A game in tribute to Reid Gates
Dolores football falls 42-0 to Cedaredge in wake of tragedy
After the Dolores Bears' 42-0 road loss to the Cedaredge Bruins on Sept. 13, football was the last thing on everybody's mind.
Instead, players, coaches and fans alike could only think of Cedaredge running back Reid Gates, a standout athlete and exceptional student, who tragically died after falling victim to carbon-monoxide poisoning Sept. 9.
Before the game, Cedaredge captains Trent Walker and Kyle Word carried Gates' No. 22 jersey onto the field for the captains' meeting to pay tribute to their fallen teammate.
"We knew it was going to be an emotional environment," said Bears' head coach Chris Trusler. "I just made sure my guys were cognizant of the emotions that were going to be there. I wanted to be sure that we were being strong representatives of our school and the community."
Once the game started, the Bruins played with energy and determination, using a combination of efficient rushing and timely passing to overwhelm the visiting Bears.
Even so, Trusler came away pleased with certain aspects of his team's performance.
"The guys started gelling together a little bit," said Trusler. "We were able to move the ball a little bit more on offense. The defense was able to come together pretty well. They started stopping and slowing down (Cedaredge's) offensive attack."
More than any offensive or defensive improvements, however, the game was about remembering Gates.
As a way to honor Gates and show solidarity with the entire Cedaredge community, each Bears' player wore a sticker on his helmet honoring the Bruins' fallen star.
"We were privileged, even with a tough loss, to be part of the remembrance of Reid Gates," said Trusler.
With their record now at 0-2 following two tough road games to open the season, the Bears will return to Dolores for their home opener against Paonia at 7 p.m. Sept. 20.
"The kids are really excited to play at home for the first time this year," said Trusler. "We'll be going up against another real tough team. They have a really strong running game. We've got to continue fine tuning things on offense and defense, and we need to keep building on our forward progress."