Westminster wears down Northglenn with running game

Adam Hothersall
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 10/16/18

Early in the third quarter at Westminster, the Wolves (6-2, 6-1 in conference) found themselves with just a two-point lead over Northglenn (4-4, 3-4 in conference). However, the prolific Norsemen air …

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Westminster wears down Northglenn with running game


Early in the third quarter at Westminster, the Wolves (6-2, 6-1 in conference) found themselves with just a two-point lead over Northglenn (4-4, 3-4 in conference).

However, the prolific Norsemen air attack couldn’t prevent Westy from scoring 21 unanswered points in route to their 35-12 victory Oct. 12.

Two opposite styles of offensive play calling between the cross-town rivals had both defenses gasping for air all night. Westminster did it through the running game with a season-high, 413 yards as Northglenn countered with 35 passing attempts.

Despite senior quarterback Devin Scudder tallying 199 yards through the air, carrying the Norsemen offense, opposing junior quarterback Romeo Rodriguez and his backfield mates stole the show.

Behind three 100-yard backs in seniors Nic Lopez (12 carries, 109 yards), Miguel Villalobos (13 carries, 108 yards), and Rodriguez (six carries, 100 yards), the running game excelled thanks to the aggressive play of the offensive line. While soaking up time on the clock and resting a defense that has allowed just 13.6 points per game this season, the confident Westminster squad stuck again to their bread-and-butter.

“I thought we made some key mistakes in the first half,” Westminster Coach Kerry Denison said. “They (Northglenn) controlled the clock in the first half, but in the second our offense and blocking up front was a lot better. We made some adjustments at halftime, and they came through and did a great job.”

The second half didn’t begin the way Denison and his team anticipated after Northglenn scored on their opening drive for the second week in a row. A 6-play, 62-yard drive (Scudder 3-for-3 with 60 yards on the drive) capped by an 18-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Hector Ortega cut the Wolves lead to two. A minute and 12 seconds later after two Westminster plays, Rodriguez spaced the lead out back to nine after a 79-yard sprint to give his team back the momentum. The elusive play-caller doesn’t run much, but when he does, he makes it count.

“We know Romeo can run. I guess I found out he’s a lot quicker than I thought he was when he made that long run tonight. He has the option to run anytime he sprints out, and if he sees green, we want him to take it.”

As 25 of the 27 Westy plays in the second half were on the ground, TD runs by senior Tanner Sisco (13-yarder with 3:42 left in the third), and Villalobos (1-yarder with 9:51 left in the fourth) capped a second half that put a toll on the Northglenn defense.

“We try to keep wearing the opposition down offensively. Defensively, we have been great all year long. We were a little shocked with Northglenn’s passing tonight because they normally don’t throw that much, but our defense had that bend-but-don’t-break attitude. Without them, we are not in this game.”

Two senior outside threats for the Norsemen presented headaches all night for the Westminster secondary in Nick Watkins and Ortega. As the offense could only muster up 43 yards on 19 carries all night, the athletic wing players were relied heavily upon to move the chains. Watkins recorded a team-leading nine catches for 105 yards while Ortega compiled four catches for 73 yards and a TD.

Westminster defensively dominated the line of scrimmage. Activity upfront by seniors Francisco Cerino, Manuel Avitia, Sisco, junior Eddie Vang, and sophomore Gilbert Bujunda stifled any thoughts of running the football for Northglenn. Bujunda’s standout performance included a sack and a late fourth-quarter interception.

Before potentially their biggest game of the season Oct. 26 at Smoky Hill (8-0, 7-0 in conference), Westminster looks to take down Rangeview (1-7, 1-6 in conference) on the road Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m. Northglenn hopes to bounce back Oct. 18 at Five Star Stadium against Denver East (6-2, 6-1 in conference) at 7 p.m.


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