LAFAYETTE — Long distance seemed to be the rolling theme for the Fruita Monument football team on Saturday.
For Centaurus, that spelled disaster.
After traveling roughly 300 miles late Friday night to make what is now a commonplace trek over the Rocky Mountains to play a game, the Wildcats ran up more than 300 yards of offense in the first half alone and scored five touchdowns of 30 yards or more Saturday in what ended up to be a 57-24 Pioneer League opening rout at Spangenberg Field.
The Warriors, playing without the services of leading receiver Andy Mendoza, tried to keep up with their own pass-heavy attack and had a lead after one quarter of play, but truly perfect play from Fruita QB Zach Rush (7-for-7, 188 yards, 3 TD’s) in the first 24 minutes was complemented by Treyton Queen’s 30- and 40-yard touchdown runs to build an insurmountable lead.
“That was a really good team, well-coached and they have a lot of experience, and we have a lot of young kids playing varsity football that are just trying to get better every week,” said Centaurus coach Andy Hampton, whose team dropped to 2-4 overall. “We are in a tough stretch right now, but our guys are hanging in there. I think big plays that we gave up were the difference, and you just have to keep learning from those things.”
Mendoza, who recently moved into seventh place on Colorado’s all-time list for career receptions with 162, missed the game due to illness. In his stead, quarterback Nick Faraca was able to find a nice connection with Anthony Montoya, another talented senior captain. Montoya hauled in nine receptions for 126 yards, both season highs.
Montoya’s 42-yard reception down the left sideline with 44 seconds left in the first quarter gave the Warriors a 7-6 lead — Centaurus’s Asher Cook had recovered a fumble near midfield to gain possession for the home team.
However, in the second quarter, Fruita managed to score 36 points including a 66-yard kickoff return with just seconds to go before the half ended. That was in direct response to another Montoya touchdown catch that capped Centaurus’s best drive of the game.
The Wildcats (4-2, 1-0) scored on plays of 51, 30, 40, and 59 yards on offense in that stanza alone.
“Again, (the kickoff return) comes to experience there and we got moved off our lanes in that situation … and that really took the wind out of our sails going into half,” Hampton said.
“We’re happy with how we conducted ourselves. The guys kept battling.”
As they have all season, the Warriors struggled on the ground accumulating just 44 total rushing yards. However, Centaurus did get 79 receiving yards from Cristian Rubio and seven catches from sophomore Davian Lujan. Faraca finished 24-for-38 for 316 yards.
“One of the big things for us was one of our key players was out, and it’s hard to come back and respond positively with someone who is so positive and that is such a team leader being out,” senior Anthony Montoya said. “We did respond positive and we’ll grow.”
Centaurus will play at Vista PEAK Prep next Friday night.
Fruita Monument 57, Centaurus 24
At Centaurus HS
Fruita Monument — Kaden Jolley 8 pass from Zach Rush (kick blocked). Centaurus — Anthony Montoya 42 pass from Nick Faraca (Christian Rice kick).
Fruita Monument — Landon Brown 51 pass from Rush (Cason Gisner run). Fruita Monument — Treyton Queen 30 run (Connor Scholes kick). Centaurus — Rice 25 field goal. Fruita Monument — Queen 40 run (Scholes kick). Fruita Monument — Brown 59 pass from Rush (Scholes kick). Centaurus — Montoya 22 pass from Faraca (Rice kick). Fruita Monument — Delson Pyland 66 kickoff return (Scholes kick).
Fruita Monument — Gisner 9 run (Scholes kick). Fruita Monument — Gisner 5 run (Queen run).
Centaurus — Faraca 1 run (Rice kick).
RUSHING — Centaurus: Cristian Rubio 4-7, Anthony Montoya 3-20, Nick Faraca 3-17.
PASSING — Centaurus: Faraca 24-38-0-316, Montoya 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Centaurus: Montoya 9-126, Davian Lujan 7-52, Rubio 5-79, Asher Cook 1-10, Keenan Leonard 1-4, Eddie Zygowicz 1-13.