WESTMINSTER – The Holy Family high school football team took care of business Friday night in the opening round of the Class 3A football playoffs.
Jacob Lawver scored three touchdowns and the No. 8 Tigers stifling defense kept No. 9 Pueblo South out of the end zone for the first 40 minutes of the contest as they rolled to a 34-18 victory.
It was a rematch for the two squads as Holy Family edged Pueblo South 34-27 in the season-opener, and the Tigers made a point not to let it get that close this time.
“They were a completely different team than they were in Week 1 and so we had to be ready,” Lawver said. “They are a tough team, and it was going to be a battle. We needed to take care of business and that’s what we did.”
Holy Family now has the tough task of facing the top-seeded Roosevelt Rough Riders in the quarterfinals. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, in Johnstown. The Rough Riders topped 16th-seeded Thomas Jefferson 56-15 Saturday. They also defeated the Tigers 49-7 earlier this season, taking advantage of Holy Family’s four turnovers.
The Tigers didn’t struggle with turnovers Nov. 12, but coach Mike Gabriel was frustrated with the number of penalties his team had against Pueblo South.
“We have to limit our mistakes,” Gabriel said. “It may not have looked like it (Friday), but that is one thing we are focusing on. If we don’t fix those, we don’t have a chance.”
Penalties were a big factor in the Colts’ cracking the scoreboard first. Pueblo South used back-to-back pass-interference penalties to set up a Harrison Ohmstead 25-yard field goal.
However, that lead didn’t last long. Next drive, Holy Family found the end zone after Lawver raced through the defense for a 21-yard score.
The Tigers added to their lead on the next drive, Rylan Cooney and Chase McNaughton connected on a 51-yard pass to set up Lawver’s second touchdown to push the lead to 14-3.
While Holy Family’s offense was finding the end zone, the Tigers’ defense was constantly putting pressure on Pueblo South’s talented quarterback Jace Bellah. They picked up five sacks in the game and recorded nine tackles for a loss. Alex Austin led the way with a pair of sacks and four tackles for a loss, John Hulquest, Dominic Neely and Dominic Mazzulla all recorded sacks, and Jared Delgado added three tackles for a loss.
Holy Family’s defense was so dominant in the second half that the Colts didn’t pass midfield until the fourth quarter, and the Tigers took advantage of the great field position.
Lawver scored his third touchdown on the opening drive of the half ,and Chase McNaughton found paydirt to push the lead to 27-3 going into the final quarter.
Pueblo South was able to score a pair of touchdowns in the fourth, but Cooney hooked up with Dillon Dahlgren on a 65-yard touchdown pass to seal the victory.
Lawver finished the contest with 218 yards on the ground, while McNaughton added 81 and Cooney tossed for 147 yards through the air.
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