Spartans earn first win of the year in blow-out fashion

Photo by Angie Purdy – Berthoud linebacker Cooper Hidalgo squares up to make a tackle in Friday night’s game at Max Marr Field. Berthoud played terrific football, winning 42-6 to notch their first victory of the season.

By Dan Karpiel

The Surveyor

What a difference a week makes.

Coming off a 41-0 defeat on Oct. 4, the Berthoud High School (BHS) football team was sitting at 0-5 and it appeared the season was a lost cause. Enter last Friday night at Max Marr Field at BHS where the Spartans turned in a dominating performance, excelling on both sides of the ball to notch a 42-6 blowout win over Prospect Ridge Academy.

Berthoud looked like an entirely different team than they had through the beginning five games of the year, proving that keeping focused through the lean times and continuing to work hard every day in practice would ultimately pay dividends.

“Coach Lease on the defensive side of the ball and Coach Voth on the offensive side of the ball, they both put together an amazing game plan this week, and I’m so proud of these young men for executing it,” said Berthoud Head Coach Cory Ticnor. “We’ve had some struggles; we’ve had a real serious schedule up to this point, but we didn’t drop our heads, and tonight we came out and really delivered for the community.”

The game plan was to set the tone early on both offense and defense, and Berthoud was up to the task. Taking the ball on the first possession of the game, the Spartans assembled a five-play, 55-yard drive relying entirely on feeding the ball to star tailback Cooper Stratmeyer. The senior gobbled up yards, ran over, and around, Prospect Ridge defenders, and scored on a nine-yard touchdown run to put Berthoud up 7-0 just over two minutes into the game.

After Berthoud’s offense did their part in the first series, Austin Burdette, Cooper Hidalgo, Skyler Radloff and Dalton Williams set the tone for the Spartan defense right off the bat. Back-to-back tackles for loss punched the visiting Miners in the mouth. “Our whole game plan was to come out early, get after them from the get-go, and play like that for the rest of the game, and I think we did that great,” Hidalgo explained.  

Berthoud did surrender a big play with a 40-yard catch-and-run and then gifted the Miners another 30 yards thanks to two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties – both issues that have plagued the Spartans all season – but after that played what was largely a clean game.

A couple of inconsequential procedure penalties was all Berthoud would be whistled for the remainder of the game. More importantly, the Spartans did not allow any further big plays by the Miner offense, recovered three fumbles, and did not turn the ball over. Playing a clean game was a huge factor in Berthoud getting the win and something Hidalgo explained was a priority going in. 

“We can be a lot better than we’ve played the last five games. If we just play clean and play our hardest; we’re showing that we can be a really good team,” the junior linebacker explained. Ticnor said it has been a point of emphasis to avoid the self-inflicted wounds and play sound fundamentally. “Once we come out and we start executing, we move our feet, we get some clean blocks, hold onto the football, this is what I expected from the beginning of the season and what I expect for the rest of the season,” Ticnor said.

Berthoud scored four touchdowns in their next six possessions on offense and only allowed Prospect Ridge to cross midfield once in their six times with the ball. The Spartans defense allowed only five completed passes and sacked Miner quarterback Dylan Meredith seven times, three of which were credited to Burdette.

Stratmeyer was nothing short of phenomenal on the night and finished the game with an astounding 325 all-purpose yards, 191 rushing, 134 receiving, on 22 touches and scored five touchdowns. Baird turned in what was certainly his best performance of the season, completing nine of 16 attempts for 167 yards and two scores. Baird was poised and comfortable in the pocket all night and made multiple textbook throws downfield, placing the ball perfectly for his receivers time and again.

The win was the first for Ticnor as Berthoud head coach, but he refused to take a victory lap, saying the win was about the players and it is just the first step in the Spartans return to contention in the 2A ranks. 

Said Ticnor, “For me, it is what is it, we’re worked really hard and I’m proud of this for me and my family, but I think for the football community in Berthoud this is a big deal. I think we needed to have some positive results to reward us for the hard work we’ve put in and turn the corner and start to move this program in the right direction.”

Berthoud (1-5, 1-1 conf.) will host Westminster based The Academy High School (4-2, 1-1- conf.) this Friday night for the annual homecoming game.

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