The game started out as an even affair, with the teams exchanging a series of punts. Silver Creek's defense was playing well, forcing Niwot to punt again late in the 1st quarter. The Raptors' fumbled the ensuing punt return and Niwot recovered in Silver Creek territory. Colin Burns executed a perfect halfback pass which took Niwot near the Silver Creek goal line, setting up a 5-yard TD run by Matthew Brannan. Niwot took a 7-0 lead with 2:54 remaining in the 1st quarter. A fumble by Silver Creek gave the ball back to Niwot. QB Clint Sapp executed a brilliant drive, eventually taking the ball in from one yard for the score. A field goal near the end of the half would send Niwot to the locker room with a 17-0 lead.
The second half was all Niwot. WR Aaron Watson caught a 10 yard pass with 7:19 remaining in the third to bring the score to 24-0. Things would only get worse for Silver Creek. Jeremy Hauck tackled the Silver Creek quarterback for a safety on the next possession to bring the score to 26-0. QB Clint Sapp hooked up with WR Sean Ratliff with 8:06 remaining in the 4th to give Niwot a 33-0 lead. Silver Creek's Tony Vanzant would score two late touchdowns, but at that point the game was out of reach.
Final score: Niwot 33, Silver Creek 14.
The player I came to see was current CU commit Jeremy Hauck. The roster put out by Niwot lists Hauck as 6'5, 265. Speaking with Hauck after the game, I'd say that the listing is fairly accurate. He may be a bit smaller than indicated. Hauck lined up at tackle on the offensive side of the ball and spent a majority of his time at the end position when Niwot was on defense. I was moderately impressed with Hauck's performance. Was he a dominating presence throughout the game? No. However, he was a solid contributor during this blowout victory. On offense, Hauck spent most of the game going against Silver Creek DE Mark Merriott (6'2/210). Hauck handled Merriott for a vast majority of the game. There were very few plays where I saw Merriott, or any other Silver Creek defender, get the better of Hauck. According to my notes, during one particular play early in the second half, Hauck immediately fired out of his stance and pushed the lineman he was going against back a good eight yards. Hauck provided solid pass protection throughout the game.
On defense, Hauck was not an extremely disruptive force on the line. There were a couple of plays where he completely got blocked out of the play by the offensive lineman he was going against. I didn't see the speed to get into the backfield an disrupt the play. Hauck did make a tremendous play in recording the safety in the second half. I was much more impressed with Hauck on the offensive side of the ball.
I had a chance to catch up with Jeremy after the game. When asked to evaluate his performance, Jeremy stated, "I think I played well. I'm improving every week. I think the team is getting better every week. We have a big game coming up against Berthoud in a couple of weeks. We just need to keep improving every week." When asked if prefers offense or defense, Jeremy responded, "I don't really have a preference. I like playing both ways." Hauck indicated that the Buffs haven't made a decision as to where he'll be used at the next level, although he did say, "Maybe OL." Jeremy attended the CU/CSU game, and plans on also attending the game against North Texas. When asked if other schools are still calling, Jeremy indicated that he's still getting some phone calls, however, he joked, "I don't pick up the phone when they call." Jeremy is a solid CU commit.
Some other players who really caught my attention include a pair of Hauck's fellow lineman. Senior Chris Maxon is listed as 6'5, 275, and seeing him on the field after the game, those stats are accurate. Maxon is an excellent player. He was consistently knocking the defensive lineman out of the play. He had an absolutely dominating performance on the line. Another player who excelled is Junior La'mar West, 6'1, 250. On defense, he was all over the field. My notes are filled with comments such as, "Yet another great play by West." This kid is fast and strong. He played well on offense, teaming with Maxon to open some huge holes. On defense, he was stellar. Imagine the Silver Creek offensive line seeing a defensive front that includes Hauck, West and Maxon. During the second half, Silver Creek was called for two straight false starts. Undoubtedly the jitters were caused by the pressure the Niwot defensive front was putting forth throughout the game. I imagine West will be a name we hear about next season.
Other players who looked impressive include: Niwot QB Clint Stapp, 6'2, 212. Stapp is a great athlete. There were numerous times when the pocket was collapsing. Stapp showed poise by eluding the pass rush and completing perfect strikes to his receivers. He has great elusiveness, speed, and a rifle arm. In the 4th quarter, Stapp executed a brilliant play action fake that resulted in a 17 yard touchdown strike; WR Aaron Watson, 6'3, 187, caught everything thrown in his direction. He's fast and has excellent hands; RB Tony Vanzant was a bright spot in an otherwise dismal game for the Raptors.