TORRINGTON – With 11.5 seconds left in the ballgame with Upton-Sundance at the Torrington 3-yard line, Blazer head coach Russell Stienmetz tried to call timeout.
Torrington didn’t receive the timeout to the frustration of the coach, but in the end, everything worked out as the visiting Patriots fumbled the ball, securing Torrington’s 17-14 victory on Homecoming.
“I just wanted to see what they were going to come out in, but it worked out for us,” Stienmetz said. “I was on the field trying to get the referees attention to call a timeout. I’m screaming for it. They didn’t give it to us, but we got the turnover. It was crazy.”
The turnover and the win improved the Blazers to 4-1 on the season and 3-0 in the 2A East, moving Torrington into sole possession of first place in the conference standings.
The game was a battle throughout all 48 minutes with turnover problems for Upton-Sundance and penalty yards being racked up for Torrington.
In the end, the Patriots fumbled the ball four times, while the Blazers gave the visitors 111 yards due to 12 penalties.
“Penalties were a huge issue, especially in the first half. We need to clean those up,” Stienmetz said. “The things we need to focus on and get better is our run game, run blocks and our penalties.”
Midway through the first quarter, it was Upton-Sundance who took an early lead on a 75-yard touchdown pass, but five minutes later, Torrington answered.
Blazer senior Aiden Hull made a leaping grab over a Patriot defender on a 17-yard completion in the end zone. Chase Miller added the point after to put the Blazers in front.
In the second quarter, Miller added a 33-yard field goal to extend the Torrington lead to 10-6 at the half.
The score remained the same until late in the third quarter when Upton-Sundance regained the lead on a 25-yard run, adding the two-point conversion.
The lead was short-lived.
On the first play of the fourth, junior quarterback Beau Bivens found a wide-open Keiser Wolfe in the middle of the field for a 45-yard touchdown pass to put the Blazers back in front.
“Beau commands our offense. He knows the offense,” Stienmetz said. “We are going to fix a few of his reads where he is even more dynamic of a quarterback. We have all the faith in him.”
The teams traded possessions over the next 11 minutes, but in the end, the Patriots gave themselves one more chance to pull off the road win in the closing moments.
Following a Torrington punt, Upton-Sundance used up three minutes of the clock to drive 58 yards before handing the ball back to the Blazers with its fourth fumble of the contest.
“Turnovers were huge in this one,” Stienmetz said. “When the ball was on the ground, we got it.”
The Torrington offense produced 282 yards, including 256 yards through the air.
Wolfe led the team in receiving with 111 yards on six catches, while Miller hauled in three passes for 55 yards. Senior Cody Pierce led the team in rushing with 22 yards on seven carries.
Defensively, the Blazers gave up 259 yards of offense. Junior Carson Schultz and junior Cole Parriot led the team with 19 defensive points. Schultz had 10 assisted tackles, and Parriot had six. Both players also had a tackle for a loss.
The Blazers hit the road Friday to face Big Horn (2-2 overall and 2-1 in the 2A East). Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
“Another tough opponent in the 2A East,” Stienmetz said. “Once again, playoff implications are on the line. Every game is very important and critical from here on out.”