LOVELAND – The task at hand had shaped up to be no easy feat. But Broomfield knew what it had to do to get it done.
The No. 6 Eagles would have to go on the road and throw No. 3 Loveland off of its own game in order to contend in the Class 4A football top-10 showdown with valuable Longs Peak Conference standings on the line.
And they did just that, halting Loveland’s run-heavy offense in route to a 14-0 shutout at Ray Patterson Stadium on Friday night.
“They have a great run game, so we knew if we could get them out of their element and get them to pass the ball that we could take control of the game and drive it from there,” Broomfield linebacker Ryan Mazzola said.
The Indians entered the game boasting 4A leading rusher Noah Pangrac, who had racked up 1,050 yards through their first five games. As a team, Loveland was averaging more than 380 yards each game on the ground.
But on Friday night, the Indians (5-1, 0-1 Longs Peak) were unable to match that production against the physical defense of Broomfield (5-1, 1-0 LP), which held Loveland to just 123 yards and limited Pangrac to 65 on 16 carries.
On the other hand, Loveland’s defense posted an impressive performance of its own that kept them in the game long after Broomfield’s first possession that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run from quarterback Steven Croell.
“I knew we were going to get to a point where we were going to struggle, but our defense played tough. They got a couple scores but usually that wins games,” Loveland coach Wayne McGinn said. “Our defense stepped up and kept us in the game. It could have gone either way going into the fourth quarter.”
After taking an early lead in the first quarter, Broomfield’s offense ran into its own troubles after being forced to punt after two consecutive three and outs. The Eagles reached field-goal range at the end of the first half but went into the break with only a narrow 7-0 lead following a missed 27-yard attempt.
Pangrac then exited the game in the third quarter, forcing Loveland to put the ball in the air in order to keep the game alive. That’s when the Eagles took control.
Quarterbacks Riley Kinney and Zach Weinmaster each threw one interception, both of them landing in the hands of Mazzola. Jaxon Pallone recorded a key blocked punt and Kevin Burkel had a sack to seal Loveland’s fate.
The Eagles added a second touchdown late in the game on another 1-yard run from Croell for the fifth straight win, taking the outright lead in the conference standings. Jalon Torres finished the game as Broomfield’s leading rusher with 131 yards on 30 carries, while Tanner Garner had eight touches for 42 yards.
“It’s a battle in the trenches against offenses like that,” Broomfield coach Blair Hubbard said. “Our kids have really stepped up, on both sides, and we hope we can keep it rolling.”