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Lions strike quick in opening win

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Three touchdowns in 44 seconds pushes Littleton past Golden

By Michael Hicks

ARVADA — It took just 44 seconds off the clock, though it felt a lot longer. But that’s all the time that quarterback Joey Drennan, running back turned receiver Tre Blake and the Littleton Lions needed to erase five year of season-opening doldrums.

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Drennan and Blake hooked up three times on three consecutive offensive plays late in the second quarter to score a 26-7 win over host Golden on Aug. 22 at the North Area Athletic Complex. It’s Littleton’s first season-opening win since a 41-6 victory over George Washington on Aug. 28, 2009. That year, the team started 3-0.

“It’s huge to start out positive,” second-year head coach Kurt Krantz said. “It’s a taste they’ve never had before. We just have to make it grow from there one week at a time.”

The passing game prowess wasn’t completely surprising, but it’s not the norm for a team that looks for the running game to open up the passing attack.

“We don’t expect that to happen every game. Our run game really opened up the passing game for us tonight. We didn’t expect to throw that much tonight, but it was nice that we did,” Drennan said. “That goes back to practice and repetitions with me and Tre being able to connect like that.”

Blake started the game at tailback with the intentions to alternate series with junior Noah McGhee, who finished with 26 carries for 179 yards and a 32-yard second-quarter TD run. But Blake switched out wide at the suggestion of receivers coach Ryan Marini. The move opened up the Lions’ passing attack.

“I was just trying to help my team out. We were down and I just wanted to pick us back up,” said Blake, who caught five passes for 104 yards. “Me and Joey have been doing this since our sophomore year. We’re in each other’s head.”

The late first-half scoring flurry was predicated by Littleton’s defense. 

A stop on fourth down with Golden at the Lions’ 24-yard line turned into a five-play, 76-yard drive, which was capped by the first Drennan to Blake TD strike on a crossing pattern.

After holding Golden to three-and-out on the next series, a botched snap over the head of Golden punter Gunner Graves set Littleton up at the Demons’ 16. On the next play, Drennan found Blake on a slant pattern for a 20-7 lead.

Golden’s next offensive play turned into an interception of quarterback Trent Morris by sophomore cornerback Ben Capra. One play later, Drennan struck again with Blake, this time on a 28-yard fly pattern down the right sideline.

“Without our defense we couldn’t score those three touchdowns. Our defense was on point as well,” Drennan said.

In all, Littleton forced three Morris interceptions, took advantage of the botched punt snap and forced two turnovers on down. Golden also missed a 28-yard field goal attempt by Morris early in the fourth quarter. 

Most of this after the Demons had taken a 7-0 lead in the second quarter on a 6-yard Morris to Cole Greff connection.

“Our kids flew around,” Krantz said, noting the defense’s fast and physical play.

Contact Michael Hicks at sports@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.