Grizzlies get hot against Huskies in football

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The rumble of freight trains moving along the tracks near Douglas County Stadium Oct. 11 was similar to the sound of the ThunderRidge offense, which rolled to a 56-27 Continental League victory over Douglas County.

Fourth-ranked ThunderRidge, which improved to 2-1 in the league and 6-1 overall, rushed for 432 yards and wound up with 595 yards total offense.

Senior running back Steve Ray gained 241 yards on 25 carries and scored three touchdowns. Ray has rushed for 595 yards in three games after being suspended for the season's first four contests.

Matt Stanley also scored three touchdowns and finished with 70 yards rushing on 14 carries.

ThunderRidge senior quarterback Brody Westmoreland hooked up with Mark Hopper on key passes to keep the Grizzlies' offense chugging along. Westmoreland completed all seven of his pass attempts for 163 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 37 yards on five attempts.

Hopper, who converted seven extra-point kicks, caught six passes for 157 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He is the Continental League's leading receiver with 658 receiving yards.

“We have one of the best offensive lines in the state so running behind those guys is easy,” said Westmoreland. “They get the job done. So if I can only throw seven passes, be efficient and get some yards and touchdowns that's going to be good.

“When we get in the right mindset we know we can come out and dominate and we can force our way down the field with just running and running following the offensive line. Getting those wide receivers in the mix, our offense is pretty hard to stop. The more we can get the ball in our hands, the better we feel.”

ThunderRidge coach Joe Johnson, whose teams has league encounters remaining with Chaparral Oct. 17 and Mountain Vista Oct. 25, was pleased with the Grizzlies' effort against the Huskies.

“We performed well,” said Johnson. “I thought Brody and Mark really had great games. We ran the ball well. They are a good team and we did some of the things we wanted to do.”

ThunderRidge led 35-7 early in the third period and the teams combined to score 41 points in the final 22 minutes of the game.

Douglas County coach Jeff Ketron admitted his team didn't do many of the things they wanted to accomplish.

“It just didn't go our way,” he said. “We just got behind and they put it all together. They are a good football team. They were ranked No. 1 in the state for a long time for a reason.”

Douglas County, playing without three offensive linemen who were expected to return this week, was led by quarterback Rope Ruel, who rushed for 103 yards and touchdown. He also passed for 151 yards but threw two interceptions.

League rushing leader Trey Smith ran for 70 yards and caught a 32-yard TD pass from Ruel.

Douglas County, 1-2 in league action and 4-3 overall, plays Highlands Ranch Oct. 17 and at Chaparral Oct. 24 in its bid to gain a state playoff berth.

“We've got to get to five wins,” said Ketron.