Sanford can’t keep up with Sedgwick County, 72-32

Courtesy photo by Vibrant Valley Photography Sanford’s Kelton Gartrell (22) fends off three Sedgwick County Cougars in Thursday’s 8-Man State Championship.

PUEBLO — At the ThunderBowl at Colorado State University, Pueblo Campus Thursday night Sanford fell to the home designated Sedgwick County Cougars 72-32.

Sanford was competitive early in the game with Sanford junior Kelton Gartrell hitting two home runs and a freshman-senior connection from Cash Caldon to Ruben Chavez to give them three scores. But despite their offensive explosion Sanford still found themselves behind 22-18 after the first quarter as they failed to convert on two-point tries. Round 2 went to the champion, Sedgwick County hit another gear heading to the half with three unanswered scores. The Cougar’s Kaleb Fowler got his first and senior Jared Ehmke passed for two finding Sebastian Villalobos and Terrance Heath to put Sedgwick up 46-18 at the break.

Sanford would come back in the second half with Gartrell hitting a big run and capping the drive with a 15- yarder to close the distance to 46-24. Sanford attempted to capitalize on the momentum with an onside kick attempt but they would not recover and Sedgwick County made them pay. Ehmke went the distance on the shortened field to reestablish the 28 point lead. Then Sedgwick County would strike twice more, once on a mishandled run-pass option for Sanford that turned into a Cougar fumble recovery for a touchdown, and another on a Fowler rush to trigger a running clock at 66-24.

The fourth quarter went by quickly with each team finding the endzone once more. The host Cougars scored one final time to go up 72-24 then decided to give their younger players some championship experience. Sanford got the last word courtesy of Gartrell to finalize the score at 72-32.

Thursday’s championship was a historic high scoring affair with the two teams combining for 104 points.

Thursday was the first trip to a title game for the Sanford football program and Sanford’s 32 points on Thursday was the most points scored against Sedgwick County dating back to 2014, before their championship dynasty. Sedgwick County’s 72 points were the most points scored in a Colorado 8 Man Championship game.

The win ties Sedgwick County with Limon for the most consecutive title wins at six who will be looking for their third straight 1A title and 20th all time on Saturday.

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