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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Roughriders Run Roughshod Over Spartans

Berthoud Football Drops Third Consecutive Game

By Dan Karpiel

Sports Writer


If football games were played just two quarters at a time, the Berthoud Spartans would have walked away from Friday night’s contest against Roosevelt with a one win, one loss record.

Berthoud dominated the second half of the game with almost as much vigor as they themselves were dominated in the first half. Yet when all 48 minutes of football had been played, the Spartans found themselves on the short end of the final score once again as they fell 42-28 to the Roughriders.

Roosevelt halfback Christian Kratz was too much for Berthoud’s defense to handle early in the game. The senior tallied touchdown runs of 26, 36, 41 and 10 yards as the Roughriders jumped out to a 26-6 lead by the 8:44 mark in the second quarter. Joshua Semmler and Marcus Holguin would each add a touchdown of their own as Roosevelt extended their lead to 42-6.

Zach Ruebesam passes in the first quarter

As much trouble as the Spartan defense had in the first half, the offense had even more. Berthoud’s first eight possessions ended with six turnovers – three interceptions, two fumbles and one on downs. On the rare occasion that Berthoud was able to avoid committing a turnover, the offense executed well.

The Spartans put together a nine-play, 65-yard scoring drive that elapsed 2:40 and ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Zach Ruebesam to wide receiver Alexander Kingsley. The Ruebesam-to-Kingsley touchdown cut Roosevelt’s lead in half, 12-6 with 2:22 remaining in the opening quarter.

However, Berthoud turned the ball over on their next five possessions. Roosevelt capitalized on the Spartan mistakes by scoring touchdowns after four of the five turnovers.

“We had six turnovers in about 20 minutes … with a good team like Roosevelt you just can’t do that,” said Berthoud Head Coach Dan McGinn after the game. McGinn was quick to point out that a lot of the mistakes were forced by Roosevelt saying, “A couple of those interceptions you’ve got to give their kids credit, they made some real good plays.”

Despite looking up at a scoreboard that showed the visiting team up 42-6 with 2:54 remaining in the second quarter, Berthoud did not hang their heads.

Berthoud assembled a six-play, 41-yard drive that was capped off with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Ruebesam to Brad Novell. The scoring drive seemed to give Spartans a confidence boost as they went into the locker room at halftime.

Perhaps spurred on by the scoring drive at the end of the second quarter, the Spartans put together 24 minutes of stellar football in the second half.

Berthoud’s defense played solidly, not allowing Roosevelt to get within shouting distance of the end zone and forcing three Roughrider turnovers.

Spartan defensive back Greg Hutchins was credited with forcing four turnovers in the game, three of which came in the second half. The senior picked off Roosevelt quarterback Spencer Urban three times and recovered a fumble.

“We needed to make some plays. Our d-line was getting great pressure in the second half, our linebackers and everyone were covering great so it was total team effort. When the ball was up in the air I just

Greg Hutchins follows his blockers on second quarter kick return

went and got it,” Hutchins explained after the game.

The Spartans offense also improved markedly over their first half performance. Berthoud scored two touchdowns in the second half. The first scoring drive came on the opening possession of the second

half.  With 9:47 on the clock, Ruebesam connected with Cory Ellis over the middle; the senior receiver then made a few good cuts in the open field to avoid tackles and out-ran the Roosevelt defense all the way to the end zone for a touchdown.

On their next possession, Berthoud marched 60 yards on six plays and scored when Novell crossed the goal line from inside the one. The touchdown and ensuing two-point conversion cut Roosevelt’s lead to 42-28.

Unfortunately for the Spartans the Roosevelt defense stiffened and kept Berthoud out of the end zone for the rest of the game.

McGinn, while disappointed with the loss, was proud how hard his team played in the second half saying, “We talked (at halftime) a lot about coming out and playing with heart and getting after these guys … we played a real good second half and we have to carry that momentum into next week.”

Berthoud (3-4, 0-2) will try to build on their strong second half performance next Friday as they travel to Erie (3-4, 1-1) to take on the Tigers at 7pm.

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