FMHS loses last-second heartbreaker
Long roadtrip to Littleton up next for the Wildcats
By Tim Merris
The FMHS Wildcats brought their 1-0 record into the game with Douglas County High School looking to go 2-0 only to be denied by the Huskies on a last second play.
The game started at 7p.m. under threatening skies with some lightning flashing in the distance. Neither team played particularly well in the first half failing to convert three fumbles and one interception and playing to a 0-0 tie at the end of the half. Both teams came out fired up and ready to play but had trouble holding onto the ball.
The second half was a different story. The half started with the Douglas County Huskies kicking off to the Wildcats. Senior Zach Griggs ran the kickoff back 50 yards to the Huskies 26 yard line. Just four plays later, junior quarterback Jacob Lynch hit senior Kaie Clark over the middle for the game’s first score making it 7-0 Wildcats with 9:47 to go in the third quarter. Douglas County came back immediately to tie the score 7-7 on a nice run by Junior running back, Trey Smith.
With 5:07 left in the fourth quarter Smith scored again to make it 13-7. The extra point attempt was blocked and the score remained 13-7.
Fruita then drove 80 yards culminating with a touchdown pass from Lynch to junior Brandon Kubick with 1:45 to go in the game. It appeared the Wildcats were on their way to their second win of the season. All they had to do was keep the Huskies out of the end zone and run out the final minute and 45 seconds.
Easy to say but not so easy to do. The Huskies pesky running back, Smith took a screen pass from senior quarterback Brandon Belk and scampered 63 yards through the Wildcats defense to put Douglas County up 20-14 with less than a minute to go. Not to worry, Coach Sean Mulvey has faith in his offense and was confident they could drive down field for the winning score.
The Wildcats were on a mission to do just that. Griggs caught a long pass from Lynch down the right sideline and with the help of an interference penalty, Fruita had the ball inside the Douglas County 10 yard line. The crowd was in a frenzy and the noise level was intense. Win or lose, the Fruita fans were letting their team know they were behind them all the way to the end and appreciative of the teams effort.
With 0.4 seconds left on the clock, there was time for one last play. Griggs ran a slant pattern over the middle and with two Husky defenders draped all over him, Lynch lofted the ball his way. All three players went up for the pass and Griggs managed to get a little higher but the ball just grazed his out- stretched fingers and fell to the turf.
The rest of the Husky players raced onto the field to celebrate the win with their teammates while the Wildcats stood quiet and stunned. They had come so close to pulling off such an amazing comeback.
The Wildcats may not have won the game but on this night they showed their fans what this team is made of. They played with heart and character and are not afraid to take on any team. After the game, Coach Mulvey talked about how proud he is to coach these boys tonight and pointed out their never give up attitude. He described them as “scrappy” and that until the last second ticks off the clock, they will work their butts off for the victory.
Douglas County came in knowing they had to contain senior running back, Vince Grasso and they stacked the line to do so. Grasso still managed to run for 83 yards on 16 carries. Lynch picked up the slack by completing eight of 14 passes for 81 yards and most importantly, two touchdowns. Coach Mulvey praised his quarterback by saying he made great reads.
The Douglas County offense was led by a stellar performance by running back Smith. He rushed for 235 yards on 15 carries, caught three passes for 63 yards and scored three touchdowns.
Fruita travels to Littleton next Friday to take on the Heritage High School Eagles in a 7p.m. game. The Eagles are currently rated number 39 in the state while Fruita is rated number 68.