PUEBLO – Since Limon’s current run of dominance began back in 2018, coach Mike O’Dwyer has been insistent each year that his guys may not have what it takes to get back to the Class 1A football promised land.

Fool the state five times in six years, shame on everyone.

The Badgers looked determined, poised and efficient when they took the field at the CSU-Pueblo ThunderBowl. But above all else, they looked experienced as they toppled Strasburg 50-13 two win their 22nd state football championship. For years, Limon has held the record for football titles and they just keep adding to the total.

“I always tell our kids to understate and overperform,” O’Dwyer said. “That’s what our kids did. They came out and they performed. Every year is different and every year is a process and our kids understand the process and it just takes time for us to work into what we are.”

The championship game looked like every other contest Limon had this year. Quarterback Jordan Rockwell got his team on the board with a 5-yard rushing touchdown on Limon’s first drive of the game. Toward the end of the second quarter he found Lance Beedy for a long touchdown pass to make it 15-0.

He added a second rushing touchdown from a yard out with 7:22 left on the clock in the first half to put the Badgers (13-0) up by three touchdowns and all but securing the state title considering how little ground the defense was giving up.

“That’s a credit to my assistant coaches,” O’Dwyer said. “They’re tremendous at what they do and what they coach.”

Strasburg’s lone burst of offense came on the first play of the game, a 32-yard run from Thomas Devlin. But after that, the Indians (10-3) struggled to find any footing against a stingy Badgers defense.

Things only got worse in the second half as quarterback Landen Martin seemingly tried to throw the ball away to avoid a sack only to have it picked off by Keon Bandy. As efficient as the offense was all day, the Limon defense was as equally impressive in the championship effort.

Strasburg’s first touchdown of the game came on a Martin pass to Jorge Parra from nine yards out. But the offensive surge that Rockwell sparked early had already put the game out of reach and for that effort he was named the Most Outstanding Player by the Colorado chapter of the National Football Foundation.

“We have to set the tone and it sets up for the rest of the game,” Rockwell said. “We came out with emotion and no fear so that helped a lot.”

This is now the fifth title in six years for Limon, a run dating back to 2018. The Badgers beat Strasburg in the 1A title game for three years in a row before losing to Centauri in 2021. The Badgers then beat Wray last year to get on top of the mountain and showed no sign of slowing down in 2022.

A sustained culture of accountability is a big reason for the Badgers consistent stream of success. It was on display in the first game of the year when a handful of players sat the first series for missing practice for a baseball tournament.

It wasn’t detrimental to the team, but sitting a series was a reminder that team dedication is a priority, not just for the football team but for all sports in the athletic department.

“It’s a program thing,” O’Dwyer said. “I want success for our girls basketball team and boys basketball team and wrestling team, track and baseball. It takes a whole program. You can’t do this without a program. At Limon, I think everybody understands that.”

The Badgers lose a big crop of seniors, including Rockwell, Logan Bottjer, Bandy and Lance Beedy, all of whom scored touchdowns in the championship win.

But Limon has lost seniors before and rebounded quite nicely. The only certainty heading into next season will be O’Dwyer’s feeling that the 2024 will have to work harder than any team before it. He’s either being coy or utilizing a great motivational tactic.

But until proven otherwise, he won’t be fooling anybody.

(Dan Mohrmann/ColoradoPreps.com)