Times Staff Writer
GHS Football — Things are starting to trend upward for the Gunnison High School (GHS) football program, which picked up their third win of the season Monday against Buena Vista High School.
The Cowboys defeated the Demons 24-22 on the road in a game that took an extra period to decide.
Buena Vista took possession first in overtime — with the ball on the 10-yard line — and scored on their very first play. The Demon quarterback scrambled to his left in distress before flicking the ball to a wide open receiver for the touchdown.
Buena Vista tried to add a two-point conversion on the next play. However, GHS buckled down and stopped the try.
It was then the Cowboys’ turn. Needing a touchdown and extra points to go home with the win, Peyton Frias helped with the first part of the equation, delivering a touchdown on a two-yard rush. Sam Buckhanan scored the two-point conversion to win the game.
“It feels very good starting the season 3-0, but it’s not over yet,” said Spencer Dickey. “We still have a lot of room to improve and so much more to prove to everyone who doubted us. But overall, winning is great and we look to keep doing it.”
The Cowboys got things going early, putting together multiple successful plays to start their first drive. Yet, a bad snap and a few miscues resulted in the drive stalling and GHS punting the ball.
With Buena Vista on the five-yard line — after a Nico Marchitelli punt — the Demons struggled to get anything going.
The Cowboys’ defense swarmed to the football every play, resulting in a quick three and out.
The defense of both teams continued to cause problems for their opponent. That all changed, however, after Marchitelli returned a punt 45 yards, setting up the Cowboys’ offense on the Demons’ 40-yard line.
Two plays later, Marchitelli threw a hitch to Bryce Vincent, who took it 20 yards for the first touchdown of the game.
Instead of going for the extra point, GHS decided to try for the two-point conversion, which they scored — giving them an 8-0 lead.
The lead didn’t last long, as Buena Vista returned a kick-off 89 yards for the touchdown. On the next play, the Demons attempted their own two-point conversion and were successful, tying the game 8-8.
On the ensuing possessions, Buena Vista picked up additional momentum, intercepting a pass that bounced off a Cowboy wide receiver’s helmet.
The Demons tried to use the momentum in their favor. However, GHS’ defense stepped up once again on fourth down.
Despite momentum shifting back to the side of the Cowboys, GHS still struggled to get things going offensively. Similar to previous drives, it was a quick three and out. However, the Demons were unable to score again before the close of the half.
In the third quarter, Buena Vista’s offense finally started firing on all cylinders, marching all the way down to the GHS six-yard line. Unfortunately for the Demons, a costly 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty resulted in yet another drive stalling.
The Cowboys suffered a similar problem on their first drive of the second half. A costly penalty ultimately resulted in GHS turning over the ball on downs.
Things quieted for both teams for the remainder of the third quarter — and didn’t pick back up until the Cowboys’ first drive in the fourth quarter. With the ball on Buena Vista’s 20-yard line, Braydon Duncan ripped an 11-yard run, setting up Marchitelli to score three plays later on a run. GHS once again converted the two-point conversion, giving them a 16-8 lead.
The Demons responded. Helped by a 15-yard passing-interference penalty and a dropped interception, they scored on a fade route and picked up the two-point conversion, forcing the overtime period.
The Cowboys will have some time off before their next home game on Friday, Sept. 20. They host Hotchkiss for the Homecoming game at 5:30 p.m.
“We want to play together as a team, staying positive with each other and most importantly having fun with one another,” said Pascual Lerma in regard to what the team hopes to accomplish against Hotchkiss. “We also hope to come out physical and keep the game close.”