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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Warriors Out-Muscle Spartans

Berthoud Football Shut Out By Frederick 27-0

By Dan Karpiel

Sports Writer

In sports, size does matter. That fact was painfully clear to the Berthoud High football team on Friday night as they were blanked 27-0 by a bigger, more physical Frederick team.

Asked how a physically smaller team like the Spartans can overcome such a disadvantage, Berthoud Head Coach Dan McGinn said, “You counter it with technique and you counter with the things we do in execution. We’ve been size-challenged even in the days when we were winning 12 ball games a year; it’s nothing new for us.”

The loss was the first for Berthoud on the young season and drops the Spartans into a tie for second-place with Silver Creek and Mountain View in the 3A Northern conference.

Berthoud’s defense began the game strong, forcing Frederick to go three-and-out on each of their first two possessions. Aided by four Frederick penalties, including three illegal procedure penalties on a single series, Berthoud stymied Frederick’s running game and did not allow a complete pass.

Unfortunately for Berthoud, their offense was unable to capitalize on the defensive stops.

The Spartans’ were able to move the ball early but committed turnovers on three consecutive possessions, two on downs and one on an interception. On their second possession of the game, Berthoud moved the ball 38 yards on an 11-play drive that consumed 5:50 but failed to convert on fourth and five at the Frederick 18 yard line.

Chase Fraser attempts to juke his way around the Frederick defense

Immediately following the fourth down stop, Warriors’ quarterback Jaron Balman connected with running back Jacob Sleeth who went un-touched 82 yards for a touchdown. The play was the final one of the first quarter and gave Frederick all the points they would need on the night.

Berthoud’s offense was once again able to move the ball down field, marching 48 yards on nine plays and chewing 4:02 off the clock. The Spartans converted a third and long when quarterback Zach Ruebesam connected with receiver Cory Ellis for a 27-yard gain. However, just like their first trip into the shadows of the Frederick goal post, the Spartans failed to convert on fourth down.

Berthoud’s next possession ended in more heart-breaking fashion as Frederick’s Joe Wise was able to leap into the air and intercept a Ruebesam pass. The Warriors wasted no time taking advantage of the big play by their defense as KC Rivera scored with a 33-yard run on Fredrick’s first play following the turnover.

The 14-0 lead Frederick took into halftime did not tell the whole story. Berthoud moved the ball well on offense but could not get their drives to translate into points. Frederick made only two big plays in the first half but each netted the Warriors six points.  “We had 33 plays in the first half to their 15 so they didn’t dominate us, we just couldn’t finish,” McGinn explained after the game.

With a two-score lead at the opening of the second half, Frederick used their size advantage to the fullest as their three-headed monster at running back – Rivera, Sleeth and Dalton Hall – grinded out yardage and took time off the clock.

The Warriors also turned up the heat on Berthoud with an aggressive defense. Frederick won the battle in the trenches decisively in the second half, routinely stuffing Berthoud’s running game and harassing Ruebesam whenever he dropped back to pass.

“They wore us down at the end, size and quickness and athleticism are going to play into that … we will learn from it and get better,” McGinn said.

When all was said and done Frederick had tallied 189 rushing yards to Berthoud’s 57. The yards per rush difference was even more telling, 6.5 YPC for Frederick and a paltry 2.1 YPC for Berthoud.

The Spartans (2-1) will travel to Fort Lupton on September 23 before returning to Max Marr Field for a homecoming date with the Fort Morgan Mustangs on September 30.

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