Lions’ offense stuck in neutral

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Standley Lake takes advantage of short field to throttle Littleton in opener

By Michael Hicks

Trey Jarvis broke through the line, raised his hands and blocked T.R. Mitchell’s first-quarter punt. The stroke of good fortune set Standley Lake up at the Littleton 13-yard line. But more than that it was a sign of what was to come in the season opener Aug. 24 at Littleton Public Schools Stadium.
Taking advantage of field position all night, the visiting Gators scored four of their five touchdowns on drives that started in Littleton territory en route to a 35-3 whitewashing in the Zero Week contest.
“I don’t think physically we lost this game. Mentally, we lost this game,” Littleton head coach Jay Lukes said. “The first game of the season you can fix the mental errors. It’s a little more difficult when you’re physically getting beat. You can’t go out Week 5 and have bigger offensive linemen.
“In the game of football when you’re fighting the field position battle and when you’re always backed up in your own end zone you’ve got to do something to change that field position. The punt blocked really killed us.”
It opened the floodgates for Standley Lake to jump out to a 35-0 lead by early in the fourth quarter behind two Jordan Downing 2-yard TD runs and three scores from quarterback Jacob Naranjo, including two passing touchdowns to Conner Durant. Standley Lake also had two second-quarter touchdowns called back because of penalties.
The Lions’ anemic offense was held to just 119 total yards, including 89 rushing on 24 carries by tailback Austin Sonju. Littleton almost had as many penalty yards as it did offense, committing 12 infractions for 86 yards. The Lions, who didn’t get a first down until late in the second quarter, finished with just five for the game.
The Lions’ one saving grace was Mitchell’s 46-yard field goal with 8 minutes, 13 seconds left. While it put the Lions on the scoreboard for the first time in 2012, it couldn’t stop what is now a nine-game losing streak dating back to last season. In those nine games, including a forfeit loss to Valor Christian, the Lions have been outscored on average by 43.75 points per outing.
“(The field goal) helped with the pain a little bit, but a loss is a loss especially by 32 points,” Mitchell said. “It’s a loss. Nothing is going to alleviate all the pain. Not even a field goal.”

STANDLEY LAKE    7  7 14 7—35
LITTLETON     0 0 0 3—3
SL: Conner Durant 13 pass from Jacob Naranjo (Tanner Flack kick)
SL: Jordan Downing 2 run (Flack kick)
SL: Durant 22 pass from Naranjo (Flack kick)
SL: Downing 2 run (Flack kick)
SL: Naranjo 9 run (Flack kick)
L: T.R. Mitchell 46 field goal