It has all of the ingredients of a classic Class 4A championship game.
On one side, there’s Pueblo South, which has qualified for the playoffs 20 times since first doing it in 1978. This also is the first title game for the Colts (established in 1959), who reside in what may be the last great high-school sports town in Colorado. And the time to win it is now – they will drop to 3A for the next two-year cycle.
Even Pine Creek coach Todd Miller said “Pueblo has it in its community, (future players) want to be a South Colt, a Centennial Bulldog …” and he calls Puebloans “hard-nosed people and you see it all the way to the college team (CSU-Pueblo) they support.”
And on the other side are Miller’s Eagles. They’re here for the fifth time in seven seasons. Won three of the past four titles. Beat Pueblo South 42-10 in the preliminaries a year ago. And undoubtedly is the 4A team most observers – and 4A opponents — are convinced should be playing in 5A.
“We’re playing the defending champs and they’re more familiar with this than we are,” Colts coach Ryan Goddard said. “Hopefully, we’ll compete our tails off.”
The two will go at it on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. Below are fun facts to know and tell before you watch one of the last games of the state’s 97th football season:
Pueblo South (12-1) vs. Pine Creek (12-1)
The Colts, who are 11-21 all time in the postseason, enter on a 10-game roll. Their one setback was in a wild, double-overtime loss to Pueblo West by 55-54. … Pueblo South swept the Foothills League. … It has scored 97 points in three playoff games and there’s little wonder. QB Zach Cozzolino has some video-game numbers. He has thrown for 3,147 yards, 46 TDs and seven interceptions. RB Steve Brock has 1,724 yards rushing and 14 TDs. And Marcell Barbee owns 64 receptions, 1,191 yards and 22 TDs. … It’s probably why Miller compared the Colts’ offense to Valor Christian’s. Recall 2011, when Valor punished Pine Creek 66-10. … Pine Creek has won eight games in a row, losing only to 5A Ralston Valley. … Defense is the big thing for the Eagles, who have allowed only one TD in the playoffs and have two shutouts. Only four of 13 foes have been able to score in double figures. … Pine Creek is a sparkling 26-10 in the playoffs, 3-1 in title games. … Eagles QB J.C. Coulter has completed 66 percent of his passes for 1,783 yards, 17 TDs and six picks. Senior Wyatt Wieland has 43 receptions for 741 yards and eight TDs. But sophomore RB David Moore has been the guy. He has 1,787 yards rushing for 22 TDs, giving him 3,372 yards and 40 TDs a game shy of his two-year career. Checking the record books in the future appears to be a good idea. … Other than the Broncos, AFC West Division foes and Valor, hasn’t Pine Creek played the most games at Sports Authority this decade? … Said Miller: “We’re familiar with that walk down that tunnel (at Sports Authority). It’s unique. The first time, it will take your breath away … it’s a big stage.” … Goddard said making the first final for the program “is kind of indescribable.” He remembers losing 39-38 to Montrose in the 2013 semifinals “and my seniors now were eighth-graders and they were all in the stands … to have that negative feeling for them and to overcome it was awesome. And they’re still pretty hungry.” … Pueblo South dresses just 45 players. … Pine Creek’s Isaak Rolfe has a whopping 15 sacks. … Miller, when asked about making so many recent trips to the final: “You get familiar with the situation, but it’s always unique. Talk to me on Friday night and I’ll be ready to throw up again.”>