Standley Lake coach Tyler Gallas wanted to sustain long offensive drives Thursday night in the Gators’ homecoming game against Westminster.
Junior running back Liam Graham had other plans, which included a 97-yard touchdown run that jumpstarted an eventual 34-29 victory for the Gators at the North Area Athletic Complex.
“Last week it was almost the same thing, but I got caught at the end of it,” Graham said of his 97-yard touchdown run that came with 7:31 left in the first quarter. “The entire time I just tried to keep picking up my feet and not get caught. It was fun. That was fun.”
Standley Lake jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter on the legs of Graham. The junior running back had a 5-yard touchdown run less than two minutes into the game. Westminster fumbled on the first offensive play from scrimmage and Standley Lake sophomore Nikko Blanco recovered the loose ball on the Wolves’ 22-yard line.
“I’m just so proud of how hard they played,” Standley Lake coach Tyler Gallas said after the win pushed the Gators’ record to 2-1 on the season. “Before the game I talked about, ‘Are you were willing to sacrifice the effort necessary to get you a homecoming win?’ They did.”
Westminster answered the quick start by the Gators behind junior Mason Kiewiet. The Wolves’ quarterback had a pair of touchdown runs (16 and 53 yards), along with a touchdown pass to senior Hunter Emgarten to give Westminster a 21-20 lead at halftime.
However, Standley Lake had a key scoring drive to open the second half. The Gators chewed up the majority of the third quarter and capped off a 9-play drive with a 10-yard touchdown run by senior Dorsey Satterfield to give Standley Lake a 26-21 lead.
Westminster had a long drive too in the third quarter, but the Gators’ defense forced a turnover on downs at Standley Lake’s 8-yard line.
“Our defense defintely played great in that second half,” Graham said.
Standley Lake’s offense went on a 92-yard scoring drive that took nearly 9 minutes off the clock. The Gators gave a heavy dose of Graham and Satterfield on the final scoring drive on the night for Standley Lake.
On the 15th play of the drive — 4th-down from the 2-yard line — it was ruled by the sideline judge that Graham just reached the ball to touch the end zone for his third touchdown of the night.
The Gators took a 34-21 lead with 3:53 left in the game.
“He is special the way he sees the game,” Gallas said of the Gators’ leading running back who has seven touchdowns on the season and well over 500 yards on the ground through three games. “It is his second year in our system. He is really starting to understand the offense as a whole and what we are trying to do upfront.”
Junior Boston Harris was also special for Standley Lake. Harris stepped in at quarterback for senior Braden Smith, who suffered an injury in the Gators’ victory over Skyline last week.
Harris not only was solid at quarterback, but had two key interceptions on defense. Harris picked off Kiewiet on the final play of the first half at the goal-line to prevent the Wolves from take a 2-score lead into halftime. He then had a second pick with under 4 minutes to play to help seal the win.
“You show me another quarterback who is going to be playing both ways this weekend,” Gallas said of Harris. “What a man of composure. He is always even-keeled and always ready to go. He leads by example.”
Gallas said he hopes to have Smith back on the field next week at quarterback, but Harris proved he is capable to go under center.
“I just love Boston. He is just such a great athlete,” Graham said. “He knows what he is doing on the field. It’s great playing with him.”
Standley Lake will try to run its winning streak to three games next week when the Gators host Northglenn (2-0 record) at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, at NAAC.
“We are growing every single week,” Gallas said. “We have a tough Northglenn team ahead of us.”
Westminster (2-2) is back home next week to face Prairie View (1-1) on Friday, Sept. 15.
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.