Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Niwot falls to Thompson Valley


October 11, 2018

Jocelyn Rowley

Halfback Julian Molina (32) lines up in the backfield in the loss to Thompson Valley on Oct. 4.

The three-win Niwot Football team fell back to earth a bit after a 47-17 thumping by the previously winless Thompson Valley Eagles at Everly-Montgomery field on Oct. 4. The Cougar offense moved the ball well against the Eagles, but a penchant for miscues and turnovers reared its ugly head once again, dooming the Cougars to their first loss since Aug. 30.

“They’re certainly better than an 0-5 team,” Niwot Head Coach Jeremy Lanter said after his team’s first loss in the new Class 3A North Valley League, which also includes Erie, Fort Morgan, Northridge and Roosevelt. . “I felt we just made some crucial mistakes and we had exchange problems again tonight that we haven’t seen in the last month of football that we’ve been playing.”

Niwot held Thompson Valley scoreless until late in the first quarter, when a snap to punter Eric Ruiz sailed over the junior’s head and was recovered by the Eagles at the Cougars’ 28-yard line. They then scored an easy touchdown on the next play.

Niwot put points on the board in the second quarter, after a long drive from their own 34. Junior Julian Molina did the heavy lifting for Niwot during the possession, with five carries for 33 yards and the culminating touchdown. Doing split duty as halfback and linebacker, Molina ended the night with 63 yards and five solo tackles.

Thompson Valley tacked on two more touchdowns in the second quarter, then another two in the third, and their final early in the fourth, due in large or whole part to Niwot turnovers. The Cougars finally got back on the board with a Josh Palomares field goal late in the third quarter, this time thanks to the efforts of Liam Flanagan, who carried the ball seven times during Niwot’s drive from their own 23.

Niwot’s next drive ended in a Flanagan touchdown, his fifth of the season. The junior had 137 rushing yards on the night, bringing his team-leading total to 525 yards for the year. He also had 47 kick-returning yards.

Rounding out Niwot’s three-man halfback platoon was Ruiz, who had 69 rushing yards on 11 carries, his longest for 22 yards. He also handled punting duties for the Cougars, and had 64 yards on three punts. In all, Niwot gained a total of 274 yards on the ground, their highest total of the season.

Niwot did not have much success passing against the Eagles. Sophomore quarterback Ayden Bartko went 3-for-8 for just 16 yards, with one interception. Nor did the Cougars have a great game defensively. Niwot also committed two untimely penalties that wiped out long offensive gains.

Jocelyn Rowley

Senior DaeMonte Terry

Despite seeing disturbing echoes of the 2017 season against Thompson Valley, Lanter isn’t worried that his team will revert to its losing ways. With three wins under their belt, the 2018 Cougars still have something to prove to themselves and their fans.

“Pain can teach you things that winning can’t,” he said. “So this is just another opportunity for us to learn and to grow and to keep working toward our goal. We’re still a game away from doing something that hasn’t been done in Niwot in ten years, and we’re still fighting for that next game.”

Niwot takes on the undefeated Erie Tigers at their place on Oct. 11, then heads to Greeley to face Northridge on Oct. 19.


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