The Elbert football team chalked up a trio of impressive “firsts” in last Friday’s 46-14 victory against Simla in their crucial 8-Man, Black Forest League encounter.
The first? It is believed to be the initial time in the schools football history that the Bulldogs have won their first seven games of the season. The second, is that a Bulldog athlete was able to rush for over 300 yards in a single game. And that effort by Blake Nicholas helped his team gain the third notable mark, total offense of 504 yards in one game.
Nicholas carried the ball 35 times, rushing for 305 yards, to lead Elbert to its 7-0 season record, 3-0 in the league. However, there was also one drawback for the Bulldogs quarterback as he was intercepted three times while only passing for 37 yards. Nevertheless, the result dropped Simla to 2-1 in the league, 5-2 overall.
Elbert also wrapped up the league championship with the win.
“I haven’t been picked off in a year,” Nicholas said. “They keyed on me so it was important for Al Zelney and the other guys to step up. And, that they did. Simla and Kiowa are out of the way and we’ve got the league championship wrapped up.
“We still want to be all the better,” Nicholas said. “Being 7-0 for the first time at this point of the season is a confidence builder. This is the first year that Simla is in our league and we knew they could give us a game.
But they had some of their guys hurt and that took something away from them. I just hope their guys will be OK.”
It was closely contested game for three quarters, tied 14-14 heading into the final 12 minutes. The prospects for a Simla win took a harsh turn when two of the Cubs stellar players, Damian Bell and Jason George, were injured.
Simla scored it’s first touchdown on a 57-yard pass from quarterback Cody Norris to Dustin Campbell in the second quarter. Bell went down as he was attempting a run on the conversion attempt. George departed the game early in the third quarter shortly after the Cubs had gained the tie on a 4-yard pass from Norris to Eli Wallace. Norris ran the conversion closing out the Simla scoring.
“I don’t know at this point if we can count on either this week,” Simla coach Shane Zimmerman said. “We are waiting this week to see what the doctor reports on the two will be. But, there is a good chance they will not be ready to play this week.”
Zimmerman felt his team played well against the unbeaten Bulldogs, but certainly ran out of gas in that fourth quarter. And, in the fourth, the toll was taken as Elbert came through with it’s 32-point effort.
Elbert put the game away via a 12-yard run by Zelney, a 47-yarder by Nicholas, Zelney’s third score of the night on a 9-yard carry and a 15-yard run by Cody Pranger.
Elbert coach Shawn Graves was pleased with the win, but not all that happy with the overall play of his Bulldogs despite the winning margin.
“We just needed to stop shooting ourselves in the foot over the first three quarters,” Graves said. “We would have interceptions and the fumble. Simla will be a good one next year and we will be the ones rebuilding. But our kids are aggressive and they have been able to overcome the mistakes. Blake had only been intercepted three times over his three-and-a-half years here.
“But we are the older and stronger team this year,” Graves said. “We ran the ball 58 times in the game and only threw 10 passes. One of his interceptions was my fault. He is a leader, a very smart kid. I listen to Blake if he’s got ideas to pass on. We’re fortunate to have him.”
Elizabeth’s Gus Terry was certainly at his best during the Colorado 7 League Cross Country Championships last Thursday held at the Aurora Sports Complex.
And best was his championship run in which he covered the distance in 16-minutes, :06.1 seconds. His effort helped lead the Cardinals to a second place finish in the team race behind Fort Morgan.
Terry was all alone at the finish line as Josef Gertner of Fort Morgan came across with a time of 16:26.8. The Mustangs Forrest Hough was third (16:33.1) and Tola Walio fourth (16:35.6. Fifth place went to Weld Central’s Adam Rhodenbeck (16:40.7).
Fort Morgan came away with the title with 27 points, followed by the Cardinals with 55 and Englewood with 71. Weld Central was fourth (106, Skyview sixth (125) and Vista Peak, seventh (145) to round out the team finishes.
Jake Thompson finished in ninth with a time of 17:30.2 and was the next highest Elizabeth finisher. Willis Scott was 12th (17:43.1), Gave Houston was 14th (17:58.6) with Shane Hathaway rounding out the scoring for the Cardinals with his 19th-place finish (18:56.8).
Josh Lee was close behind his teammates at 21st (19:05.9) while Jake Boss finished 22 (19:08.9).
The Elizabeth girls found the individual competition a bit tougher with Kayla Prario leading the Cardinals with a ninth-place finish (21:13.2). As a team, they were able to place third with 88 points, behind winning Fort Morgan (33) and Weld Central (67). Skyview (100), Vista Peak (103) and Englewood (122) completed the league field.
Ellen Hughes finished 15th for Elizabeth with a time of 22:02.2. She was followed by teammates Cayla Bahr (20th, 22:23.6), Cori Small (21st, 22:28.3) and Rebekah Baird (23:05.9). The non-scoring runners for the Cardinals were Moriah Lee (114th, 23:39.1) and Tatiana Pickens (148, 28:34.6).
Elizabeth, coached by Summer Katzoff, saw its softball season came to a close with a pair of defeats in last Saturdays, Region 4, Class 4A tournament held at Silver Creek High School in Longmont.
The Cardinals lost the first game to eventual region winner Berthoud, 10-4, then were eliminated from further play losing to Green Mountain, 12-2. The Cardinals finished the season 13-8.