COLORADO SPRINGS — Turnovers can be a day killer. Even more so when two happen on the first two offensive possessions of the game. Two early fumbles from Lamar gave The Classical Academy a quick 14-0 lead in a Class 2A Tri-Peaks League opener.
The game turned into a bit of a slugfest, and it was the Titans coming out with a 48-27 win over No. 9 Lamar.
"They've been playing from the front almost all season other than Limon," TCA coach Justin Rich said of Lamar. "It was good to have that boost and to get those points."
Those two scores, as most of the scores of the night, came from sophomore running back Cade Palmer.
Averaging over 140 yards per game entering the contest, Palmer grabbed touchdown runs of one and 10 yards in the first half and added a juggling 20-yard touchdown catch to account for all three TCA (3-2 overall, 1-0 Tri-Peaks) touchdowns in the first 24 minutes of the game.
But Palmer was quick to say that without the effort of the defense in forcing two fumbles and grabbing an interception, he's not in a position to score those points.
"Those turnovers were huge," Palmer said. "Without those we don't go to 21-0."
With the game seemingly in hand for TCA, Lamar (3-2, 0-1) finally got into a groove toward the end of the first half. Quarterback Zane Rankin found Walker Kee and Grayden Martinez for touchdown passes to cut the Titans lead to 21-14.
"Our kids fought hard, battled back," Lamar coach Jason Tice said. "I can't say enough about our kids. I love our kids."
The game got crazy when Lamar recovered the opening kick of the second half. Rankin then found Kee for another touchdown pass to tie the game.
But the running game from TCA became too tough to handle. Palmer ran the ball 18 times for 127 yards in the second half. He ended the game with 193 total rushing yards to go with his five total touchdowns.
That's a nice little Friday.
"He's a hard worker, a great kid and he comes from a great family," Rice said. "Every game he just keeps coming up with something new."
The Titans tacked on a field goal and another touchdown before Lamar was able to find the end zone again, but at that point it was too tough a hill to climb.
"They ran the ball really effectively against us and we just didn't have an answer for it," Tice said.
He admitted that Lamar's goal of winning the Tri-Peaks might be out of reach but that the non-league schedule has put them in a good position moving forward when it comes to the playoffs. Lamar heads back to the Colorado Springs area next week for another Tri-Peaks game, this one against Woodland Park.
The Titans will look to improve to 2-0 in league play when they travel to Manitou Springs.