As the sun set behind the mountains, the Castle View Sabercats took the field at home against the Fossil Ridge Sabercats for the first round of 5A football under the Friday night lights. The Castle View Sabercats took the win with a score of 35-16, advancing them to the second round.
After winning half of their season matches, Fossil Ridge found a place in the playoffs, continuing what is now a three-season run and topping their last streak not seen since the 2015-16 season. Yet they have been unable to make it past the first two rounds.
In his first season as head coach for Fossil Ridge, Chris Tedford said, “Team growth is good—we have to keep that kind of stuff rolling.” Before the match started, Coach Tedford continued with, “I’m looking forward to a really competitive football game tonight.”
Castle View entered the playoffs with a 7-3 record after a lackluster previous year’s record of 2-8.
“We made a decision that we didn’t want that to happen again”, Coach Eric Handke of Castle View commented on the strong growth that his team has seen, noting that “all of our guys are bigger, faster, and stronger”, due to their off-season efforts.
The last time they were able to advance to round two of the playoffs was their 18’-19’ season, when they faced off against Fountain-Fort Carson, handing in a final score of 35-20. In round two of that season, they battled Cherry Creek and lost 14-41.
The first half of this match was dominated by Castle View, who scored 19 unanswered points, recovered two fumbles, and made two interceptions. Most notably was an interception made by Castle View’s Keegan Dionido on the third play of the match and a fumble recovery made by Castle View’s Darrell Ishman, who ran in for a touchdown with only 51 seconds left in the half, making the score 19-0.
The great moments made by Fossil Ridge in the first half were a blocked PAT after Castle View’s second touchdown, scored by Jackson Blanchard, and then shutting down a two-point conversion in the final moments of the half.
In the second half, Fossil Ridge came back stronger. Half way through the third quarter, Fossil Ridge’s Brennan Roper scooped up a fumbled ball and made about a 50-yard run before he was stopped.
That play made by Roper helped set up his team to add points to the scoreboard when Fossil Ridge’s Valentin Görtz completed a field goal, setting the score to 19-3. Fossil Ridge did find opportunities for two more touchdowns, both made by Jake Toshkoff late in the game.
But Castle View’s production on the field continued to outpace their opponents, which gave them two more touchdowns by Ethan Gonzales and Jackson Blanchard, as well as a safety recovered by Weston Vildibil.
Fossil Ridge will look to grow more as a team of mostly juniors next season.
“I think we can be strong — we have all of the off-season and experience from this year to build on”, Fossil Ridge quarterback Nick Kubat commented after the match.
“We played as a team, and that’s all I can ask for,” said Castle View quarterback Derek Gordon.
Castle View will take on the Mountain Vista Golden Eagles in round two of the playoffs this Friday, Nov. 10.
“We’re ready”, said Gordon confidently, as Castle View looks for revenge for an earlier season loss against the Golden Eagles.