KERSEY — Fort Lupton’s Jeff Merritt spent most of his Friday night running all over Platte Valley High School’s field or trying to avoid a pass rush that put him on the ground four times.
Even so, the junior quarterback managed to throw for 89 yards, haul in a touchdown pass of 85 yards from DJ Vurciaga and still be excited about this week’s game at Sterling.
“It’s frustrating. But it’s still football,” Merritt said. “It’s a fun game, and I get to keep playing it. I’ll be here next week.”
Sterling is 3-3 overall, 2-2 in the class 2A Patriot League. The Bluedevils are 1-5, 0-4. Sterling beat University 20-6 last week. Cody Lechman has 576 rushing yards this season. Kyle Weingardt (16 catches, 258 yards) tops the pass receiving corps.
“They are always a well-coached football team. He’s going to bring it physically. They are always a tough challenge,” FLHS coach Jeff Priestley said.
Platte Valley took advantage of the running of Logan Stitzman (10 carries, 135 yards and a touchdown) and several short fields to win 47-15 Friday night in Kersey. The Broncos turned three short punts and an interception into touchdowns in the first half.
FLHS’ Logan Fern ran 13 times for 101 yards. Jalen Vasquez caught four passes for 63 yards and a score.
“We came out flat,” Merritt said. “We can’t come out flat against a good team like that. We’re trying to figure out our identity a little bit. It’s hard to find.”
“We struggled up front. We had some key stops defensively (FLHS forced three turnovers in the first half). Offensively, we really struggled,” Priestley said. “It snowballed a little bit. We had a tough time with our punt game. We knew their punt block was going to be devastating. We were able to take advantage of that later.”
Merritt’s touchdown reception came late in the second quarter.
“We ran a trick play for the one I caught and ran in,” Merritt said. “Later in the game, we ran a jail break and got blockers downfield for our wide receiver. It’s a screen pass to a wide receiver.”
Homecoming brings University to town Oct. 19.
“Every game, it seems like we had two or three quarters where we played well. But we have to put four quarters together,” Priestley said. “It’s something we haven’t turned the corner on. But we’re working on it.”
“We have to know we can’t give up,” Merritt said. “That’s the main thing. We just can’t quit when we play. We have to keep going.”
“We played a lot better in the second half,” Priestley said. “We made some good adjustments on defense and started executing better offensively.”