The Montrose High School football team’s biggest star Friday night wasn’t any one player. It was an entire unit — one that’s been consistent all year.
The MHS offensive line did it all, creating big running lanes and keeping its signal caller upright all game.
The Indians’ line helped generate six offensive touchdowns — four rushing and two passing — to help the team (7-0; 2-0 in SWL) defeat the visiting Denver South Rebels, 44-14.
“That line, we’ve been working since April or May, we’ve been in the weight room so we can push those giants around,” said offensive lineman Ben Robuck. “We’ve been working our tails off to get those kids and it’s showing now.”
“Our line was on fire today,” quarterback Keagan Goodwin said. “... The line gives me time (to throw). It’s not me. It’s all them.”
Coach Brett Mertens said he was proud of the offense but also praised the defense for allowing only two scores.
“They keep doing what we keep asking them to do, and they just try to do their job and do too much,” he said.
The MHS offense was hot out of the gate as senior fullback Chris Eckerman scored for his team first.
But Denver South responded with its own score. The Rebels got some help from the Indians on fourth and goal. A Montrose pass interference penalty turned an incompletion into a first down.
On the next play, the Rebels scored on a 7-yard pass to tie the game in the first quarter.
The Indians responded on their next drive, going 65 yards in eight plays. Fullback Cole Simmons got the score with a 2-yard run on the opening play of the second quarter.
On the Rebels’ next series, they went for it again on fourth down, around midfield this time. With only one yard to go for the first, the Indians stuffed them behind the line of scrimmage.
The home team’s offense started its next drive at its own 40-yard line.
The Indians got their passing game going as Goodwin connected with wide receiver Cauy Boulden for a 34-yard pass to the Rebels’ 16-yard line.
The hosts later added to their lead with another 2-yard Simmons run to go up 21-7 with about three minutes left in the half.
They weren’t done yet. Montrose added even more points to the scoreboard before heading to the locker room. After moving the ball into the red zone on an 11-yard pass from Goodwin to receiver Aaron Dietrich, kicker Landon Ruiz-Diaz connected on a 36-yard field goal attempt as the final seconds ticked away.
MHS had a 24-7 advantage at halftime.
The Indians didn’t let up in the second half. On their first drive of the third quarter, Goodwin connected with Eckerman for a 28-yard TD pass.
Denver South answered on its next drive with a 2-yard running score from the quarterback to cut the lead to 31-14. Montrose hurt its own cause on that Rebels series, as a roughing the kicker penalty kept the visiting team’s drive alive.
Any momentum the Rebels had went away quickly after the Indians’ Eli Evans broke through the middle for a 60-yard touchdown run. The extra point was no good but the hosts still led 37-14.
The Goodwin-Boulden connection proved fruitful on MHS’ next drive. Boulden scored the last points of the game despite getting tangled up with a Rebels defender. The senior wide receiver kept his balance and caught the 35-yard TD catch. The score happened with about three minutes left in the third quarter.
“Cauy’s just awesome,” Goodwin said. “I just throw it up to him and he just goes and gets it.”
“(The passing game) is very critical especially for us (because) we like to run the ball and it makes teams play a little bit more honest,” Mertens said. “It’s fun to throw it up and see what happens. They have done a good job of practicing it and executing it in the games.”
The 30-point lead ended the night for the starters. Montrose’s offense kept moving the ball on its only drive of the fourth quarter. The hosts wound up having to attempt a field goal, but the ball went wide right.
The defense also played well in the final frame, forcing a turnover on downs after Denver South drove down to first and goal.
Following the win, Montrose will be at home again as it takes on Gateway at 6 p.m., Oct. 19.
“With this momentum we know we can keep rolling,” Robuck said. “We just have to stay humble and keep working like we have all year. We know we can get some more wins.”
Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.