LONGMONT — Longmont High School’s football team has every intention of winning the rest of its games this season. At this point, the Trojans have no other choice.
Saturday’s 30-20 loss to Loveland at Everly-Montgomery Field dropped the Trojans to 0-4 overall and, more importantly, 0-1 in the Class 4A Northern Conference.
To reach the playoffs for a fourth straight season, Longmont may have to win its last six games, starting Friday night at Greeley West.
“The bottom line is, we’re sitting at 0-4, and I’ve got to start doing a better job,” Longmont coach Doug Johnson said. “It starts with me.”
Saturday offered Longmont an opportunity to get its season on track and open the conference season with a big win against a rival.
It was Loveland (2-2, 1-0 league), however, that got off to the good
start, taking a 9-0 lead and never looking back.
Indians quarterback Beau Leyba threw for 138 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 110 yards and another score to lead the offense. On defense, Loveland held the Trojans to just 179 yards, and
Jonathan LeBeau returned an interception for a touchdown.
“It’s very (disappointing), but we can always come back from it,” Longmont receiver Nathan Henry said of the 0-4 start.
Henry came up with one of the few big plays the offense produced Saturday. A forward on the basketball team, Henry put his hoops skills to good use in the second quarter.
With the Trojans trailing 9-0, quarterback Reggie Andersen heaved a pass downfield to Henry. A Loveland defender tipped the pass, but the 6-foot-5 Henry jumped up and snared the ball and took it in for a 62-yard touchdown.
“It was like getting an alley-oop or a rebound,” Henry said.
Stephan Andersen had the Trojans’ other big play, scoring on a 31-yard run in the third quarter.
Take out the 93 yards on those two plays, however, and Longmont managed just 86 yards on its other 41 snaps.
“We had possessions where we moved the ball very well, and then there was some times where we had a bad penalty or something that held us back,” Henry said.
Turnovers didn’t help, either.
Longmont’s Kevin Jacobsen forced a Loveland fumble on the fifth play of the game, and Greg Lehman recovered it. After two passes to Lehman got the Trojans to the Loveland 12, Longmont fumbled on the next play.
The second turnover came just after halftime. Longmont trailed, 16-7, but had the ball and a chance to tighten the game. Then, LeBeau stepped in front of a Reggie Andersen pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown.
“We’re making some mistakes, but I would never fault for a second the effort we’re putting in,” Johnson.
The effort is certainly there, but the results so far haven’t been.
“We gave it all we got,” defensive end Brandon Lopez said. “We busted our butts out there.”
Staring at an 0-4 record for the first time in 33 years, however, the Trojans realize they need to give even more. The last Longmont team to start 0-4, in 1972, went on to lose in Week 5, too. This group wants to avoid that.
“We’re going to have a hard week of practice and get after it and go after Greeley West,” Henry said.
Despite the rough start, Longmont hasn’t changed its focus. Until they’re mathematically eliminated, the Trojans won’t give up on the playoffs.
“I believe that we’ll come back Monday and we’ll be ready to go,” Johnson said. “I believe that will all my heart. I believe in these kids, and I believe I have to do a better job.
“I think we have a playoff-caliber team. We just need to catch a break, and we will.”