Roaring Fork falls to Faith
Little things usually are the difference between winning and losing in the playoffs. Such was the case in Roaring Fork’s 20-12 loss in Saturday’s Class 2A football quarterfinals.A twist here and a turn there and the Rams would be moving on to a spot in next week’s semifinals. Instead, it’s the Eagles. Faith Christian converted two Rams’ mistakes into a pair of touchdowns to wrest away Roaring Fork’s early 12-0 lead.A ball that slipped through Parker Nieslanik’s hands in the second quarter allowed Faith Christian defensive back Mike Cardenas to intercept a Kade Gianinetti pass for a 62-yard score.Later in the period, a rare Christian Tena muff on a fourth down punt gave Faith Christian the ball on the Roaring Fork 13 yard-line – an easy scoring opportunity the Eagles cashed in two plays later when running back Dustin Albright rushed in from 10 yards out.”We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times and that made the difference,” said Roaring Fork head coach Matt Hauptly. “Taking nothing away from Faith Christian, we beat ourselves. If we play that football game 10 times we’d have won nine.”But, as Hauptly mentioned, Saturday was the odd day. And, due to the miscues, the Rams became the odd man out of the 2005 playoff picture.”Faith Christian is a phenomenal team. They know how to win,” Hauptly said of the 11-0 Eagles. “You can’t make two mistakes against them – you have to play a perfect game of football. I feel like other than those two plays we did.” The Rams were close to perfect throughout the first quarter.Jake Bowman appeared to have returned the game’s opening kickoff for a 94-yard touchdown – only to step out-of-bounds at Faith Christian’s 17.That’s was no problem for the Rams.Five plays later Tena scored the game’s first touchdown with a two-yard run. A few minutes later, Nieslanik capped a 10 play, 72-yard touchdown drive when he snared a 2-yard pass from Gianinetti to take a 12-0 lead.The Rams were rolling. And Hauptly felt another quick score could damage the Eagles psyche.”If we would have got one more score, that would have put them into a scramble, desperation mode,” he said.Cardenas’ interception ruined the plan.”That interception they returned for a touchdown was a real momentum shifter,” Hauptly said. “It was more than them putting points on the board. It deprived us of our momentum.”Albright’s run – with 7: 21 left in the first half, gave Faith Christian the lead for good.Roaring Fork never got its offensive mojo back after halftime. After Jeremy Lewis’ 37-yard touchdown run raised Faith Christian’s lead, the Rams failed to move any closer than the Eagles’ 38 yard-line in any of its three second-half possessions.While the loss ended Roaring Fork’s season prematurely, Hauptly and the Rams have a lot to feel good about, beyond going undefeated in the regular season and being among the top five 2A teams in Colorado from the preseason on.”What pleased me most about this team was the character they played throughout the season,” Hauptly said. “They took every opponent seriously. They took every practice seriously. They may not have won the state championship, but the heart of these kids is unbelievable. The breaks just didn’t go their way.”
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