The Holy Family Tigers expected a shootout.
After all, the last time the Discovery Canyon and Holy Family matched up, they lit up the scoreboard for 124 points in a wild affair in Colorado Springs that saw the Tigers walk away with a 64-60 win.
Fast forward to Friday night and the visiting Thunder came in a perfect 3-0 after making it all the way to the Class 3A title game last season. Their No. 4 ranking didn’t scare the Tigers, who blanked them in the first quarter, but the Thunder’s size and push up front dictated the game from the second quarter on and they rolled to a 52-34 victory at Mike G. Gabriel Stadium.
“Losing makes me want to throw up and I feel like I’m going to throw up right now,” Holy Family coach Mike D. Gabriel said. “They got a taste of it tonight and I know they don’t want to feel that taste again.”
After jumping to a quick 6-0 lead after one quarter, Discovery Canyon stepped on the gas pedal in the second quarter. Behind the two-headed rushing attack of Ryan Monteleone and Marshall Pike, the Thunder pounded the ball right at the heart of the Holy Family defense.
In a matter of just more than four minutes of game time, Discovery Canyon scored 22 points on runs of 6 and 19 yards by Monteleone and a 29-yard dash by Pike that came one play after Holy Family’s fake punt attempt fell incomplete.
“We are not the biggest team and I like to think we are pretty physical,” Gabriel said. “Every time we play that team its a shootout and a battle, and that’s what I knew was coming,”
And after the run softened the defense a little, the Thunder took to the air with 6-foot-7 quarterback Zach Anderson hooking up with a wide open Drew Listello for a 22 yard score that capped a 30-point second quarter.
Gabriel, whose 2-1 team was celebrating the schools 5th Annual Military and First Responders Night and sported American Flag jerseys to commerorate it, lit a fire under his team at halftime and they responded with 14 quick points out of the gate to cut the lead to 30-20.
Junior quarterback Cal Carter, who hooked up with Kyle Helbig for a 52-yard score to open the game, connected again on passes of 16 and 25 to open the third with a defensive stand sandwiched in between.
The Tigers appeared to have a second straight defensive stop, but a late hit on a Thunder receiver who had slipped and got back up to try and run cost them. Pike, who finished with 257 yards rushing, would take it in from 40 yards out to put his team back up by 16 points.
“We need to learn from that. It was a hustle error, the kid felt terrible, but we need to learn that those kinds of things are going to hurt us,” Gabriel said.
Holy Family will try and bounce back next Friday in Johnstown against Roosevelt.