The Cody football team tore up the ground on Friday night, racking more than 400 rushing yards in a 47-20 win over Rawlins in its home opener at Spike Vannoy Field.
Coach Matt McFadden attributed the rushing attack to a stellar performance from the offensive line and Matt Sandoval agreed.
“The line was blocking really good, everyone was doing their job,” Sandoval said. “Other teams should be scared.”
Sandoval, playing in his first game of the season after a suspension, scored three touchdowns and rushed for 85 yards in the win.
Nine different Broncs touched the ball and six scored in a game that once again demonstrated the Broncs’ plethora of offensive weapons.
“We have a lot of depth which is really, really nice,” Duncan Radakovich said.
A defensive play put Cody in the driver’s seat. A Tristan Blatt interception return for a touchdown that gave the Broncs a 21-point lead late in the second quarter – Rawlins would get no closer.
“The game kind of slows down when you’re a senior and have put in that much work,” McFadden said of his veteran player. “We’re asking him to play a lot of different positions and do a lot of different things.”
The Broncs did most of their scoring in the first half, scampering for 197 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
The Outlaws struck first after receiving the opening kickoff. After a 60-yard Cody Newbrough reception, Kadin Forney ran it in from 12 yards to take an early lead. After a missed PAT it was 6-0.
“We busted a few coverages early,” McFadden said. “New guys, new reps. We’ve got to go back out and fix that.”
The Broncs returned the favor on their first offensive drive. Drew Trotter provided 45 yards on the drive alone, pushing to the Rawlins 4 after a 16-yard reception. Hunter Hays then handed off to Cody Phillips on a sweep play, going untouched into the end zone to make it 7-6.
Despite allowing a 39-yard reception to Connor Mendez, the Broncs defense wavered the storm and returned the offense the ball with 1:46 left in the first.
Here Charlie Beaudrie came alive in his first game of the year after being suspended with a 50-yard rush to the Rawlins 11. Beaudrie weaved, dipped and collided with a handful of Outlaws on the play before finally brought down.
With 11:54 left in the second, Sandoval finished off the drive from 11 yards out to make it 13-6 after Jackson Gail missed the PAT. Sandoval added another strike just 2:36 later when he scored from 10 yards out on an end-around play to the left. After Gail nailed the PAT it was 20-6.
With 8:02 left in the half Beaudrie made an interception around midfield and took the ball all the way back to the 5-yard line. He came up limping after the whistle and did not play for the rest of the game.
“We had a couple guys go down and the ability of the second-level guys to step up and play good quality ball just like the first guys was really good,” Radakovich said.
A Cody penalty after the pick brought the ball back to the 20, but Chaz Cowie made quick work of the Outlaws defense on two consecutive rushes – one a score from 4 yards out for a 27-6 lead at 7:44 in the second.
The Rawlins offense found some life on the next drive as Mendez caught an 11-yard TD pass to bring his team back within two scores but the Broncs struck again shortly after.
With 1:38 left in the half, Rawlins QB Quentin Romero dropped back from his own 13 and threw a crossing route that found Blatt on the receiving end. Blatt found a hole through the Rawlins defenders for his pick six and 34-13 halftime lead.
In all, five different Broncs scored in the half with Cowie leading the pack at 65 total yards. The rapid scoring seemed to slow in the second half but Cody’s ground game did not, chalking up another 211 yards in the last two quarters.
Late in the third, Hays got in on the rushing action with a 2-yard QB sneak to make it 41-13.
Early in the fourth, Rawlins strung together a few long pass plays for a long push into the Cody red zone. At 10:43, Forney scored from one yard out to bring the Outlaws within 41-20.
Sandoval then added his third touchdown on a 14-yard rush with about six minutes remaining and the Broncs kept their comfortable 27-point lead for the remainder.
Cody finished with 410 rushing yards and 71 passing yards. Hays threw 7-for-15 with one interception and one touchdown. Cowie led the rushing platoon with 125 yards on eight carries.
Although passing wasn’t used as much as in Cody’s week two win against Worland, McFadden still lauded the receiver’s impact.
“I thought our wide receivers did a terrific job blocking on the edge,” he said. “That’s usually the difference between a 10-yard (rush) and a 20 or 30 (gain).”
Jeff Williams led the defensive effort with 5.5 tackles, while Blatt had the Broncs lone sack.
But the injury bug continued to bite the Broncs as Beaudrie, Paul Lovera and Hayden Bronnenberg went down with what appear to be serious injuries, while running back Nic Talich is still out for about two more weeks from a leg injury sustained in the season opener against Riverton. Beaudrie said he is waiting on X-ray results but likely suffered a high ankle sprain or fracture. McFadden said Lovera is out for the season from his shoulder injury.
Cody will need all the help it can get against conference rival and third-ranked 3A squad Jackson (2-1) next weekend for homecoming.
“We definitely need to work on our intensity,” Radakovich said. “Just focusing on all the little things we can take control of.”
Kickoff is 6 p.m. at Spike Vannoy Field.