Wolverines down Falcons 21-10

Posted 10/15/08

Mike Oakley Teams always talk about next week being bigger than the previous week. For Chaparral, that is most definitely the case right now. The …

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Wolverines down Falcons 21-10


Mike Oakley

Teams always talk about next week being bigger than the previous week. For Chaparral, that is most definitely the case right now.

The Wolverines set up a Southern Conference showdown this week with undefeated league leader ThunderRidge after knocking off a solid Highlands Ranch team, 21-10, Thursday night at Douglas County Schools Stadium in Castle Rock.

Chaparral (6-1, 5-1) took sole possession of second place over Ranch (5-2, 4-2) largely on the efforts of two fourth-quarter red zone stops, and two turnovers late in the third period to stifle a determined Falcon squad.

A 14-10 game in the third looked headed toward a white-knuckle finish, as the teams traded possessions and made forays into the opposing half of the field. Chaparral’s James Pachelli stopped one of the those drives with an interception at his team’s 30.

The Falcons didn’t let the turnover momentum last on, stuffing the Wolverines on three straight downs and forcing a punt.

David Zimmerman, the game’s leading rusher with 92 yards, had the rare chance to make a difference for his team on defense. The attempted punt reception was muffed by Ranch, and the ball bounced right to Zimmerman at the Falcon 41.

“The ball just came right into my lap and I held the line,” said Zimmerman, who had 21 carries overall and a 13-yard scoring touchdown in the second quarter.

Six plays later, Chaparral jumped its lead to 21-10 with 10:08 remaining. Zimmerman ran on four of those plays, but it was quarterback Jerry Slota who finished the drive with a 1-yard bull rush behind his linemen. It was the second of two touchdowns for Slota, who was again effective through the air with 197 passing yards on a 13-of-19 effort.

Ranch had two more opportunities and relatively plenty of time to strike again.

The Falcons drove from their 35 down to the Chaparral 5, but couldn’t punch it in on a drive that consumed more than five minutes.

Chaparral couldn’t advance more than three yards on the ensuing possession, again giving the Falcons ample opportunity to pull close.

But Ranch wouldn’t be able to dent the Chaparral defense, driving as far as the Wolverines 20 before the march stalled.

The Wolverines did enough to run out the final 2:25 and secure the win.

“We have a lot of heart and we played as a team tonight,” Zimmerman said. “We’ve got a big game next week. A big game. It’s going to be fun.”

Chaparral finished with 300 yards to Ranch’s 279. Early on, this one had all the trappings of a shootout as both teams scored on their first possessions — Slota on a 2-yard run and Ranch with a 32-yard field goal by Jared Gomes.

The Wolverines also had a touchdown on their second drive, with Zimmerman scoring. Slota, who has nearly 1,200 passing yards this year, was zeroed in early, completing his first eight passes.

Ranch drew upon significant rushing contributions from Mike Jose (21 carries for 80 yards) and Jace Davis (12 totes for 60 yards).

The Falcons finished with 188 rushing yards and 91 through the air. Davis made it a 14-10 game with five minutes left in the first half on a leaping 18-yard reception from Mitch Kahl.

Davis said the second-half turnovers by the Falcons were pivotal stoppers.

“That really killed our momentum right there,” Davis said. “Once we stopped them, we thought for sure we could get into the end zone.

“After the pick and the dropped punt, it just killed everything.”

After starting the season with five straight wins, the Falcons have dropped two in a row and are half a game behind Mountain Vista for third place in the Southern.

“I think we can bounce back from this,” Davis said. “It was tough.

“They’re a good team and we’re a good team, and it was just mental mistakes on our part.”


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