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Prep notebook: At 6-0 for first time, Palmer Ridge football not slowing down

October 8, 2017 Updated: October 8, 2017 at 7:53 pm
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Palmer Ridge senior Cory McLellan (1) celebrates with senior Zach Hester (8) and senior Nathan Holmes (13) after a touchdown against Cañon City Tigers in boys' football on Friday, September 29, 2017 at Don Breese Stadium. Photo by Isaiah J. Downing

Palmer Ridge is 6-0 for the first time in program history

Through the first six weeks of the season, the Bears have meticulously dissected each defense they've faced and have stopped every offensive scheme thrown their way.

6-0. Perfection.

On Friday, Ty Evans threw for four more touchdowns in a 49-10 win over Lincoln to give him a state-best 24 TDs to just three interceptions on the year. The Bears' staunch defense, meanwhile, allowed 14 points or fewer to the opposition for the fifth time this season.

Savor it, Palmer Ridge coach Tom Pulford said. Just not for long.

"I think when you're in the middle of something like this you pause long enough to recognize it's a pretty cool accomplishment and you let it sink in a bit," Pulford said. "But you also know what matters most is the next game."

The Bears (6-0, 1-0 3A East Metro League) face Denver North (6-0, 1-0) in a battle of unbeatens on Saturday. The Vikings are the only 3A team to allow fewer points (52) than the Bears (61) through six games.

"It's two evenly matched teams," Pulford said. "Both teams have great defenses. Both teams have offenses that can really be explosive if they can take advantage of things. I expect a great game."

Trojans surging offensively with Donnell under center

Fountain-Fort Carson coach Jake Novotny had no trouble moving Eric Donnell from running back to quarterback this season.

The more touches, the better.

Donnell ran and threw for a touchdown, leading the Trojans past Poudre 31-28 for their third straight win.

The victory was No. 4 on the season for the F-FC (4-2, 1-0 5A Mt. Lincoln League) - already one more than last year when it trudged through the season at 3-8 to make the postseason as a 15 seed.

"Especially offensively we see ourselves being more explosive (this season)," Novotny said. "No. 5, the quarterback, has done a lot of that for us."

On Friday, The Trojans rushed for more than 350 yards. Their previous high was 271 rushing yards in a 21-16 win over Ralston Valley in Week 1.

What's more, the Trojans scored their 124th point of the season after having only 122 through 11 games in 2016.

Rampart aiming for a state title in XC

While the state cross country meet is still three weeks away, the Rampart Rams have already done enough to put themselves in the championship conversation.

Connor McCabe took second at 16 minutes and 20.92 seconds as the Rams had five runners go sub-16:50 in their win at the Doherty Spartan Invitational at Bear Creek Park on Thursday.

Jacob Dewey (16:32.76), Sadio Fenner (16:40.45), Afeworki Zeru (16:43.67) and Ben Conlin (16:48.18) all finished inside the top 10 for Rampart.

"We think we have a squad that can compete with anyone in the state," Rampart coach Robert Young said. "We're excited for the opportunities that are coming here in the next three weeks or so."

The Rams have not won a boys' state cross country title since they did it three times in the 1990s, according to Young. He believes Mountain Vista, Dakota Ridge, reigning champ Monarch and Rock Canyon will be among the other 5A contenders.

"There's not one (team) that I'm like, 'I'm afraid of those guys,'" Young said. "We think we can run with anybody and we're looking forward to get the opportunity to try."

Gonzales, a track star on the gridiron for Peyton

Over the spring, Peyton's Josh Gonzales joined the track and field team to improve his speed.

He made the gridiron his own personal track on Friday.

The junior needed just five touches to rack up 226 yards of total offense and four touchdowns, leading the Panthers to a 40-0 win over St. Mary's.

The stat line looked like this: three carries for 133 yards and two receptions for 93 yards. He also had a 63-yard kickoff return to open the game.

On the season, Gonzales has 930 all-purpose yards.

"He's a very special talent," Peyton coach Richard Deems said. "Every time he touched the ball he was going for a touchdown or making something special happen."

Senior defensive end Mitchell Swartz had two more sacks to give him a Class 1A-most nine on the season for the Panthers (5-1, 2-0 1A Tri-Peaks League), who recorded their fourth shutout this season.

To date, Peyton has allowed just 20 points - 13 of those coming in a 13-7 loss to Highland a month ago.

"They understand that every guy has a job to do," Deems said. "No one player tries to do too much."

Peyton will host Lake County (2-4, 1-1) next week before finishing the season on the road at Buena Vista (2-4, 2-0) and Colorado Springs Christian School (4-2, 1-1).

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