By Chris Graham
The Colorado State University – Pueblo ThunderWolves dominate in all phases of the game defeating the Adams State University Grizzles 63-17 at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl.
It only took two offensive drives to give the ThunderWolves an early 14-0 lead against the Grizzlies.
The first drive by the ThunderWolves was set up by a 20-yard punt return by Kevin Ribarich to put the ThunderWolves on their own 40 yard line. Running back Marche Dennard would take the handoff on the first play of the drive and cut up field for a 21-yard gain. Two plays later tight end Zach Boyd would haul in a 28 yard pass from quarterback Rex Dausin. Marche would finish the drive two plays later with a 3-yard touchdown run.
On the ThunderWolves second drive would start with better field position as a short punt by the Grizzlies and a 23-yard return by Brandon O’Donnell would put the ThudnerWolves on Adam State’s 35 yard line. It would take the ThunderWolves seven plays to score on a Dausin pass to Josh Smith for the 10-yard touchdown.
“We came out and played fast in the very beginning,” said ThunderWolves head football coach John Wristen.
The offense continued to dominate the rest of the game scoring four more offensive touchdowns. Dennard would score two more touchdowns to give him three total as well as rushing for 155 yards on 15 carries and caught a ball for 30 yards. Running back Austin Micci added a touchdown of his own while rushing for 108 yards on 15 carries.
“Everything went right,” said Dennard.
Dausin scored a touchdown on the ground as well as his lone passing touchdown. Dausin would end the day 11-16 with 146 yards and distributed the ball well hitting eight different receivers.
“It was nice to have everybody contribute to the victory,” said Wristen.
The ThunderWolf defense played lights out against Adams State. Coming into this game Adams State was the second best passing offense in NCAA Division II football averaging 370.4 passing yards per game lead by quarterback Nick Rooney.
“We really wanted to keep it all in front,” said Wristen, “we were able to put enough pressure on him to not hold [the ball].”
Rooney would end the day 18-37 passing for 166 yards. Rooney had one touchdown and one interception. That one interception proved to be costly for the Grizzlies as it was returned 99-yards for a touchdown by cornerback Darius Williams for his fourth interception of the season. The Grizzlies offense was held to seven third down conversions on 19 attempts.
“Right when I caught the ball I just saw a gang of red jerseys go right in front of me, it was all of my brothers leading me to the blue,” said Williams.
The Grizzlies would get on the board early in the second quarter with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Rooney to Marquese Surrell. The field goal would come early in the fourth quarter and the final touchdown would be score with 1:33 left in the game.
The ThunderWolves special teams played a big role in the win as early in the second quarter sophomore linebacker Kyle Rosenbrock blocked a punt and returned it for a 35-yard touchdown. In the fourth quarter O’Donnell would return a punt 63-yards for a touchdown.
“That sparks up the tema more than anything when the special team steps up,” said Dennard.
As for the 2017 homecoming court Chianna Schoenthaler would be named homecoming royalty. Demetrius Marrow would be named first attendant and Ashley Jones would be name second attendant.
“For me it is important because it goes to show that no matter where you come from you are able to do anything you set your mind to,” Schoenthaler said. “Being the winner of court is so surreal to me. I am proud to represent the student body and it means a lot that I was chosen.”
The ThunderWolves will go on the road to face Fort Lewis University Oct. 14 at noon