LONGMONT — As one team’s winning ways ended, another team’s began.
Longmont Christian High School ended Faith Baptist’s 36-game win streak with a 44-14 Week Zero victory Friday night to kick off the season.
“It’s a great way to open the season,” Longmont Christian coach Jerry Martin said. “Hopefully this will give us confidence going into the rest of the season.”
The unaffiliated Pioneers had not lost a game in four seasons, enough time for no member of the team to have experienced
“I asked the seniors how many games they had lost, and they said one,”
Faith Baptist coach Randy Peterson said. “We could end the season 7-1.”
On the other side of the field, the Class A, 8-man Warriors had never beaten the rival that plays eight blocks from their own school.
That all changed when the Warriors’ veteran experience, size and talent overpowered the Pioneers, showing the returning Central League champs do belong at the top of the pile.
In 2004, Longmont Christian’s only regular-season loss came to Faith Baptist. They finished the Central League undefeated, but a piece of the puzzle remained in beating the Pioneers.
The Warriors got the chance at home. They used power to widen any gap Faith Baptist left and speed to out-run the younger Pioneers squad.
Mark Powers showed what speed can do, running back a kickoff and two punt returns for touchdowns. The second touchdown was called back for holding, but the first and last counted for 80-yard and 77-yard touchdown returns, respectively.
Powers also finished the game with 112 rushing yards, second to teammate Jacob Jelosek’s 116 yards.
“They did that all last season,” Martin said. “Having two talented running backs like that gives us a lot of options on offense.”
The pair switched carries and kept the Pioneers’ defense confused for most of the game.
Warriors’ quarterback Josh Mendenhall mixed in passes to move the ball down field, including 78 yards worth of receptions for wide receiver Brandon Adams.
Adams led the receivers and had two sacks on defense. The Warriors’ defensive line broke Faith Baptist’s ranks for seven sacks in the game.
“We just found holes and got to the quarterback,” Adams said. “Winning this game shows that we should have the confidence of league champions.”
The penetration eliminated the chance for Pioneers’ sophomore quarterback Ben Senn to establish a passing or rushing game. Although running back Michael Lingar rushed for 118 yards, only two of his 23 rushes were for more than 10 yards.
Sophomore wide receiver Zachary Rakestraw caught two receptions in the game, a 30-yard touchdown pass and the two-point conversion that followed Faith Baptist’s only passing score of the game.
“There would be receivers open,” Rakestraw said, “but by that time, (Senn) would be on his back.”
Longmont Christian knows this is the beginning of a big year for the veteran squad, but Faith Baptist will not take the loss as a cue to lie down.
“These kids put in a lot of work, coming down and working out when I wasn’t here,” Peterson said. “They’d bring the younger kids and practice with them. They worked too hard to throw it away after one game.”
Faith Baptist is usually the most difficult team Longmont Christian faces in the regular season, so winning means the team is competitive at the highest level of competition.
“It’s hard having this game at the beginning of the season because Faith Baptist is such a good team,” Martin said. “The guys showed they can work hard and are ready to be league champions again.”