PUEBLO – Sometimes experience matters. When the Limon Badgers were trailing in the fourth quarter of the Class 1A state championship game at the CSU-Pueblo ThunderBowl, they called on their experience of playing in state championship games to battle back.

There’s been plenty of it, after all. The Badgers had rattled off three straight state championship wins before losing to Centauri last year. It was that loss that the players returning this year never wanted to experience again.

So when trailing in the fourth quarter, they put together a championship worthy performance to beat Wray 33-21 and regain their place atop the 1A mountain. It was perhaps their hardest fought battle of the season and the Eagles actually held a 14-7 lead at halftime thanks to a Casey Midcap touchdown pass to Chris Arambula.

When the Badgers (13-0 overall) got into the locker room at halftime, coach Mike O’Dwyer didn’t hold back.

“I was pretty on hard them,” O’Dwyer said. “I didn’t think we were being very physical. I thought Wray was a better team in the first half and they were taking the fight to us.”

The Eagles (9-4) held the Badgers to three-and-out on their first drive then converted with a Samuel Meisner touchdown run to take the early lead.

Limon tied it on a big touchdown pass from Jordan Rockwell to Dontarius Arnold to tie the game. Rockwell came up with some big throws through the course of the game, all too familiar with the feeling of defeat.

(Dan Mohrmann/ColoradoPreps.com)

“I didn’t play a lot (in last year’s title game), I came in at the end, but it hurt,” he said. “We worked so hard but after the three-peat, we couldn’t keep it.”

A 17-yard touchdown from Arambula gave the Eagles a 21-14 edge heading into the fourth quarter, but that’s when the defense and Gabe Schubarth took over. A fumble on Wray’s first offensive play of the quarter led to a Schubarth touchdown. He scored again off an interception from Treyton Marx.

In all, Schubarth ran for 110 yards and three touchdowns. Every touchdown he scored came in the fourth quarter and pushed Limon over the top and kept it there for good. For that effort, he was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player by the Colorado Chapter of the National Football Foundation.

“At halftime, coach reminded us how it felt to come up short,” Schubarth said. “He told us to play with full hearts, to leave it all out there and he promised us at the end we would be champions.”

O’Dwyer’s prediction came true. It’s a testament to the culture of Limon football and the fact that last year’s team learned a valuable lesson in the hatred of losing over the love of winning. The product of Limon’s historical pedigree can be attributed to the hatred of losing.

With a state-record 21 state football titles in hand, that’s a hard point to argue.

“We didn’t want to lose,” Schubarth said. “That’s what pushed us to go that extra mile.”

That’s what pushed them to once again become champions.