Football: Explosive defense paces Longmont to win over Greeley West

Trojans defense scores twice in second quarter to put Longmont ahead in Northern League opener

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Longmont's Christian Ramirez (10) takes his interception to the house for the Trojans at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Longmont's Christian Ramirez (10) takes his interception to the house for the Trojans at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    several Trojan defenders do the group touchdown pose after the pick six by Christian Ramirez at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Longmont's Brayden Engelking breaks one against Greeley West at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Longmont's Keegan Patterson gets the ball away with pressure from Henry Rodriguez, of Greeley West at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    LONGMONT, CO - OCTOBER 12, 2019: Sage Yazzie, of Longmont, breaks off a huge run against Greeley West at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of October 12, 2019. (Photo by Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Longmont's Christian Ramirez, left, and Dallas Dye, celebrates Dye's pick six against Greeley West at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Longmont's Dallas Dye, center, is mobbed by his teammates after his pick six against Greeley West at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Longmont's Dallas Dye, center, is mobbed by his teammates after his pick six against Greeley West at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Sage Yazzie, of Longmont, makes a one-handed catch against Greeley West at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Sage Yazzie, of Longmont, breaks off a huge run against Greeley West at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Eddie Ramirez, of Greeley West, right, tries to pull down Longmont QB, Keegan Patterson, at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

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    Longmont Head Coach, Doug Johnson, says go for one against Greeley West at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Longmont's Caleb Johnson makes a catch in front of Alexis Irizarry, of Greeley West, at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Longmont's Caleb Johnson makes a catch in front of Alexis Irizarry, of Greeley West, at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Sage Yazzie, of Longmont, breaks off a huge run against Greeley West at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Longmont's Aiden Tank breaks a long run against Greeley West at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Sage Yazzie, of Longmont, gets around Felipe Rodriquez, of Greeley West, at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Longmont's Brayden Engelking makes a tough run against Greeley West at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    LONGMONT, CO - OCTOBER 12, 2019: Bryce Rhode, of Longmont, pressures Aaron Rojas, of Greeley West, at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of October 12, 2019. (Photo by Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

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LONGMONT – Saturday’s Class 4A Northern League football opener between Longmont and Greeley West at Everly-Montgomery Field was playing out like the defensive struggle as both teams’ five nonconference performances in 2019 indicated it could be.

Rather than settling in and trying to simply hold fast following a scoreless first quarter, the Longmont defense took matters into its own hands.

Longmont's Christian Ramirez, left, and Dallas ...
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Longmont’s Christian Ramirez, left, and Dallas Dye, celebrates Dye’s pick six against Greeley West at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont of Oct. 12, 2019.

Trojans defensive lineman Aiden Gaddis tipped a pass right to teammate Dallas Dye, who scored the game’s first points on a 10-yard return in the second quarter. A Trojans touchdown pass later, senior safety Christian Ramirez returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown to give the Trojans an 18-point lead at the end of a shutout first half of a game that, eventually, became a 31-14 win for the home team.

“We came into this game ready to fight,” Ramirez said. “We knew it was going to be a dogfight so having our defense get the first score was amazing. It got us so hyped. Then we got another score on defense and we just partied in the end zone. It was a great feeling and just a great atmosphere.”

The Trojans (4-2, 1-0) defense has allowed 14 or fewer points in three of Longmont’s six games so far this season. Junior Sam Ruffing led the team with 11 tackles against the Spartans (3-3, 0-1) on Saturday. Senior Aiden Tank had nine tackles, including four for losses, and sophomore Kale Derksen had the Trojans’ lone sack and also forced a fumble that was recovered by Brayden Engelking.

Longmont’s sophomore quarterback Keegan Patterson completed 15 of 20 pass attempts for 300 yards, of which five passes and 142 yards went to senior receiver Sage Yazzie. Patterson threw a touchdown pass to Caleb Johnson in the second quarter and also carried the ball a team-high 25 times for 100 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns that put the game out of reach.

Patterson’s pair of late scores followed a disastrous third quarter in which the Trojans lost three fumbles in three possessions and the Spartans scored twice to pull within six points. But the Longmont defense stopped the Spartans on fourth down to start the fourth quarter and held Greeley West scoreless until the final buzzer sounded.

“Our defense did a great job of turning the ball over and scoring for us, and that stop to start the fourth quarter was huge,” Patterson said. “Our line stepped up big time in the fourth quarter and did a great job of opening lanes for us to run and clearing space to throw the ball so we could run the clock out.”

The Trojans will look for their third straight win when they continue conference play against Windsor (1-5, 0-1) on the road next Friday.

“Every week, we’ve just been getting better and better,” Ramirez said. “That’s what we’ll keep reaching for every week.”