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FORT LUPTON – Things should have gone much better for Fort Lupton in its homecoming loss Friday night. After all, the Bluedevils forced seven Sterling turnovers. Defensive back Marcus …
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FORT LUPTON – Things should have gone much better for Fort Lupton in its homecoming loss Friday night. After all, the Bluedevils forced seven Sterling turnovers. Defensive back Marcus Lenox hauled in two interceptions.
But Fort Lupton couldn’t take advantage of Sterling’s generosity. Compounding that was six Bluedevils’ turnovers, and that was enough to send the Tigers to a 29-13 win and spoil FLHS’ homecoming.
With Frederick coming to town this week (7 p.m., Friday), FLHS coach Jeff Priestley knows his team can’t repeat that kind of play against the Warriors.
“We’re going to have to work more on ball securing drills,” Priestley said. “We have to shut down those turnovers. Our turnover rate is in bad shape. We had some good flashes where we really executed well. But to get over the top, we have to address some of these problems we have.”
Both offenses had trouble mounting much of an attack, which left matters in the hands of which team could capitalize on the other’s mistakes. Fort Lupton took its only lead late in the first quarter when Zach Boyd carried it over from the 4-yard line.
But three interceptions accounted for all of Sterling’s points in the first half. Thirteen of those points came in the last 90 seconds of the half.
Sterling senior Xavier Talton returned the second-half kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown to put matters away once and for all.
“I just saw the hole I had to hit, and I ran to it,” Talton said. “Everyone else blocked. I just had to execute it myself.”
Fort Lupton got its last touchdown from sophomore quarterback Jeff Merritt. He ran it in from a yard out with two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“It was a rough night,” Priestley said. “We had so many turnovers. We’ve been struggling with that. We just can’t make those kinds of mistakes. We’ve got to address that and straighten that out.”
Luke Engelhaupt led the Sterling ground game with 72 yards on 13 carries. Quarterback Brendan Diaz finished 3-for-10 for 41 yards. Fort Lupton’s Jordan LaRoche led his team’s ground game with 49 yards on 12 carries. Merritt completed 10 of 29 passes for 113 yards. LaRoche caught two of those passes for 37 yards.
“The kids played well,” Sterling coach Mark Bauder said. “It’s a learning process for us. We are young and inexperienced. Our kids are getting better every week. We ran the ball well. We took it at people and played some pretty darn good defense.”
“We played good defense tonight,” Priestley said. “We had some key stops that got the ball back to our offense. We just coughed it up and gave it back too many times. You can’t win football games like that.”
Contact Sports Editor Steve Smith at 303-659-2522, ext. 224, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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