Farmers rout Eagles

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By Brian Forbes

ARVADA — Quarterbacks get all the attention, right?

They get the credit for just about everything and they get mentioned in every sports story because, well, they’re the quarterback.

Ever think they earn it?

Consider Dakota Ridge’s Bolton Howes. The junior took a beating throughout the Eagles’ 29-0 loss to second-ranked Wheat Ridge on Sept. 24, but he didn’t blame a tender shoulder or the fact that the Farmers were coming after him at the North Area Athletic Complex like his jersey was stuffed with $100 bills.

"A lot of it was my fault," Howes said. "I need to get my eyes downfield and not pay attention to the pressure."

In Howes’ defense, it was some nasty pressure – and he took several blindside shots that would have made your teeth rattle.

"It’s what I have to do," he said.

On a night when the Dakota Ridge defense stuffed the Farmer’s vaunted running game, the Dakota Ridge offense went completely missing. The Eagles rushed for just 39 yards and Howes threw for 49 to give them a paltry 88 yards from scrimmage.

Running back David Judd pounded out a team-high 52 yards, and Brent Terrell picked up 22. Howes, however, was stuck for minus-35 yards.

The Farmers offense, however, had a Plan B. Behind quarterback Charlie Land, they threw the ball for 223 yards and three touchdowns for the Class 4A West Metro League victory.

"If I had known they were going to throw three touchdowns passes to beat us, I would have said, ‘Good for them,’" Eagles coach Ron Woitalewicz said. "That was our goal, to shut down the run game and make them do some things they didn’t want to do."

Two of the touchdown passes came on fourth down.

Led by senior Steven Barber, the Eagles held the Farmers’ starting backfield to just 51 yards on 34 carries, and kept them out of the end zone. The Eagles got burned in the air, even when they were twice in good position to knock down or intercept the pass that fell to Farmers’ receiver Eric Shannon in the end zone.

The Farmers’s backups added another touchdown with 1:03 remaining.

While the defense kept the Farmers in check, the offense could never make them pay. The Dakota Ridge offense turned the ball over twice.

"Offensively, we just never got into much of a rhythm," Woitalewicz said. "We were a couple blocks away here and there of popping some plays, missed a block here and almost got it there."