At exactly 6:59:59 p.m. last Friday, the 2013 Pueblo West High School Cyclone football team officially completed their “303,540 Minute Drill.”
The drill-to-end-all drills began at midnight on New Year’s Eve when the coaches plugged in the large clock in the weight room that counts down the days, hours, minutes and seconds to kickoff of the season opener versus Pueblo County High School.
This dramatic twist on the classic “2 Minute Drill” is Pueblo West High School head coach Monte Pinkerton’s way of bringing a sense of urgency and focus to off-season conditioning.
The Cyclones won their sixth consecutive Pigskin Classic — 28-0 — over Pueblo County by once again owning the fourth quarter. Pinkerton said he was impressed by his teams’ heart.
“I liked the way we came out and kept playing hard through the fourth quarter,” Pinkerton said.
“Our guys condition hard, and it shows in the second half and especially the fourth quarter of games.”
There were plenty of memorable plays in the first three quarters, as well, including a remarkable (if not record-breaking), four successful on-side-kick recoveries by the Cyclones.
Place kicker Brandon Summers was all smiles after the game.
“It feels awesome to sort of redeem ourselves from last year’s playoff game,” Summers said.
“Our special teams take a lot of pride in mastering the little things, and we know that we can impact a game in a big way. Our goal is to execute the on-side kick to perfection every time.
“Coach Pink has 100 percent confidence in us, and Coach [Mike] Schauer demands perfection in teaching the on-side kicking technique.”
Summers certainly has held up his end of the deal, logging hours of extra practice time to refine this invaluable skill.
And at least in this first game, he had a tremendous impact on the outcome.
The Cyclones needed every one of their seven total takeaways to keep this game close because of an epidemic of first-game jitters and mental mistakes.
The offense moved the ball effectively in the first half, grinding out over 200 yards on the ground.
But their drives were stalled by no less than 12 penalties in the first 24 minutes, and 18 penalties for the game.
“That’s not Cyclone football by any means,” said quarterback Zac Drury.
“The coaches will definitely have our full attention in practice this week.
“We will clean up those mistakes, and our line will come together quickly.
“Overall we felt good about how we controlled the clock.”
That is a major understatement.
Pueblo County managed only four offensive possessions, and ran only 27 plays for the entire game. The Cyclones defense allowed only 34 yards rushing and 7 yards passing for the game.
The defense also forced two key turnovers, including an interception in their own end zone by junior Cameron Vaughan.
Vaughan’s pick stopped County’s best offensive drive, and preserved the Cyclones tenuous 7-0 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Kamron Clough lead the way for the Cyclones offense, rushing for 142 yards on 33 carries, with 2 TDs. Drury ran for 112 yards on 19 carries, and fullback Kaden Wills added 45 hard-earned yards on several critical, short-yardage plays.
True to the Cyclones’ form, Drury officially attempted just five passes, although he did have several more pass plays called in the huddle.
But strong pressure by the Hornets’ defense forced Drury to scramble much more than he would have liked.
When Duruy was able to go to the air, he was efficient.
Both passes he completed were for touchdowns—a 6-yard toss to senior Noah Usry in the first quarter, and a 27 yard strike to sophomore Shane Larson in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory.
The 1-0 and No. 5 ranked Cyclones will have their first Pike’s Peak conference game this Friday night, as they travel to Colorado Springs to take on the 1-0 Rampart Rams.
Rampart defeated Canon City 44-30 in their first game of the season.
The Rams starting quarterback Cameron Hacker, threw for 297 yards and five touchdowns.
Hacker, who was the starting quarterback for the run-heavy Fountain-Fort Carson team last season, transferred to play for the pass-first
Rams this season.
“Rampart spreads it out on offense and throws the ball well,” said Coach Pinkerton.
“They will run out of several spread formations. Defensively, they will put eight men in the box to try to stop our running game.”
The latter competitive strategy is certainly nothing new for the Cyclone coaches and players who are looking for even better results in week two.
The Cyclones have added another kicking weapon to their arsenal this season.
Junior William Dos Santos, who is also on the varsity soccer team, is kicking extra points, and giving Brandon Summers some fun competition kicking field goals in practice.
The Cyclones first game in the new stadium at Pueblo West High School will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 vs. Montrose.
© Copyright 2014 The Pueblo Chieftain & Star Journal Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.