LAKEWOOD — Conifer football coach Larry Fitzmaurice might begin to rethink his intentions of retiring after this season.
Conifer improved to 6-0 after a wild 48-34 victory over Green Mountain on Friday at Trailblazer Stadium in a battle of top-10 Class 3A football squads ranked in the current CHSAANow.com poll.
“I’m sure the (assistant) coaches are going to be trying to talk me into coming back and doing things. Right now I’m saying this is going to be it, but we’ll see,” Fitzmaurice said with a smile. “Never say never.”
The Lobos were all smiles after the big victory that opened up 3A Mt. Metro League play.
The No. 8 Lobos trailed 14-0 early in the first quarter, but went on a scoring spree with senior quarterback J.R Hart tossing five touchdowns over the span of just more that 10 minutes.
“Watching film, we thought we could throw the football,” Fitzmaurice said. “We’ve got some great receivers and our pass protection was fantastic. The kids made plays. There are some many different weapons on this team. I can go so many different ways.”
Hart had touchdowns throws of 2, 72, 23, 2 and 86 yards on the night. It gives the senior 16 touchdowns passes on the season. Senior Sam Horneck caught three of the touchdowns, all of the long scoring passes. Senior Sam Dunivan, who also had a 28-yard touchdown run which was the final touchdown of the game for the Lobos, had the 2-yard touchdown catch.
“Green Mountain has great players and some of the best players in the state, but we know who we’ve got and our weapons,” Hart said. “It’s a well-rounded team and that is what I’m most proud of.”
Hart’s biggest touchdown toss might have come in the final second of the first half. He connected with junior Gunner Truby for a 2-yard touchdown on a fourth-down play with 2.7 seconds left before halftime to tie the game at 28-28 at the break.
Green Mountain (4-2, 0-1) had a touchdown runs by Jacob Chavez and quarterback Trey Towndrow, along with a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Trey Corkin and interception by Towndrow that he returned 60-yard for a touchdown … all in the first half.
However, it was all Conifer after halftime. The Lobos ended up scoring 27 unanswered points from late in the second quarter until No. 5 Green Mountain scored in the final minute of the fourth quarter.
“We came in after halftime like it was a 0-0 game and wanting to come out and show them something. Momentum is everything in high school football,” Hart said of the start of the second half. “The team that was going to score first was the one who was going to get rolling.”
An interception by Conifer senior Stephen Douglas on a long opening drive by the Rams set the tone.
“I was backing up and saw the chance to take it,” Douglas said of jumping the stop route near the sideline. “I knew we needed a pick instead of the hit. That turnover brought us up get us going to continue through the second half to get the win.”
Conifer intercepted Towndrow three times in the second half.
“Our secondary did a great job. They came up with some big plays when we needed to,” Fitzmaurice said. “(Douglas) is a hell of a defensive back and wide receiver.”
Hart connected with Horneck two plays later for the 86-yard touchdown to give the Lobos their first lead of the game at 35-28.
Senior Graham Dickson kicked a pair of field goals in the second half to help out the cause in the victory that was a measure of revenge for some of the Conifer seniors who faced several of the Green Mountain players four years ago.
“It feels great,” Hart said. “We played these guys in youth league in eighth-grade and since they beat us in that championship game it has been a rivalry.”
Hart was referring to a Carnation Bowl game actually played at Trailblazer Stadium in 2015.
Conifer moves forward with conference games against Kennedy and Lincoln before the Mountain Bowl showdown against Evergreen.
“Of course Evergreen is a big rivalry game. We definitely have a chip on our shoulder because we haven’t won since we’ve been here as freshmen,” Hart said. “We have a lot to prove still. We have two more games in the way (until Evergreen), but it’s definitely down the road.”
Green Mountain will try to regroup against George Washington next Saturday afternoon at All-City Stadium.