For the second week in a row, Widefield's defense managed to contain one of the area's top football talents, but only for a half.
Widefield trailed by seven to Falcon and blue-chipper Kalen Ballage at halftime last week before falling 38-0. On Friday, the Gladiators trailed vaunted Sand Creek quarterback Micheal DeCarmo by the same margin.
Then the nimble QB used his legs and his arm to take over in the second half for a 27-0 nonconference win at C.A. Foster Stadium.
"They did an outstanding job," DeCarmo said of the Gladiators defense. "They have a lot of guys who play both ways. I think the big thing in the second half was them wearing down."
Sand Creek (2-0) pulled away with two scores in three minutes in the third quarter. DeCarmo threw a pass to Jordan Preston, hitting him in stride for a 30-yard touchdown with 4:09 remaining.
The Sand Creek defense later blocked a Widefield punt and recovered the ball at the Gladiators' 14, eventually leading to a 17-yard scoring run by DeCarmo after one Sand Creek's nine penalties. That second score of the third quarter made it 21-0 with 1:09 left.
Chasing DeCarmo was exhausting, but the Gladiators' defense stood tall for its third turnover on downs of the game, midway through the fourth.
Unfortunately for the home faithful, Widefield quarterback Andrew Wentzel threw his second interception of the game on the next play to set up the Class 4A Scorpions with first and goal. That led to an eventual 18-yard TD pass from DeCarmo to Preston for a 27-0 lead after the kick failed.
During the first half, both defenses forced the offenses into a number of mistakes with Sand Creek senior defensive back Pedro Diaz picking off Wentzel in the first quarter and pouncing on a blocked field-goal attempt during the second. Scorpions lineman Ryan Wesley got his left forearm on the kick attempt by Jacob Vitalich after he burst through a gap in the Widefield line.
DeCarmo, who finished with 247 combined yards (132 rushing) was on the Gladiators' minds all night after his 333-yard performance (168 rushing) in a 24-10 Week 1 win over Lewis-Palmer. He opened Friday's scoring with a 5-yard TD run with 4:46 left in the first half.
When things did go well for the Gladiators' offense, now scoreless through eight quarters, a penalty would kill any momentum.
Class 4A Widefield (0-2) looked to break through with a 12-yard touchdown run by running back DQ Baker midway through the second quarter, but a facemasking call negated the score.