Domination by the O-line gives No. 3 Montrose football a big win over No. 5 Heritage

Montrose Heritage football

(Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)

LITTLETON — Montrose has no problem grinding a team down with runs between the tackles. That’s because at any given moment one of the running backs will break through a huge hole created by the offensive line or an opposing defense will load the box allowing for a big (yet rare) pass play.

That’s summing up Montrose’s Wing-T offense to, well, a T.

The Class 4A No. 3 Indians gave No. 5 Heritage fits on offense to come away with a 54-28 win at Littleton Public Stadium on Friday night.

Montrose (6-0 overall, 1-0 4A Metro) was powered by a well-balanced attack that saw Emmert Kastendieck run for three touchdowns and Keagan Goodwin have an efficient day through the air, including finding Chris Eckerman for a 22-yard touchdown pass in the closing minutes of the first half.

“We haven’t shown a lot of that,” Montrose coach Brett Mertens said. “We’ve practiced them and it’s fun to see our kids complete them. It was cool to see.”

The first drive for the Indians was methodical as the ball mainly went to Eckerman who practically dragged the Eagles (5-1, 0-1) defense into the red zone.

Kastendieck finished off the drive with a five-yard touchdown run, the shortest of his three touchdown runs in the first half.

“We were really good, especially our line,” quarterback Keagan Goodwin said. “We work as a team and the line crushed it today.”

And they were just getting started. On the first play of the second offense drive for Montrose, Eckerman broke for a 58-yard touchdown, putting the Eagles on their heels early.

Montrose Heritage football

(Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)

Heritage was able to find some offense and sustain a drive deep into Montrose territory where Gianni Palazzo ran for a three-yard touchdown to cut the Indians lead in half. Unfortunately for the home crowd, that would be the closest Heritage would be for the rest of the night.

“Those first two drives, their offensive line came out and showed what they were all about,” Heritage coach Tyler Knoblock said. “I tip my hat to them to how well they were prepared they were and how they played up front.”

The second half told more of the same story for both teams. Montrose was in a groove while Heritage seemed out of sorts. Conner Cummiskey was forced out of the pocket on the first Eagles drive and threw an interception to Zach Ubben to account for the first turnover for either side.

And then Eckerman made the Eagles pay. He broke for a 70-yard touchdown for Montrose’s fourth score of more than 20 yards. In all, Eckerman ran for 295 yards and scored three times on the ground and once on a reception. Two of his rushing touchdowns came on runs that started in Montrose territory.

“It was all on the o-line,” Eckerman said. “I had wide open holes. It was all the o-line.”

Cummiskey found Erik Olsen for a 23-yard touchdown pass to once again cut into the Montrose lead, but by that point the lead was too much to overcome.

“We need to be humble, but we’re feeling good,” Eckerman said. “We want to keep this going.”

With the loss for Heritage, Montrose now stands as one of two undefeated teams in 4A, Loveland being the other.

Heritage will look to rebound next week at Aurora Central.

The Indians hope to build on the momentum when they host Denver South next Friday. But any question as to whether or not the Indians are a top team in 4A were all but answered with Friday’s decisive win.

Montrose Heritage football

(Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)