Mountain Area Midget Football
by Gary King
Blake Boulter, Nolan Lindberg, and Stephen King represent Gilpin County on the 8th grade Mountain Predators football team. The team is managed by Lisa Boulter of Gilpin County and has been coached by Jay Egger of Evergreen since the boys started playing football in the 2nd grade. Home fields and all practices have been located in Evergreen Colorado for the past seven years. This year’s 8th grade Predators entered the playoffs as the 3rd ranked team in the Jefferson Midget Football Association (JMFA) and, on Saturday, November 12, played the 1st ranked Lakewood Tigers for the Carnation Bowl championship.
The Lakewood Tigers received the opening kickoff from the Mountain Predators returning the ball to their own 47-yard line. On the following third down the Tigers attempted a pass that was intercepted by Predator’s Shane McAnish (99) giving the Predators possession of the ball on the Tiger’s 38-yard line. After one 1st and 10, on the third down, the QB, Stephen King (18), prepared to pass but finding no receivers open opted to run the ball taking it into the left corner of the end zone for the 1st touchdown of the game. The following field goal attempt did not clear the uprights making the score 6 to 0 in favor of the Predators. On the following kickoff the Tigers took possession on their own 34-yard line where the ball went out of bounds. After the Tigers made one 1st and 10 the Predators held them for three downs forcing a punt on the 4th down. The Predator’s punt return was stopped on their own 22-yard line. Failing to make 10 yards in three downs, the Predators were forced to punt. The Tiger’s punt receiver returned the ball to the Predator’s 44-yard line. The Tigers followed with two 1st and 10s to end the quarter on the Predator’s 7-yard line.
On the first play of the 2nd quarter the Tigers ran the final seven yards to the right corner of the end zone for a TD. Following up with a field goal the Tigers pulled ahead with a score of 8 to 6. At the following kick off, the Predators return was stopped at its own 23-yard line. On the following 2nd down, the Predator QB, Stephen King (18), ran the ball up the center of the field to the Tiger 10 yard line for a 65-yard gain and a 1st down. On the Predator’s 2nd down King (18) completed a pass to McAnish (99) in the Tiger end zone for another Predator TD. Hartness (10) followed up with a field goal making the score Predators 14 to Tigers 8. Following the kick off, the Tigers returned the ball to their own 44-yard line. After completing one 1st and 10, on the their 3rd down, the Tigers ran up the middle where the ball was stripped by McAnish (99) and recovered by Blake Boulter (19) giving the Predators possession on their own 41-yard line. After completing three 1st and 10s on a 2nd down and with the ball on the Tiger’s 8-yard line, Shane McAnish carried the ball into the end zone on a left sweep. Hartness (10) followed with another field goal putting the Predators ahead 22 to 8. At the kick off the Tigers return carrier was stopped at his own 27-yard line. Following a 1st and 10 to the Predators 44-yard line, the Tigers threw a 14 yard pass to the Predator 42-yard line where the Predator safety, King (18), hit the receiver causing him to drop the ball for an incomplete pass. On the play King (18) sustained a shoulder injury that kept him from playing the rest of the game. The Tigers followed with two 1st and 10s, but were unable to score before the game reached half time.
At the 2nd half kickoff the Predator receiver was stopped at his own 31-yard line. The Predators began the second half with their backup QB, Blake Boulter (19). After failing to make a 1st and 10 the Predators were forced to punt on their 4th down giving the Tigers possession on the Predator 45-yard line where the ball went out of bounds. After the completion of one Tiger 1st and 10, on the 2nd down the stadium lights went out and stayed out causing the game to be delayed until the next morning.
The remaining 16 minutes of the Carnation Bowl were played on the following morning, Sunday, November 13, at Trailblazer Stadium in Lakewood. The game reconvened at 9:00 a.m. with the Tigers possessing the ball on the Predator’s 28-yard line on a 2nd down. On the 1st play of the day the Tigers ran the ball into the Predator end zone for a TD but had an attempted field goal blocked by Predator Garrison Park (29). This made the score Predators 22 to the Tigers 14. The Predators returned the following kick off to their own 38-yard line. Five plays later the Predators were stopped short on an attempted 4th down run turning the ball over to the Tigers on the Tiger 38-yard line. Seven plays and two 1st and 10s later the 3rd quarter ended with the Tigers on a 2nd down at the Predator’s 31-yard line.
On the 1st play of the 4th quarter the Tigers completed a pass into the Predator end zone for what would have been a TD if it had not been called back on a holding penalty. On the following 4th down the Tigers attempted to run the ball for a 1st and 10, but were stopped short giving the Predators possession on their own 33-yard line. Following one 1st and 10, on the 3rd down the Tigers intercepted a pass and fell on the ball on their own 30-yard line. After a 6-play 57-yard drive the Tigers failed to make a 1st and 10 on their 4th down and the Predators took possession of the ball on their own 13-yard line. On their 4th down with 1 yard to go for a 1st down the Predators attempted a QB sneak, but were stopped short giving the ball to the Tigers on the Predator’s 23-yard line. On their following 3rd down, with just over a minute left on the play clock, the Tigers threw a 22-yard pass that was intercepted on the Predator’s 8-yard line by Predator Danny Schneider (31). The Predator QB, Blake Boulter (19), took a knee twice to end the game with a final score of Predators 22 to the Tiger’s 14.
Last year our 7th grade team set a record as the 1st Mountain team to go undefeated and win the Carnation Bowl. This year’s 8th grade Mountain Predators set a new record as the first MAMFA team ever to win back-to-back championships. When asked for his thoughts, Coach Egger simply said “character builds championships.” Although this year ends our Gilpin boys’ eligibility to play for MAMFA, they are eagerly looking forward to playing for the Gilpin High School football team next year. Congratulations Mountain Predators, 2016 Carnation Bowl champions!