Interception keys Falcons’ win

Posted 9/10/08

Scott Kaniewski Another victory, another impressive performance by the Highlands Ranch defense and running back Mike Jose. The Falcons forced three …

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Interception keys Falcons’ win


Scott Kaniewski

Another victory, another impressive performance by the Highlands Ranch defense and running back Mike Jose.

The Falcons forced three turnovers, including a key interception in the third quarter, Jose rushed for a career high in yards and Highlands Ranch rolled to a 30-7 win over Rampart High School at Shea Stadium on Sept. 4.

One play after an interception throw of their own, linebacker Lance Lorang dropped back in coverage. Rams quarterback Zane Watkins never saw him. Lorang picked off Watkins’ pass and returned it to the Rams’ 12-yard line.

On the next play Falcons quarterback Mitch Kahl lofted the ball into the end zone. Receiver Jace Davis beat his defender and hauled in the pass, putting the Falcons (2-0 in Southern League, 2-0 overall) up 16-7.

“That was a pretty huge play,” Lorang said of the pick. “It changed the tide. It was a momentum shifter right there.”

The defense also capped the scoring for the Falcons. Rams running back Tanner Ballard had the ball stripped, and defensive back Michael Brady grabbed it and raced 37 yards to the score.

“The defense is playing great right now,” said Falcons coach Darrel Gorham. “They’re coming up with big plays in big situations. I couldn’t ask for better right now.”

In two games, the Falcons defense has allowed 14 points, while scoring 7 themselves.

They limited Rams running back Devin Mohn to 93 yards and never let the state 5A 400 meter track runner-up gain more than 13 yards on any rush. They also knocked the ball loose from Mohn’s hands on consecutive touches. He lost one and recovered the other. The Falcons also had an interception called back by a penalty.

“That’s our motto this year, create turnovers,” Lorang said.

Offensively, Jose was dominant. A week after rushing for 128 yards, the senior running back carried the ball 22 times for a career best 211 yards and two touchdowns. He had runs of 22, 53, 36 and 55. On third-and-14, Jose started right and cut back left, going 53 yards for the score. His 55-yard run also went for a touchdown.

He’s rushed for 339 yards in two games, putting him among the state’s best.

“He’s just a good back,” Gorham said. “I think people kind of underestimate what he does. He had a nice run on the counter trey down there where he read it real well.”

The Falcons also opened up the playbook, giving Kahl more opportunities to throw. The senior quarterback completed 10 of 20 attempts for 90 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

“We were trying to work on it,” Gorham said. “In order to be successful you got to throw the ball. We had to work on it. It was the right time for us to do it.”

The defense showed an understanding of not giving up the big play. Even when the Rams (0-2, 0-2) went on a sustained drive, the Falcons would eventually prevent the score or a first down. Only once did they hold the Rams to a three-and-out, but it didn’t bother the Falcons.

“It’s always next play,” Davis said. “Don’t worry about that last play.”

Up next for Highlands Ranch is a lengthy drive. The Falcons head west to take on Grand Junction in a non-league match-up on Sept. 12.


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