4A football playoffs: Fruita Monument ousts Brighton

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GRAND JUNCTION -- Fruita Monument scored five touchdowns in the first half and went on to beat Brighton 63-26 in the first round of the state 4A playoffs at Stocker Stadium Nov. 5.
The Wildcats scored on all nine of their possessions and showed why it has the fifth-best rushing offense in the state. FMHS had 265 rushing yards in the first half and finished with 433.
BHS quarterback Nate Griffeth threw two touchdown passes. One covered 11 yards to Lucas Munoz, and one covered 30 yards to Jackson Kroll. Max Cisneros finished with 37 yards on the ground and added a pair of rushing TDs for the Bulldogs.
"The game didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but I’m proud that we fought till the very end," said Griffeth, a senior. "The season was quite the adventure, and we exceeded a lot of expectations and we kept getting better every week."
Wyatt Sharpe scored three touchdowns for the Wildcats, two of which were in the opening half. One was on an 11-yard run in the first quarter, and one was on an 11-yard run late in the first half.
His third score was from 3 yards out in the third quarter.
Corben Rowell, who scored a rushing touchdown in the first half, threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Cole Jones in the fourth quarter.
Griffeth finished 15-for-28 for 190 yards. Jordan Leete caught five passes for 50 yards. Kroll finished with four catches for 46 yards. Noah Canale was BHS' leading rusher with eight carries and 51 yards. 
FMHS had 433 rushing yards. Sharpe had 132 yards on 22 carries. Kaison Stegelmeier finished with 115 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. Rowell finished with 113 yards in passing and the one touchdown.
FMHS (8-3) faces Erie -- and former BHS coach Jeff Giger -- in the second round. BHS finished its season with a record of 5-6.
It was Brighton's second appearance in the playoffs in the last three seasons. BHS almost made the playoffs in 2020 but was 17th in the RPI rankings. The top 16 teams made it.
"Our coaching staff (headed up by first-year coach Chris Flynn) believed in us, and we had a lot of young guys step up," Griffeth said. "We hope making playoffs becomes a tradition and part of the culture at Brighton."

"Yes I would say it’s a big deal (to make it to state)," said senior wide receiver and free safety Noah Canale. "I think that him being in the system with our school for quite some time (Flynn) has a big thing with that."

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