Mesa Ridge thumps Canon City 35-24 in game not as close as score
Mesa Ridge might be the best-kept secret in Colorado Springs football, but after Friday night it’s going to be hard to overlook the guys in purple.
The Grizzlies celebrated homecoming with a 35-24 thumping of Cañon City in front of a packed crowd at C.A. Foster Stadium in Widefield.
Mesa Ridge (3-1) shook off a slow start and imposed its will on both sides of the ball all night, manhandling a Tiger team known for its traditional toughness and strength in the trenches.
“Guys on this team have been playing together since we were 8 years old, so I knew we could come out and punch them in the mouth, and we did,” Mesa Ridge running back Tremell Stanley said. “This team likes to hit people and I like the contact on offense and defense.”
After Grizzlies quarterback Cody Groff threw an interception in the end zone on the opening series, Cañon City (3-1) capitalized with a touchdown to take a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter. After that, the Tigers were left seeing purple and black all evening.
Stanley led the way with three touchdowns and multiple bruising runs, while Groff added two scores through the air and numerous long plays to set up running touchdowns.
However, the most impressive part for Mesa Ridge was on the defensive side. The Grizzlies shut down an offense that was averaging 34 points and had yet to face any real resistance in its first three games.
“We had too many mistakes in the first half, but the defense played so well that we could counter it,” Mesa Ridge coach Rob Braaten said. “In the second half we were a physical ballclub and we had a good attitude and kept rolling. I thought Tremell ran great and we threw it well when we needed to.”
On nine of its first 10 drives, Cañon City had five three-and-outs, three turnovers and a blocked field-goal attempt. Quite simply, the Tigers weren’t ready for a defense as quick and aggressive as Mesa Ridge.
Cañon City rolled into Colorado Springs fresh off a win at Liberty last week and ranked in the top 10 of the 4A state standings. The Tigers left after being outplayed in all facets.
Although they scored three times in the final minutes against backups, the Tigers trailed 35-6 with just over 5 minutes left.
“You need to be ready to play, and we were not tonight,” Cañon City coach Tom O’Rourke said. “Mesa Ridge came out ready to go and they were more physical, and that’s on me. We need to go back and figure out how to play the whole game.”