Football: Aurora Central’s ‘new era’ opens with 23-3 Zero Week win over rival Hinkley

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Aurora Central running back Taevon Jordan heads upfield for a good gain during the first quarter of the Trojans' 23-3 win over Hinkley in a non-league Zero Week football meeting between the two district rivals on Aug. 28, 2015, at Aurora Public Schools Stadium. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Aurora Central running back Taevon Jordan heads upfield for a good gain during the first quarter of the Trojans’ 23-3 win over Hinkley in a non-league Zero Week football meeting between the two district rivals on Aug. 28, 2015, at Aurora Public Schools Stadium. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | From the Michigan State Spartan-style logo to the quarterback to the demeanor on the field, the Aurora Central football team has a different look early in 2015.

Fired up from the start despite a four-game losing streak against Aurora Public Schools rival Hinkley, the Trojans overcame some early Zero Week adversity and surged past the Thunderbirds in front of a large — and on several occasions out-of-control — crowd estimated at 3,000-plus at APS Stadium.

Junior quarterback Jalil Grimes rushed for the go-ahead touchdown early in the third quarter and visited the end zone twice more on short keepers in the fourth quarter as Aurora Central had more than it needed to give new coach Travis Peeples a win in his Aurora coaching debut.

“We came confident into this game,” Grimes said. “We knew what happened last year, but we’re looking past that. It’s a new season, a new head coach and I’m new to the school. It’s all going to turn around. It’s a new era.”

Peeples echoed the sentiment of change, even though it’s his first season at Aurora Central after spending last season at Greeley West.

“I tell you it’s a changed school, it’s a different mindset over there,” he said. “The things we’re doing academically and in the school. Kids are excited to be there, they are excited about sports and excited about the school. We’re changing the culture.”

The Trojans certainly changed the trend of recent results against Hinkley, which had piled up 80 points in the last two meetings between the teams, and they did it with defense. Defensive coordinator Jamarr Kerney, a holdover from previous coach Taylor Calvert’s staff, and his unit limited the Thunderbirds to just a 23-yard field goal by Teaggan Ilela in the closing minute of the first half that gave them their only lead of the game.

Senior defensive lineman Mike Retland and company stifled Hinkley’s offense and made sure the Trojans’ offense didn’t have to do a whole lot of work, which was good in a game where only one play went for more than 20 yards.

Aurora Central received the opening kickoff and marched 72 yards — all on the ground — but stalled in the red zone and settled for a short Johnny Mendez field goal attempt, which went wide left. Retland picked up the majority of his game-high 75 yards rushing on the drive as well, while Taevon Jordan got many of his 65 yards rushing on the same drive.

Kirk Hines got the Trojans on the scoreboard later in the period, however, when he blocked Ramzee Howard’s punt that went out of the end zone for a safety. Aurora Central couldn’t build on the lead and found itself trailing 3-2 at the break after Hinkley converted a fumble recovery by Kenneth Powell into three points.

Grimes, who attempted just one pass in the entire game and didn’t complete it, wasn’t concerned.

“Going into half, I just let the defense know they just needed to keep it rolling,” Grimes said. “We couldn’t have done it without the D keeping them out of the game. We knew it was going to pick up in the second half, we put in too much work for it not to.”

The defense — which got pressure all night from Retland, CJ Porter and others, while Dominick Jackson knocked down several passes on the outside — held up its end of the bargain and then some in the third quarter, as it forced Hinkley to turn the ball over on downs at its own 35-yard line. The Trojans scored six plays later when Grimes found the corner of the end zone behind the left side of his line for a 9-3 lead.

Aurora Central’s other two scoring drives covered 48 and 2 yards and both ended with Grimes keepers.

Peeples had hoped to see more out of his offense, which he gave a pretty poor grade overall despite the win and periods of success running the football.

“I don’t want to take anything away from Hinkley, they are hitters and physically and had a great team out there, but our execution I put it at a D,” Peeples said. “It was not tremendous, it wasn’t what we expected or what we wanted to do. It was enough to win the game and we’re happy with that.”

Hinkley quarterback Ramzee Howard completed just eight of his 22 passes for 81 yards and one interception, Jouan Kennedy’s leaping pick at the goal line to stop a late effort to get back into the game.

The Thunderbirds netted just 101 yards of total offense, a large majority of which came on Howard’s 35-yard completion to Josh Hanible in the fourth quarter.

Hinkley coach Robert O’Brien wasn’t surprised by what Aurora Central did, but he was disappointed.

“Zero Week is tough, but it’s not an excuse for the way we played tonight,” O’Brien said. “We didn’t give our best effort tonight…We didn’t get the job done and that’s more on me than on the kids. I need to get better.”

By playing in Zero Week, Aurora Central has a bye in Week 2 before it plays host to Thornton on Sept. 11, while the Thunderbirds get back at it with a home contest on Sept. 4 against Montbello.

