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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ruebesam, defense lead Spartans to playoffs

Berthoud 21, Silver Creek 7

By Michael Hicks
Berthoud Recorder
LONGMONT — This is a familiar scene — the Berthoud Spartans are going back to the playoffs.

Zach Ruebesam was 12-for-12 with three touchdown passes — two of them to Pat Conrey — and the defense created four turnovers in a 21-7 victory over Silver Creek on Friday night at Everly-Montgomery Field. The victory, coupled with Northridge’s loss to Mountain View, gave Berthoud a one-game lead over Roosevelt and two-game advantages over the Raptors and Northridge Grizzlies entering Friday’s season finale at home with Frederick.

“When you get a chance to close it out, you want to. I’m real happy with our kids,” Berthoud head coach Dan McGinn said. “We need to go back and execute. I have to call better plays. I got a little conservative there. We should’ve tried some things down there. I’ll learn from that. I told the kids that to. The defense played great again and put lots and lots of pressure on them all night. I’m real pleased with where we’re at.”

Berthoud (6-3, 6-2 3A Tri-Valley Conference) can finish no worst than third in the conference. The top three teams automatically qualify for the 16-team postseason, which begins the weekend of Nov. 14. The Spartans, who’ve qualified for the 3A state playoffs for a fifth consecutive season, could move up to second in the standings with a win and a Windsor loss.

After Berthoud took its opening possession 50 yards for a score — a 7-yard Ruebesam-to-Conrey strike — Silver Creek tied the game late in the first quarter when Austin Apodaca hit Brett Wright for a 36-yard pass down the right sideline. It would be the only time the Raptors (5-4, 4-4) would score and the last time the game would be tied.

The game was knotted up at seven when Berthoud took over at its own 26 with a minute left in the first half. Three plays later, Ruebesam hit Kent Flynn on a slant route and the senior running back took the ball 60 yards for a 14-7 halftime lead.

Then on the opening drive of the third quarter, the sophomore quarterback drove Berthoud 65 yards on eight plays, capped by an 8-yard score to Conrey and a two-touchdown lead.

“I really want to give a lot of credit to our O-line and the kids on that drive in the second half. We talk about that at halftime and it doesn’t always come into fruition,” McGinn said of taking the opening possession and driving it down for a score. “Tonight, it did. We got a decent return and did our thing methodically down the field. It was nice to see.”

While Ruebesam, who finished with 123 yards passing, was conservative with his passes — only one pass over 10 yards all night — he gave the credit to those around him for his success.

“It’s a team effort. The line blocked great all night. The receivers caught the ball. It’s everybody,” Ruebesam said.

From there it was up to Berthoud’s stingy defense to do its thing. A week after forcing Sterling into five turnovers, the Spartans got four more, including three in the second half. Linebacker Joel Maly intercepted an Apodaca pass in the third quarter that stopped a Silver Creek drive at the Berthoud 39. Then in the fourth, Kent Flynn picked off Apodaca deep in Berthoud territory before lateraling the ball to Marcus Mathiesen for a 30-yard return, sealing the victory.

“We’re getting better. That’s our goal, to get better. We have a young team. We have a lot of young guys but we’re working hard each week to get better,” Mathiesen said.

BERTHOUD 7 7 7 0 — 21
SILVER CREEK 7 0 0 0 — 7

B — Pat Conrey 7 pass from Zach Ruebesam (Colton Moore kick)
SC — Brett Wright 36 pass from Austin Apodaca (Brock Garden kick)
B — Kent Flynn 60 pass from Ruebesam (Moore kick)
B — Conrey 8 pass from Ruebesam (Moore kick)

RUSHING: Berthoud — Chase Fraser 11-52, Kent Flynn 17-60, Zach Ruebesam 11-13. TOTAL: 39-125. Silver Creek — Keenan Olsen 9-26, Conrad Ottem 7-21, Austin Apodaca 11-0, Cody Alme 9-48, Nathan Dunlavy 3-14, Ian McNabb 5-28. TOTAL: 44-137
PASSING: Berthoud — Ruebesam 12-12-0, 123, Flynn 1-1-0, 37. TOTAL: 13-13-0, 164; Silver Creek — Apodaca 13-28-2, 127
RECEIVING: Berthoud — Fraser 2-8, Pat Conrey 6-69, Flynn 4-76, Brandon Bratcher 1-7. TOTAL: 13-160; Silver Creek — Alme 1-6, Ottem 2-17, Brett Wright 4-58, Keenan Olsen 2-14, Caleb Thompson 3-20, McNabb 1-12. TOTAL: 13-127
TOTAL YARDS: Berthoud 289; Silver Creek 264
FIRST DOWNS: Berthoud 11; Silver Creek 14
TURNOVERS: Berthoud 1; Silver Creek 4
PENALTIES: Berthoud 8-90; Silver Creek 8-86
PUNTS: Berthoud — Colton Moore 5-165; Silver Creek — 4-154

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