Normally a state championship game is attractive because of not only what’s at stake but the matchup usually brings together teams that rarely play one another.Â That’s not the case in Class 3A this year as Saturday will mark the fourth straight year that Discovery Canyon and Pueblo East will play twice in the same season.Â Discovery Canyon has won three of the past four regular season games but the Thunder have yet to beat the Eagles in the playoffs dropping game each of the past three years.
In looking through all the recent matchups, it’s difficult to find a difference between wins and losses for both teams.Â Each team has been able to move the football for the most part and every now and then turnovers play a role in the outcome.Â Discovery Canyon has been able to run the football in almost every game with quite a bit of success from the fullback spot.Â Pueblo East has also posted impressive numbers offensively with much damage coming from the quarterback spot.
Discovery Canyon picked up a 41-26 win in week three this year rushing for 378 yards including 152 from Colt O’Connell and 118 from Josh Tomjack. Tomjack is the leading rusher overall (1,029 yards) but the game marked the only 100-yard effort for O’Connell this season.Â He’s fourth on the team with 710 yards overall and he also had a huge day against Pueblo East in the regular season last year picking up 155 yards on 17 attempts.Â But in the 28-10 playoff loss last November, O’Connell was held to 53 yards on 11 attempts.Â Previous fullback Spencer Chambers also had big days against Pueblo East rushing for 337 yards in two games with Pueblo East in 2014.
Despite the regular season loss, Pueblo East QB Luc Andrada had a solid game throwing for 224 yards and a touchdown.Â It was just his third varsity start.Â The sophomore also scored three rushing touchdowns in last week’s semifinal win over Mead and may need both his arm and legs to earn the Eagles a third straight state championship.Â His predecessor at the position, Danny Martin, had success against Discovery Canyon running for 102 yards and three touchdown in last year’s playoff win.Â He also totaled 276 yards of offense in leading the Eagles past the Thunder in the 2014 bracket.
Andrada can also turn and give the ball over to Bryson Torres who will finish his tremendous career on Saturday.Â The senior has carried the ball a whopping 118 times in three playoff games including 87 attempts the last two weeks.Â In that span, the senior has picked up 514 yards and three touchdowns giving his 1,684 yards on the season.Â Torres has also six straight 100-yard games in the post-season and over the current 11-game playoff winning streak for the two-time champions, he’s gained 1,432 yards on 288 attempts.Â Torres also sits at 4,603 yards and 68 touchdowns for his career.
Discovery Canyon has been very consistent on the ground in the post-season running for between 271 and 289 yards in all three games this year.Â One thing that has increased each game is the number of attempts starting with 38 against Skyview and bumping to 58 in last week’s physical 17-7 win over Silver Creek.Â Balance is their key as in-between Tomjack and O’Connell are Trevor Ivy (807 yards) and Tyler McFarland (760) on the season.Â Ivy has collected 166 in the playoffs and McFarland has added 227 passing yards over the same stretch.
With a win, Pueblo East can become the first team to win three consecutive Class 3A state championships since Palisade won four straight from 1993-96.Â They’ve won 11 in a row in the playoffs and have an all-time post-season mark of 15-10.Â 14 of those wins are since 2012.Â Â Discovery Canyon is 6-4 all-time in the playoffs and will be making their first ever trip to the state championship game.Â Their last three post-season losses are against Pueblo East over the past three years.Â The fourth playoff loss is also against a Pueblo area team as they fell to Pueblo Central in 2012.
Saturday also represents the 11th meeting between the two schools since 2010 with Pueblo East winning six of the previous ten. Â The Thunder are 0-3 against the Eagles in the playoffs but 4-3 in the regular season.
PLAYOFFS THIS YEAR
Discovery Canyon (13-0)
First Round:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Beat Skyview 48-0
Quarterfinals:Â Â Â Beat Fort Morgan 33-26
Semifinals:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Beat Silver Creek 17-7
Pueblo East (12-1)
First Round:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Beat Erie 27-15
Quarterfinals:Â Â Â Beat Holy Family 41-21
Semifinals:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Beat Mead 28-21
HEAD TO HEAD PLAYOFF MEETINGS
2015:Â Pueblo East won 28-10 (Quarterfinals)
2014:Â Pueblo East won 39-21 (Semifinals)
2013:Â Pueblo East won 47-13 (First Round)
2016 Regular Season: Â Discovery Canyon won 41-26
2015 Regular Season: Â Pueblo East won 47-36
2015 Playoffs: Â Pueblo East won 28-10
2014 Regular Season: Â Discovery Canyon won 27-21
2014 Playoffs: Â Pueblo East won 39-21
2013 Regular Season: Â Discovery Canyon won 49-28
2013 Playoffs: Â Pueblo East won 47-13
2012 Regular Season: Â Discovery Canyon won 29-19
2011 Regular Season: Â Pueblo East won 24-21
2010 Regular Season: Â Pueblo East won 49-14
Saturday’s game is set for 1:00pm at District 20 Stadium in Colorado Springs.Â You can also watch the game live through the NFHS Network by clicking on the link below.