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel

AURORA CENTRAL 23, HINKLEY 3

Score by quarters:

Hinkley          0   3   0   0 —   3

Aur. Central  2   0   7  14 — 23

SCORING

First quarter

Aurora Central — Kirk Hines blocked punt out of end for safety, 1:17

Second quarter

Hinkley — Teaggan Ilela 23 yard field goal, 21.9

Third quarter

Aurora Central — Jalil Grimes 2 yard run (Johnny Mendez kick), 8:09

Fourth quarter

Aurora Central — Grimes 1 yard run (Mendez kick), 11:35

Aurora Central — Grimes 2 yard run (Mendez kick), 11:04

RUSHING

Hinkley: Kenneth Powell 10-18, Calvin Pope 4-16, Malcolm Kates 3-7, Qua’Sean Smith 1-(minus 3), Ramzee Howard 5-(minus 21)

Aurora Central: Michael Retland 13-75, Taevon Jordan 11-65, Fransisco Aranda 10-48, Jouan Kennedy 6-33, Jalil Grimes 12-24, Dominick Jackson 1-4, De’Oveya Johnson 4-(minus 2)

PASSING

Hinkley: Howard 8-22, 81 yards, 1 interception

Aurora Central: Grimes 0-1, 0 yards

RECEIVING

Hinkley: Josh Hanible 1-35, Jermohd Ford 2-26, Eman McNeil 3-11, Gideon Greer 2-9

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discus147 .
discus147 .
6 years ago

I’m glad Aurora Central is supposedly changing it’s culture as AC’s coach says in the article, but when I have to leave the game just before half time after promising a player on Central’s squad I would see him in the first game of this season because a mob of AC students taunting Hinkley’s students with both sides middle finger saluting each other, yelling profanity, other students crawling over us to get to the area in front of the announcer’s booth where it was all taking place and then cups of soda and water bottles start flying from both sides and hitting us fans trying to enjoy the game, I think that’s the wrong culture to be changing to. I finally had enough after watching a mother of two squirming her way past the bodies of AC students with her little children both under 10 yrs. old in tow and when I asked her , ” Are you OK?” She said yeah, but I was just drenched with soda and water bottles almost hit my kids in the head. Is the new culture about students taking the focus away from the Football team on the field and put it on themselves trying to cause an altercation with rival students? If so, then congratulations, you’re well on your way. When I left the stands to leave, I met with a someone dress in Aurora Central gear with some sort of ID badge around his neck near the ticket gate and mentioned what happened in the stands. He said he was busy taking care of other things outside… and that’s it. If you make an announcement prior to the game about fan sportsmanship and don’t enforce the message, get rid of the announcement and put a sign up at the ticket gate that says, “Enter At Your Own Risk”. That will be the last high school game I attend in Colorado, but who knows, maybe I am old fashioned and that’s what the new culture is all about…rudeness and selfishness by young fans and greed at the gate by collecting money for fans to come in but not unsure their safety once inside the stadium.

Aimee
Aimee
6 years ago
Reply to  discus147 .

Don’t blame the players on the field or the coaches for the actions of kids in the stands! These young men have worked hard and don’t deserve your criticism. The people in the stands that were out of control are individuals and are responsible for their own actions.

bobby
bobby
6 years ago
Reply to  Aimee

I disagree the coaching staff for Aurora Central could not even control #68 acting crazy trying to rush the stands from the field and the coaches on the sidelines cheering on the fans in the stands

discus147 .
discus147 .
6 years ago
Reply to  bobby

That I did not see. If that happened, that is not a good for the team and coaches.

discus147 .
discus147 .
6 years ago
Reply to  Aimee

Aimee, Did you read my post? Where is the blame on the players and coaches??

dominick
dominick
6 years ago
Reply to  discus147 .

Hello, im #10 from the aurora central football team. I first off wanna apologize for the actions that occured in the crowd during the game. Its was immuture of us and anybody to have created such an intense atmossphere for those who were there to support a loved one or to just watch the game. It was very imbessing, especially to here for my own dad, that it was too rowdy for him to have stayed. But, i just wanted to say that, the new culture that we are trying to build here at aurora central, is one that we keep our heads high as the goings get tough, we dont drop to ones level in the heat of the moment. Werent to trying to be selfish or rudness.The football program has been working on this for quite some time now, and we are still in the process of this, but we are near this destination of ours. We still have to take the time to change the mindset of our students here. Weve been so worried about improving our mindset and abilities, that we forgot to show our friends (students) the way wr wanted to be seen. It something that is now a work in progess as we change the culture of aurora central into a positive one. Once agian im sorry for the actions that occured in the crowd and i hope this wont be your last high school football game u attend.

discus147 .
discus147 .
6 years ago
Reply to  dominick

Dominick, You young men played one heck of a game in that first half and it’s too bad I couldn’t see you guys score those 21 points in the second half. You or anyone from the AC football do not need to apologize for those who acted terribly in the stands. If you read my post, I don’t put any blame on the team. I wrote, ” …rudeness and selfishness in the stands…” not on the field. I also wrote, “Is the new culture about students taking the focus away from the real attraction which is the football teams”. You can only control what you do on the field and it looks like you guys will do great this season. This issue is about those students causing problems and trying to make an athletic event about them and not the players on the field, both schools administrators and those in charge that may have been at the game and did nothing… and CHSAA. I wish you guys the best this season!

