LONGMONT – It was an emotional night at Everly-Montgomery Field for a Longmont football team that was desperately in need of a win, and for many reasons beyond what it would do for the Trojans’ record.
They had a teammate who was hurting.
Right before last week’s game, a shutout loss to Skyline, senior leader Sage Yazzie’s father suffered rapid liver and kidney failure. While Yazzie was out of school and practice all week long, his teammates shared his pain and kept the senior quarterback and all-around athlete in their hearts approaching what turned out to be a 14-10 victory over Silver Creek on Friday night.
The win was a critical bounce-back victory. But for Yazzie, and all of his Trojans teammates, classmates and family, who swarmed their friend and leader on the turf following the win, it meant much more.
“I’m just trying to stay there with my dad every day I can,” Yazzie said. “I’ve missed a lot of school but my team has done a great job supporting me. I couldn’t ask for a better group of peers and better people around me. It meant the world to be out there tonight and I was crying as soon as we hit that last play. It meant so much.”
Friday’s game between the Trojans (3-2) and the Raptors (3-2) was also a crosstown rivalry game between two teams in the same 4A classification from the same city that play their home games in the same stadium, but are still somehow not in the same league. With Silver Creek coming off a triple-overtime loss to Mountain View in Week 5, the Raptors also had a little extra incentive to roll into conference play with a win.
Coming out on top in the nonconference finale, Longmont got several huge plays from Yazzie, who took almost no snaps at his regular quarterback position but played nearly every other spot on the field. He was a key weapon throughout two late-game drives, one that allowed the Trojans to retake the lead with 10 minutes, 14 seconds remaining in the game and another that spanned 14 plays and allowed the Trojans to kneel out the clock at the end.
“We just came with a new energy and perseverance throughout the week,” Yazzie said. “Our coaches were great and I’m so proud of my teammates. They just mean the world to me and they did an amazing job tonight.”
Sophomore Keegan Patterson shined in his first full-time opportunity manning the Trojans’ quarterback position. He accounted for over 300 yards of offense and scored Longmont’s go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“Keegan had a terrific game tonight,” Trojans head coach Doug Johnson said. “It’s been a pretty hard week but I’m really proud of how he stepped up and of how our team supported each other and bounced back.”
Averaging just 14.25 points against through its first four games and totaling an impressive eight interceptions before Friday night, the Raptors defense did recover a fumble for the game’s only turnover and held the Trojans to 14 points. But despite a 13-catch, 169-yard effort from senior wide receiver Cole Riters, who also scored the Raptors’ lone touchdown of the game, they were held to their lowest scoring output of the season by the Trojans defense.
Silver Creek will take on Skyline next Friday to begin Longs Peak League play. Longmont will open Northern League play next Saturday when they host Greeley West.