LA JUNTA — The first class of the La Junta High School hall of fame was inducted during halftime of Friday night's game against Kent Denver.
The inductees may have gotten a good look a future hall of famer along the way. Albeit several years down the road, senior quarterback Jon Nuschy looked every bit the part of a Tiger legend in La Junta's 33-0 win over the Sun Devils at Tigers Stadium.
"I don't know if you can go that far," Nuschy said. "It was a great game for us and we just gave to those guys what they gave for the great town of La Junta."
The Class 2A No. 2 Tigers (4-0 overall) have been hot to start the season despite a change at head coach. Ty Buderus assumed the head spot from his brother Clint, who took the job at Pueblo West. As the defensive coordinator under his brother, Ty really only got to pay attention to half of what Nuschy - the two-time 2A player of the year - was capable of.
Seeing Nuschy rip a ball away from a defender on defense wasn't a new sight, but he got to appreciate the full picture of Nuschy's game against a Kent Denver team who is constantly in conversation for a 2A state title.
In the first half alone, Nuschy completed six of 11 passes for 76 yards. He threw one touchdown, a great misdirection call going across the field where Ryan Malden was waiting all alone. That came as time expired in the second quarter, putting the Tigers up 19-0 at halftime. He also rushed for a touchdown in the first half.
"He's a special player," Buderus said. "You just have to let him do whatever he wants."
He wasn't about to be slowed down in the second half as he broke for a 44-yard touchdown run on the Tigers' first possession.
As strong as the offense looked, the defense might've been the better unit through the game. The No. 5 Sun Devils (2-1) were unable to muster much, gaining just 46 yards off offense through the first two quarters.
The bulk of that came from quarterback Joey Licht and running back Seth Lindsey who combined for 40 rushing yards.
"We needed to execute some things that we didn't execute early," Kent Denver coach Scott Yates said. "It could've been a different game if we go in down just 12-7 at halftime. But we gave it another long two-minute drill drive right there at the end."
This is the third consecutive year that the Tigers and Sun Devils have played in the regular season. The home team has each contest, giving the Tigers a 2-1 edge. That edge moves to 3-1 if the 2016 2A state championship game is factored into the equation.
The 2018 version of the Tigers just might be the best yet. Coming into the game, they had surrendered just 14 points the entire season, all of them to Pagosa Springs.
If the Tigers are going to hoist their second state championship trophy in three years, they know that they'll have to do it on the strength of their defense, which on Friday played at a level that would appropriately be described as legendary.
"Our defense has stepped it up the past two weeks, shutting out Alamosa and a really great Kent Denver team," Nuschy said. "We have that strong bond that I saw in our 2016 guys. It hasn't been here in the last year, but now it is and I feel really good with our team right now."