Late defensive stand helps Eagles defeat Wolverines

Posted 9/18/08

Benn Farrell Mountain Vista and Chaparral punters didn’t actually make an appearance in their game until late in the third quarter. Until then, the …

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Late defensive stand helps Eagles defeat Wolverines


Benn Farrell

Mountain Vista and Chaparral punters didn’t actually make an appearance in their game until late in the third quarter. Until then, the match-up was all offense for both teams.

However, Mountain Vista’s defense showed up in the fourth, helping the Golden Eagles find its first win of the season after an 0-2 start. Vista (1-2) played host to Chaparral (2-1) Sept. 12 at Shea Stadium in Highlands Ranch and defeated the high-powered Wolverines 35-34.

Chaparral walked into Shea with a high amount of momentum, coming off an overtime win the previous week against Douglas County, while Vista needed to get a win in the books now more than ever. The Golden Eagles were 0-2 with losses against ThunderRidge and Highlands Ranch. Vista coach Ric Cash said with only two returning starters on defense and three offensive starters playing the same positions they had last season, the Eagles had some growing up to do early in this schedule.

“The offense came uncorked,” Cash said. “They did what we had hoped they would do early in the season. We kind of thought we had some veterans coming back on offense that would help us out. We had some things to work on as far as jelling. We made some changes to the offensive line as far as personnel and positions. We did that right at the beginning of the season. I think we’re finally beginning to see the effect of those changes, and the kids are coming together and feel a sense of what their responsibility is and doing it to the best of their abilities.”

Vista senior running back Brandon Miller had a fumble to open the first quarter, but he became one of the stars of the game with several end zone visits including a kick-off return cashed in for pay dirt.

“Practice pays off,” Miller said. “We had a good practice week. The O-line did a great job opening things up for me. No credit to me. Everyone just did a great job.”

Quarterback Eric Anderson, a senior, had 166 passing yards and two touchdown strikes. Chaparral quarterback Jerry Slota put up 222 passing yards and three touchdown throws. The Wolverines’ Spencer Duran had 85 rushing yards and David Zimmerman had 102 receiving yards, 56 rushing.

Both teams had no problems getting points on the board through the first half and much of the second. With a 1-point lead and less than five minutes remaining in the fourth, Vista defense had to work to ensure its first win of the season. The Golden Eagles finally managed to stop Chaparral, regain possession and run out the clock.

“Obviously, our defense didn’t play as well as it had in the past two weeks, but our offense stepped it up and took over,” Cash said. “We kind of did the whole bend-but-don’t-break, and that’s not really our style. [We had a] huge stand for that last drive at the end of the game.

“[Our offense] outscored what we had combined from the last two games. They did some really good things. We’re pretty excited.”

Miller said Vista knew Chaparral was going to continue scoring, so the game would come down to a matter of tenacity.

“The line was doing a great job blocking. We knew [Chaparral] were just going to keep putting points on the board, so we stuck it out and had a great game. They are a great team,” he said. “We have to just cut our mistakes and keep going from here.”

Cash said, being the Eagles’ first win over a heavily armed Chaparral roster with a lot of momentum, the win should help create momentum of their own.

“You never know how your season is going to start,” the coach said. “You look at your schedule from one year to the next. Looking back at our first three weeks, I’m not sure if anyone has had a tougher first three weeks of the season. … Chaparral has really turned it around and done a great job with what they’ve had in the past.”

Chaparral heads to Colorado Springs to play the 0-3 Rampart Rams at home this week, while Vista plays the 1-2 Doherty Spartans also on the road.


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