MONUMENT — Palmer Ridge scored two touchdowns in 24 seconds to begin the second half and finished with 28 third-quarter points in rallying to hand No. 7 Montrose its first loss, 42-20, Friday night at Don Breese Stadium.
The second-ranked Bears, who trailed 14-0 after the first quarter and 14-7 at halftime, recovered an onside kick to begin the third quarter, leading to a quick touchdown. Then on the ensuing kickoff, they recovered another kickoff in the flat approximately 20 yards downfield and struck for another quick TD
Those two scores, coupled with a 97-yard passing touchdown from sophomore backup quarterback Jimmy Thomas, completed Palmer Ridge’s four-touchdown surge as the Bears (4-0) remained unbeaten on the season. Thomas filled in for Colorado State-bound star quarterback Luke McAllister for one play, after McAllister was injured while throwing the ball away to avoid a sack in his end zone.
The 6-foot-5 McAllister got hot as the weather cooled, finishing 18-of-25 passing for 297 yards and three touchdowns. He threw two interceptions in the first half — both on deep balls.
“Once we got it rolling — unstoppable. I’m also extremely proud of my backup quarterback. Jimmy went in there, threw an absolute dime, 97-yard touchdown. Couldn’t be more happy for him. Couldn’t be more proud. Once we got it figured out, we were rolling, they couldn’t stop us,” McAllister said.
McAllister was 7-of-12 passing for 143 yards in the first half. But his two deep passes were intercepted by Eli Evans, the latter with seven seconds left in the second quarter and Palmer Ridge at Montrose’s 43-yard line.
The Indians (3-1) led 14-0 after the first quarter on 6- and 3-yard runs by junior Austin Griffin. The Bears cut their deficit in half when Kaden Dudley scored on a 2-yard run in the second quarter.
“Doesn’t always go your way,” Montrose coach Brett Mertens said. “I thought the first onside kick we had a chance at. The second one, it wasn’t even close … That definitely swung the momentum in their favor and we probably couldn’t afford that at that time.
“We needed the ball and have a decent drive. Once they got the momentum, they’re tough to stop when they get rolling. That’s the key — the first half we didn’t give a lot of momentum. We kind of controlled the game.”
Montrose 14 0 6 0 — 20
Palmer Ridge 0 7 28 7 — 42
M — A. Griffin 6 run (Green kick). M — A. Griffin 3 run (Green kick). PR — Dudley 2 run (Pollreisz kick). PR — Costanzo 14 pass from McAllister (Pollreisz kick). PR — Robinson 30 pass from McAllister (Pollreisz kick). PR — Jones 97 pass from Thomas (kick failed). PR — Robinson 15 run (Twesme from McAllister 2-point conversion). M — B. Griffin 46 run (kick blocked). PR — Jones 20 pass from McAllister (Pollreisz kick).