Delia Kanaan
Delia Kanaan
6 years ago
Reply to  discus147 .

I concur with your reply to #10. He exemplifies what a true Trojan should look like! You reiterated my earlier points to him exactly. I also agree with you about both administrations being there and doing nothing regarding the unsportsmanlike behaviour of the crowd in the stands. That was downright shameful, and a horrible message to send.
I’m really proud of the Central team, and hopefully, their example will spread like wildfire at the school.

soowcarters
soowcarters
6 years ago
Reply to  discus147 .

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Delia Kanaan
Delia Kanaan
6 years ago
Reply to  discus147 .

I was at the game as well. While I certainly understand your experience, I saw the Hinkley kids acting like fools too. I saw the police throw out at least 10-15 Hinkley students (wearing Hinkley gear or colors) just during the time I was waiting in the concession line. Not one kid from Central garnered police attention during that time with the exception of a Central girl who was brutally attacked by a gang of Hinkley girls, and had to be rushed to the hospital. So please, let’s be fair. The Hinkley kids were throwing fingers and taunting the Central kids in equal measure.
There has always been a great rivalry between the 2 schools, and it takes 2 to tango. To say that “this must be the new culture at Central” is straight ignorant and quite honestly, offensive. The “new culture” at Central is one of unity, growth, change, and mutual respect. The changes are just settling in. A football game is not the place to judge an entire school facing the most difficult issues in the state. Give it time. Come back to a Central game at the end of the season. It will be packed again, and there will be a squad of police officers in attendance, but I guarantee you that your experience will be dramatically different (although the winning team will be the same). #Trojanforlife

disqus_XB4
disqus_XB4
6 years ago

It was a very scary night out of control not enough staff this all could of been prevented both schools are at fault it should of never got out of control after the game it was very dangerous in the parking lot people just don’t know how to act APD did a good job of defusing the crowds in the parking lots!

Jordan
Jordan
6 years ago
Reply to  disqus_XB4

Hello, I am also a player from central, #52. I would like to apologize for the actions of everyone involved in the events both inside and outside of that stadium. It was a complete insult to the game and should never have happened. However, I would like to say that this program is one that you shouldn’t look down upon. The coaching staff is an amazing group that have become fathers to all of us and have stood by our sides no matter what. They have sacrificed so much so that we as players can succeed. And when I say succeed, I mean on the field, in a classroom, and wherever else we may go. I have been here for three years and never have I seen a group of players as fine as the ones that will suit up with me every Friday night. And I owe that to the coaches. With everything, things take time. The coaches knew this and started with the players the first day they met us. The players know this and after seeing what our coaches have started inside of the team, I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish down the road. The next step in the process is to instill that same pride into our school. And the only way we know how is to wear that pride every day and show them how success acts. I have also started to see some changes around the school as well. Its just beginning though. I know my school can be amazing. I see it everyday. Central accepts the criticism and I promise you we will learn and grow from it. Central will rise. I apologize for the actions of my teammates on the sidelines as well and promise you that we will fix them as a family. No matter what, I am proud to be a part of this family. I hope that this isn’t the last game you attend because if it is, I promise you that you will be missing out on something special.

Delia Kanaan
Delia Kanaan
6 years ago
Reply to  Jordan

You are the change Central is working to achieve, Jordan. As a proud alum, I was happy to break out my green and gold again to support the team/school. Keep up the hard work- it’s already making a big difference! Please know we support you, the team, your coaches, and the entire school wholeheartedly! Keep it up!

nobody12
nobody12
6 years ago

the real blame for the issues in the stands lands on the administrators that thought it would be a good idea to have the student body sections right next to each other. At any other high school game the student bodies are at the opposite ends of the stadium. It’s unfathomable that with the number of administrators from the district level and school level at the game that none of them saw that coming. There needs to be an investigation so that new procedures and protocols can be put into place to prevent or lessen the likely hood of events like those that took place on friday night from happening again

Not to mention from a fan experience perspective that is the worst location for student bodies as many of them stand through out the game blocking sight lines of those that do not wish to stand.

derik
derik
6 years ago

Im not sure if we were at tbe same game? Blaming the coaches and the players fkr wbat was going on during the game and after js comepletely wrong. And to blame it soley on central is also wrong. Blame it on tbe perants that were not there supervising their children . But dont blame it on the coaches and the players. Maybe its time for the twk teams to stop playing each other. Again that tbe blame of the school board. To the coaches and the plagers great game