The plan for Silverado to earn its first win of the year Friday was simple: Give visiting Durango a big dose of the smallest player on the field.
Skyhawk junior Jarrett Alipio, a 5-foot-6-inch, 150-pound running back, rolled up 157 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 22 carries to power Silverado to a 26-0 home win over the Trailblazers.
Skyhawk coach Andy Ostolaza said Alipio doesn’t shy away from running for tough yards despite his diminutive size.
“He is a piece of iron. He’s as tough as they come,” said Ostolaza. “We took him off of defense last week because we thought he would get tired, but he came to me and said ‘No, I can play both ways.’
“He’s just tough. He is a one man show.”
Alipio, who rolled up 111 yards on just 15 carries in the first half , said playing behind Silverado’s super-sized offensive line is a tremendous asset.
“With how small I am, I just hide behind those big guys,” said Alipio. “It’s perfect. We have one of the biggest lines, and I know I am one of the smallest guys on this field, but I put in the work. And then the holes are massive.
“When we play as a team, we can be pretty good.”
Silverado (1-2) took control after lineman Billy Danford’s fumble recovery with early in the third quarter set the Skyhawks up on the Trailblazer 25-yard line.
Three plays later, Alipio dashed left, broke a tackle and stumbled across the goal line for a 15-yard TD run to give the Skyhawks a 14-0 lead.
“Our big kids are getting into better shape. We didn’t have many get gassed,” said Ostolaza. “And we had some more mental errors, but in the second half, we eliminated most of those.”
Alipio said the Skyhawk offense started building momentum during last week’s loss at Foothill, when Silverado scored three times in the fourth quarter.
“We started thinking about how we played at the end last week, and it gave us motivation,” said Alipio. “Hopefully this was our wake-up call. Now that we had the feeling of winning, I hope we cut out all of the mental errors and play as one.”
The Skyhawks limited the Trailblazers (0-2) to 70 yards of offense in the game, including just two net yards in the second half.
Danford led the way with a pair of sacks to go along with his fumble recovery, and Alipio and Mitchell Kissam each had a sack.
“We made some personnel changes in the last two weeks. We have had some issues that have a lot to do with youth,” said Ostelaza. “We have some freshmen kids starting with sophomores. With more game time hopefully we will get better and better and gear up for league games. That is what it is all about.”