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The scoreboard looked eerily similar to the score a year ago when the Lone Tree football team took on Tri-County Friday night.
The Lion offense exploded for 28 in the second quarter in a 67-0 rout, a one-point larger margin of victory than last year’s 66-0 home win.
Lone Tree got off to a good start with a 14-point first quarter, courtesy of a one-yard run by Matthew Selck and a 15-yard Avery Knock run. The defense was stout, though they allowed a first down on each of the first two drives.
The second half is where the Lions really started to show their class. After a long ball on fourth down went through the arms of the Lion wide receiver in the end zone, Lone Tree really buckled down. The defense strung together a string of three and outs, which correlated with six straight scoring drives, three of which were only one play.
“We realized we needed to step it up there.” Selck said.
“We can do some great things on defense and we know we’re capable of great things on defense.”
Brock Smith led the defense with five tackles and the lone sack. Keegan Edwards collected four.
Houser scored on a 34-yard touchdown run on the first play of a new drive and Harmon Miller went deep to Brock Smith for his first touchdown on Lone Tree’s very next play from scrimmage, which came after Tri-County fumbled on the ensuing kickoff.
“It felt really good,” Miller said. “My receivers were getting open, I just had to get them the ball. The line was giving me time, I just had to make the right reads and get the balls in guys’ hands and let them make plays.”
Miller followed that quickly with his second touchdown pass on the next drive, this one to Keegan Edwards. Knock then set Lone Tree up at the eight for Houser’s second touchdown on the next play to give Lone Tree a 42-0 lead at half.
Lone Tree got the ball to start the new half and Selck picked up his second rushing touchdown of the night. Five players combined for seven scores, with Aaron Slaughter and Ryan Kirkpatrick picking up the final two, and Houser led the team with just 58 yards on a night where nine rushers contributed to 216 rushing yards.
“It really opens up our offense. We can give it to one guy, and then next time give it to another guy. I think any guy on this team can really help the team to win,” Selck said.
Bohr said it also keeps one runner from getting worn down if they can manage to spread the load around.
“The more guys we can get involved and are successful, the better off we’re going to be,” he said.
Miller then picked up his third touchdown, another deep ball to Edwards, for a 55-yard score. Miller finished with 129 yards on 6-10 passing and, more importantly, put his ability to hit on the deep ball on tape.
“We just need to get more comfortable with the offense,” Miller said of the improvement.
Bohr said he was happy that the good decisions Miller made this week paid off in tangible ways for the team.
“Last week he actually played a good game, as far as making decisions, but the stat line didn’t show that,” Bohr said. “It was nice to see him come out and complete some passes and have some success. That will definitely help things out because teams will know they can’t just key on the run.”
All of the success was set up by the Lone Tree special teams unit, whose only hiccups came late with a string of missed point after attempts. Austin Marshek kicked the ball into the end zone at will, and paired with a stingy defense and a nice night returning punts for Avery Knock it made things easy for the offense.
“It’s a big thing in high school football when you have a guy who can kick it out of the end zone like that, and I was very impressed by Avery’s returns,” Bohr said.
“People don’t really think too much about special teams and its impact on the game, but it just goes to show you tonight that it’s a really important part.”
Lone Tree takes the field next in their home opener Sept. 1 versus H-L-V.