GREENWOOD VILLAGE | A stomach virus brought Ray Rountree to his knees a few times early in Friday night’s Zero Week contest, but Overland’s defense and special teams gave its new quarterback a chance to get his feet under him.
The Trailblazers scored defensively on Latrale Smith interception return early, played havoc with Smoky Hill’s field goal attempts and also got a touchdown on a 66-yard punt return by Alijah Halliburton, which provided plenty of cushion for coach Seth Replogle’s team in a 48-6 victory over former Centennial League rival Smoky Hill at Stutler Bowl.
Eventually back to full speed after throwing up a few times, Rountree followed up Halliburton’s touchdown with a scramble for another score and also threw a touchdown pass to Sam Warren as Overland finished a strong performance that pleased Replogle for its relatively small number of penalties and miscues which are all too common in Zero Week.
“The first half was sloppy, but our defense played well the whole game,” said Replogle, who moved to 4-0 with the Trailblazers in season openers.
“Offensively we were a little slow to start, but we got it figured out obviously,” he added. “Big spark from Alijah Halliburton with that return for a touchdown that started getting us going and our offensive guys relaxed. Everything was better after that.”
Rountree, a transfer from Cherry Creek, threw for 127 yards and completed touchdown passes to Warren and Brent Halliburton — a 37-yarder — while also rushing for a score.
“I was a little nervous, but once my coaches started talking to me, I got comfortable and we had a great game,” Rountree said. “We didn’t start out how I wanted it, but we came out as a team in the second half…This is my family, I love it here. I’m glad to finish my senior season here.”
Overland’s running back by committee had a good debut, as Tremaine Roles and Chris Toe rushed for scores and Jeremiah Collins rolled up 76 yards on the ground.
With the victory, the Trailblazers retained the Wagon Wheel traveling trophy, moving to 2-0 in the series since the wooden wagon wheel bearing the scores of all 33 previous meetings between the two schools on it.
Smoky Hill made its debut under new head coach John Trahan, but the Buffaloes went down in their opening game for the eighth straight season.
James Bowers’ 61-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter provided the only points for Smoky Hill.
Overland faces a stiff test in Week 2 when it makes a 6 p.m. Thursday visit to Jefferson County Stadium to face Columbine, which came into the season tied at No. 5 in The Associated Press Class 5A Media Poll.
The Rebels opened the season with a 34-7 rout of Fountain-Fort Carson.
Smoky Hill has a 5 p.m. Friday contest against Rock Canyon at Stutler Bowl in a game that will be televised on Altitude.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
OVERLAND 48, SMOKY HILL 6
Score by quarters:
Smoky Hill 0 0 6 0 — 6
Overland 0 14 20 14 — 48
Overland — Latrale Smith 5 yard interception return (Sam Gendelman kick), 8:33
Overland — Brent Halliburton 37 yard pass from Ray Rountree (Gendelman kick), 1:00
Smoky Hill — James Bowers 61 yard interception return (kick blocked), 9:58
Overland — Tremaine Roles 6 yard run (Gendelman kick), 5:35
Overland — Alijah Halliburton 66 yard punt retun (Gendelman kick), 3:24
Overland — Rountree 16 yard run (Gendelman kick), 1:04
Overland — Sam Warren 4 yard pass from Rountree (Gendelman kick), 11:56
Overland — Chris Toe 1 yard run (Gendelman kick), 9:55
Overland: Jeremiah Collins 11-76, Tremaine Roles 3-45, Jaion Colbert 1-33, Chris Toe 4-25, Ray Rountree 16-15, Brent Halliburton 1-8, Cameron Murray 1-(minus 2)
Overland: Rountree 12-18, 127 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception; Murray 1-1, 0 yards
Overland: Sam Warren 7-50, Brent Halliburton 1-37, Chris Jones 2-23, Collins 1-11, Brett Williams 1-6