:34. Boulder— W. Maier 2 pass from D. Maier (Lowery kick), 2:49.
RUSHING — Boulder: D. Maier 5-11, Max McLoughlin 2-10, Shane Provost 7-1, Grant Olmsted 2-minus 1, Fletcher 1-minus 4, C. Travis 13-minus 39. Arvada West: Perez 22-130, Cass 10-33, Spirek 1-29, Krutsch 1-0, Liam Spaw 1-minus 20.
PASSING — Boulder: C. Travis 6-15-3-166, D. Maier 9-21-1-98. Arvada West: Krutsch 17-27-1-264.
RECEIVING — Boulder: Peterson 4-48, Provost 4-24, W. Maier 3-32, Olmsted 2-49, Jackson 1-84, Ira Ah 1-19, Fletcher 1-5. Arvada West: Dixon 9-142, Ocana 3-54, Cory Carigan 2-28, Garrett Shipman 1-34, Perez 1-4.