Castle View surprised Rock Canyon with a reverse.
The Sabercats, who lost 43-10 and 42-2 in their previous two games, turned things around and reversed their fortunes in a 48-21 Pioneer League rout over the Jaguars Sept. 20 at Shea Stadium.
Castle View, led by quarterback Trevor Smeeton and running back Erik Taylor, showed it has some offensive punch in springing to a 35-0 lead early in the second quarter.
“I felt like we took control of the game with our line,” said Smeeton. “We could pretty much do anything. We lost pretty bad the last two weeks; now we ran pretty good this game. I guess we have to keep going.”
Smeeton completed three of five passes for 32 yards, ran for a touchdown and had a 25-yard return with a pass interception for a TD. He made five tackles and broke up another pass while playing defensive back.
Taylor ran for 205 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. He averaged 15.8 yards per attempt.
“It felt awesome,” insisted Taylor. “We came out with so much fire and energy. We were ready to play. We had better practices all week, our tempo was up and we came out prepared. This will build our confidence and it should carry on.”
Castle View, 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the league, faces winless Palmer Sept. 27 in Colorado Springs.
Sabercats coach Ryan Hollingshead hopes to see more of the offensive production that he witnessed against Rock Canyon.
“We had really been struggling on offense,” said Hollingshead. “It was nice to just get back to basics, execute and have some kids step up and make some big plays.
“I think sometimes kids just get overwhelmed, especially kids that are new to varsity, and I think the game was moving pretty fast. Now it's slowing down for us and we are able to go execute. It is easier to call plays when you are doing the basics right.”
Castle View, slowed by 12 penalties, finished with 421 yards of total offense.
Kaleb Geiger had two TD runs and junior quarterback Chris Linnin also ran for a Castle View score.
Still, it was the 5-foot-9 Smeeton and 5-7 Taylor, players who might not stand tall, who made the big plays against Rock Canyon.
“Taylor is a junior and one of the quickest kids I've ever coached,” said Hollingshead. “He's just learned to run between the tackles, and some good things happen after you trust your big guys up front. We've always been a grind-it-out team but we've never had the big play capability. He brings that whole different dimension to the game.
“Trevor Smeeton is a leader in every sport. He's a three-sport varsity athlete and he's one of those kids that puts the game on his shoulder. He kind of managed it against Rock Canyon and made some big plays. His interception in the first quarter shut them down.”
Rock Canyon quarterback Ryan Hommel completed 16 of 31 passes for 206 yards with one interception and three touchdowns. Quinn O'Neill grabbed two of Hommel's TD aerials and Jake Lamb caught one. Sophomore running back Trevor Howard rushed for 102 yards on 17 carries.
The Jaguars, who play Heritage Sept. 27, dropped their second Pioneer League game and fell to 1-3 on the season.
“Give them credit, they got after us and played hard,” Rock Canyon coach Brian Lamb said of Castle View. “They ran right at us and we just couldn't stop them there for a little bit.
“They softened up a little bit and were playing a little more coverage there at the end of the first half and that allowed us to throw the ball in front of them and get some gains. We didn't stop playing. We didn't quit. We just have to keep trying to get better each week.”
Hollingshead believes his team is capable of making another run at the Class 5A state playoffs.
“We're 1-1 in the league and I think we can get some momentum,'' he said. “Palmer is next. This is where we were at last year, 2-2, we made a run and got in the playoffs.''