Tim Hurst/Staff Photographer
Tim Hurst/Staff Photographer
BROOMFIELD — First play touchdown. First round in the books. First state title in 15 years, that much closer.
Class 3A No. 2 Holy Family, having arguably been the classification’s most dominant team in the odd 2020 season, delivered another one-sided beating in round one at Mike G. Gabriel Stadium Friday night, ousting seventh-seeded Evergreen 41-6.
Senior quarterback Michael White threw four TDs for the first time in his career, including an 80-yard strike to Oscar Sena on the first offensive play of the night. Sena, along with his two receiving TDs, added two interceptions as the Tigers defense forced five turnovers and held yet another opponent down. And Liam Gray, the kicker with big-play pop, had a rushing and receiving score of his own.
Add it up and Holy Family (7-0) is now two wins away from its first title since 2005. It will face the winner of Saturday’s game between No. 3 Durango and No. 6 Lutheran in next week’s state semifinals.
“We’ve had great chemistry in the past, we’ve had successes in the playoffs in the past and this team is right up there,” Holy Family coach Mike D. Gabriel said afterward.
Setting the balmy tone on a night anything but, the first play went from White to Sena, who outran everyone along the visiting sideline for the opening score just 14 seconds into the game.
After that, White tossed another TD minutes later — this, on fourth down to Benton Daniels — and Trevin Johnson pushed the lead to 21-0 on a short fourth-down run early in the second quarter.
“This whole week and the whole season we’ve focused on that if we play our game and come out intense, and take control from the start, we can beat anybody,” White said. “Coming out and starting like that, especially against this team — they’re a solid team — but starting out like that really got us going and got us on the right path.”
White added his third score after half — finding Gray in the back of the end zone — then hit a wide-open Sena for a 32-yard, walk-in TD for his fourth with 7:49 remaining.
Gray’s 16-yard exclamation run in the waning minutes was the final punch for a team outscoring its opponents 307-66 through seven games.
“Just having intensity and playing our game, I think that’s led to us taking command of some games,” White said. “Our defense has done great. Our O-line, we’re just a solid team overall.”
The Cougars’ season ended with a thump. A thump on top of a thump.
On Friday, they played without starting quarterback Griffin Lauritano, who was ineligible for the postseason after briefly transferring to Georgia when Colorado’s entire fall football season was initially pushed to the spring.
Lauritano, a senior, reportedly went south to try and highlight his talents, per the Denver Post, but returned to play for Evergreen (4-3) after Week 1 of the regular season. After some lobbied for his return, the paper said, his request to play in the postseason was declined.