ThunderRidge football coach Doug Nisenson was looking for a boost heading into the 5A state playoffs.
Freshman quarterback DJ Bordeaux gave the coach just what he was seeking and led the Grizzlies to a 38-10 first-round playoff victory over Doherty on Nov. 4 at Halftime Help Stadium.
Bordeaux replaced senior Cooper Kier as the starting quarterback and completed 19 of 30 passes for 326 yards and three TDs as ThunderRidge broke away from a 10-10 second-quarter tie with 28 unanswered points.
“I just thought we needed a change, needed a spark and a boost,” explained Nisenson. “We are really proud of DJ, not only how he played but how he prepared. His poise is really impressive.”
Kier passed for 1,398 yards and 14 touchdowns during his stint as the starter.
“Our senior quarterback has been such a good guy,” added Nisenson. “He led us in so many big moments. He’s the reason we’re in the position were in. I know he’ll be staying ready. I just thought it was time. DJ has a great arm and really good football sense.”
After the teams battled to the 10-10 tie with 4:33 still to play in the second quarter, Bordeaux led the Grizzlies offense, which put away the game.
Gavin Olshan caught 10 passes for 173 yards and two scores, including a 53-yarder for a TD. CJ Reese gathered in the other TD pass from Bordeaux.
After the slow start, ThunderRidge’s defense was stiff. Max Hughes (11 total tackles), Kyler Pilgrim (10) and Will Fisher (nine) led the defensive effort.
ThunderRidge (10-1) will face Arapahoe (6-4) in a second-round contest.
“They are a really good team and they kind of had a slow start to the season,” said Nisenson. “We played them twice last year and came up short both times. It’s a huge opportunity for us. We have a chance again and we’re excited about it.
“They’ve had a week to rest (because of a first-round bye). It’s great that we get to go play another week.”
In other second-round games scheduled to be played Nov. 12, top-seeded Cherry Creek (8-2) is hosting Fountain Fort Carson (8-3), which upended Eaglecrest 42-14 in the opening round.
Legend (7-4) will be at second-seeded Valor Christian (8-2) while Rock Canyon (8-3) will face Columbine (9-1) in the games involving south metro teams.
Alex Martinez ran for 170 yards and three TDs in Legend’s 22-15 win over Poudre in the first round.
Rock Canyon grabbed a 23-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter and held on for a 23-20 first-round win over Cherokee Trail. Aidan Duda ran for three Rock Canyon TDs.
Mountain Vista (7-4) had four turnovers on a snowy Nov. 3 night and dropped a 20-13 decision to Rocky Mountain.
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