Loveland High School Stays Alive With Their First Playoff Win of 2021

Loveland High School’s student section is trying to help their defense out as they get especially loud on third and long. (Photo by Asa Gomez)

Asa Gomez | CSU Journalism

 

The first playoff game for sixth seed Loveland High School was Friday, November 12 after being granted a first-round bye and not playing the previous week. They faced a then 7-3 Vista Ridge High School and confidently won 48-24, advancing to the third round. They faced a then 7-3 Vista Ridge High School and confidently won 48-24, advancing to the third round.

The Red Wolves defense started the game on the field and their pass coverage was immediately tested by Vista Ridge’s Brayden Dorman, the fifth-best passer in the Colorado 4A division. 

Garrett Harstad discusses the previous drive with his coach after throwing his second touchdown. (Photo by Asa Gomez)

Starting the game, Dorman’s back-to-back-to-back incomplete passes reassured LHS fans that their defense was prepared to win.

As the LHS offense took the field for the first time that night, all eyes were on quarterback Garrett Harstad. He scored three of his team’s touchdowns on Friday and despite two of them coming off of pass plays, it was what he did on the ground that helped thrust his team to victory.

“When he runs the ball, when he runs his offense, he does it with purpose as you can tell!” LHS Coach Allan Jeffries exclaimed about his quarterback. The score was 12-33 in LHS’s favor at the end of the first half.

The best play to sum up Harstad’s performance on Friday came in the third quarter. From the fifty yard-line, Loveland’s quarterback housed a QB keep after juking a defender and breaking two tackles. Due to a block in the back, the touchdown ended up being called back.

As the third quarter was coming to an end, Vista Ridge found themselves down 41-12. Taking a shot downfield, Dorman heaved the ball to his slot receiver in triple coverage, and LHS corner Lane Thomas came down with an interception.

Vista Ridge looks to score their third touchdown of the game, lining up on Loveland’s four yard-line. (Photo by Asa Gomez)

“I think its one of those things, we’re playing some really good passing teams,” Coach Jeffries said, citing their matchup against Longmont High School. “Our cover guys have been lockdown”.

The Red Wolves coaching staff slowly began to pull their starters out of the game. With the score in mind, the determination and focus expressed by VRHS on November 12 are admirable. Even though a comeback seemed unlikely, Dorman displayed the true nature of a competitor by continuing to run his offense at full force, scoring twice in the fourth quarter. Loveland went on to win 48-24.

Highlights of the Game:

  • The interception from Lane Thomas was Loveland’s 11th in the year. They have now intercepted opposing quarterbacks in ten of their eleven games.
  • During the regular season, Harstad led the team in rushing yards with 1100 and in rushing touchdowns with 16.

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