Spartans slay Warriors

Berthoud offensive linemen Eric Montes runs the ball during the final play of the game against the Frederick Warriors on Oct. 23 in Frederick. Jan Dowker / The Surveyor

Berthoud offensive linemen Eric Montes runs the ball during the final play of the
game against the Frederick Warriors on Oct. 23 in Frederick.
Jan Dowker / The Surveyor

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

Get up off the mat. Get back on the horse. Use whatever cliché one prefers, the Berthoud High football team got back in the proverbial saddle in a big way after suffering back-to-back defeats in their last two games, as they routed winless Frederick 47-8 on Oct. 23.

“We talked about it all week long, last week hurt us but it’s over with and we’ve got to get going again,” Berthoud Head Coach Troy Diffendaffer said following the game. “This was a team that we needed to come out and just execute, stay focused, stay dialed-in and do what we need to do and try to get better as a team and we did.”

It was as thoroughly a dominating performance, on both sides of the ball, as Berthoud has turned in all season. The Spartans offense found the end zone on each of their first six possessions, taking a 40-0 lead with 8:49 left on the clock in the second quarter to kick-in the running clock mercy rule. While the offense was scoring every time they touched the ball, Berthoud’s first unit defense held the Warriors to three three-and-outs, forced and recovered a fumble and blocked a field-goal attempt.

“The defense again has been the defense all year long, they come out and just control the game on that side and, offensively, [quarterback] Cody [Braesch] came out and executed the offense perfectly,” Diffendaffer said.

According to Braesch, the runaway win was just what the Spartans needed, and it provided a healthy boost in team confidence.

“Obviously the last two games for us were tough, but coming down here we knew what we needed to do,” said Braesch. “This team, Frederick, is having a tougher year, so if we can come out and kind of build our confidence back up and do what we need to do, take care of business, we will get that feeling that we’re back in it, so I think it was really important for us to do what we did tonight.”

The senior gun-slinger, who was pulled from the game in favor of sophomore Brock Voth before halftime, finished the night with 183 yards through the air, four passing touchdowns, and a passer rating of 148.1 He also ran twice, gaining 26 yards and finding the end zone once.

The big play was Berthoud’s bread-and-butter in the first half. On the opening play from scrimmage, Braesch tossed to tailback Jimmy Fate who, on a trick play, connected with Max Bump for an 80-yard catch-and-run to put the Spartans up 7-0 before even 15 seconds had ticked off the clock. A screen pass from Braesch to Chad Ellis on the next drive went for a 23-yard gain, setting up a Braesch to McCallan Castles’ touchdown pass.

“Everyone kind of came together knowing we have to learn from our mistakes from the two games we lost and move forward from there and do everything we can from this point on to win these games and keep playing like we know how to play,” Braesch explained. “We can’t let those two losses affect the rest of our season.”

Junior defensive lineman Ben Douglas put a quick end to the Warriors next drive when he tackled running back Lance Hartsoch for a six-yard loss on third-and-two, forcing another three-and-out for the home team.

Braesch connected with receiver Jackson Hall two plays later for a 65-yard touchdown and the rout was on; Berthoud held a 20-0 lead with 7:19 remaining in the first quarter. After Ellis recovered a Frederick fumble to set Berthoud up at the Warriors 24-yard line, Braesch found Hall again for a 24-yard score, the second of Hall’s three on the night.

“I think we kind of got our confidence back,” said Braesch. “I was able to connect with a couple receivers on a couple routes I wasn’t able to in the last couple of games. We were able to run a couple plays and have a couple looks that weren’t working for us before, so I think being able to do that boosted our confidence and gave us some hope that we can do what we need to do and what we want to do on the offensive side of the ball.”

The enormous lead allowed the Spartans to rest a sizable portion of their first team offense and defense and get some valuable varsity experience for the second-stringers. Voth finished with an impressive nine-for-11 passing with 99 yards and a touchdown in relief of Braesch.

“Take care of business here and then move on and get ready,” said Diffendaffer. “That old cliché that we got to play one game at a time and we can’t look past an 0-7 team and a 2-5 team to Roosevelt because if we have another hiccup along the road we have no chance at all. So we had to come out and execute and take care of business and our guys did.”

Berthoud (6-2, 3-2 conf.) travels to Greeley on Oct. 30 for a conference matchup with Northridge (2-6, 2-3 conf.) before returning to Berthoud for its regular season finale with first-place Roosevelt the following week.