FLORENCE – Old-school lessons still exist in in Limon. The defending Class 1A state champion won the coin toss prior to its game against Florence and chose to receive the ball.

The Badgers trotted out the offense, less four starters, including quarterback Jordan Rockwell. Those starters kicked off their football season watching from the sideline. There was some expected sloppiness that followed. Linemen being removed for pads not covering their knees and a fumble that gave the ball right to the Huskies.

It took Limon some time to look like Limon.

The Badgers (1-0 overall) eventually won the game 55-23 to kick off another state title defense, but the lesson was in the lesson.

The starters missed the first series because they missed practice. They participated in the Babe Ruth 16-18 World Series which was played in Missouri.

When small schools share athletes, there are no free passes. Those boys made an adult decision and accepted the adult consequence.

There is no long-term doghouse for those players to work their way out of, but the reminder that the credibility of a state championship won nine months ago probably ran out about eight and a half months ago. They sat a series, fell behind in the game and then everyone moved on.

“Coach told us coming in there was going to be a punishment,” Rockwell said. “We can’t miss practice like that but the four of us felt like it was the opportunity of a lifetime. We took it and we took the consequence as it came and now we’re past it.”

(Dan Mohrmann/ColoradoPreps.com)

Limon is the most dominant football program in Colorado history and the most dominant program of its classification in the last decade. But nothing is given. As the Badgers (1-0 overall) found their footing in the first quarter, Florence stuck first with a field goal then a long touchdown run by Luguse Nuss to give the Huskies (0-1) an early 9-7 lead.

And then Limon started looking like Limon. Lohgan Bottjer ran for three touchdowns, Nathaniel Coonts also had a rushing touchdown and caught a touchdown pass from Rockwell, just a couple plays after Rockwell picked off Florence quarterback Tanner Wrast.

“Coming into a new season, we have a bunch of new guys,” Rockwell said. “Nathaniel Coonts, he came in and scored two touchdowns his first time playing varsity. We believe in ourselves and that’s just how we play.”

Keon Bandy, another player who missed the first series, scored a rushing touchdown midway through the third quarter. The score looked like a standard dominant performance from the Badgers, but it will serve as a lesson that the team needs to understand as it gets deeper into the season.

Nothing is given to any team, not even a traditionally dominant one.

“I always tell our kids that decisions have consequences, whether they’re good or bad,” Limon coach Mike O’Dwyer said.

Championships aren’t won during games in December. They’re won during hot, miserable practices in August.

“That’s the process thing and how much are you going to put into it especially on those brutally hot days,” O’Dwyer said. “This last week was awful, 95, 98 and one day was 100. But you still have to go to work.”

A win is a win and a lesson was learned. Limon will now turn the page and focus on heading to Meeker in Week 2.

(Dan Mohrmann/ColoradoPreps.com)