Sanford, Centauri advance to quarterfinals

Sanford’s Chase Holman (15) cuts up field in the first half of Sanford’s 58-20 over Holly in the first round on Saturday. (VC/Jiron)

Three football teams from the valley were in state championship action on Saturday afternoon. Centauri, Sanford and Sargent battled in the first round of the CHSAA Football state playoffs.

1A – Centauri 28,

Flatirons Academy 21

The higher seeded Centauri Falcons entered the weekend’s game against the Flatirons Academy Bison as favorites and would enforce their will to a 28-21 finish. But for the first three quarters, the Bison didn’t get the memo. Late in the third, Flatiron Academy had created a 21-0 advantage. A turnover on downs inside the red zone for Centauri looked to be just more icing on a Flatiron victory. Centauri would force a punt on the ensuing drive and would successfully move the ball with their next possession.

The start of the fourth quarter was marked by a 5-yard touchdown pass from senior Eric Maez to Byron Shawcroft, the point after cutting the lead to 14 points. With time winding down in the game Centauri’s defense sparked. Flatiron’s first play of the fourth quarter was a pass that wound up in the hands of Centauri’s Danny Brady. The interception gave the Falcons the ball at the Bison 23-yard line. With a frenzied pace, Centauri force-fed the Flatiron defense a heaping dose of Mason Claunch and Taj Cornum. Maez capped the drive by throwing his second touchdown in the past minute and eight seconds, this one to Baron Holman. Though the extra point went wide the Falcons were in striking distance at 21-13.

The Falcon defense stayed hot forcing a three-and-out to give the ball back to the offense. The game-tying drive for Centauri would stall near midfield after two runs netted -3 yards and an incomplete pass made it fourth down. Rather than punt Coach Kyle Forster called a timeout and organized his troops for the fourth down attempt. Maez would toss back to Shawcroft on the halfback pass. Shawcroft squared up and found Claunch 15 yards downfield for the first down. Two plays later and Cornum weaved his way around defenders for a 24-yard score. A Maez to Peyton Polzin connection on the two-point conversion evened the score at 21-all.

With 21 points in 6 minutes, the Falcons had snatched the momentum and ran with it. Centauri’s defense would allow 13 yards to the Bison before forcing a turnover on downs, giving a white-hot Falcons offense the ball at their own 48 with less than three minutes to play.

Maez would start the drive with a scramble up the middle and Claunch and Cornum did the rest getting Centauri 2 yards out from a go-ahead score. Cornum got the honor, the point after attempt elevated the Falcons to 28-21. With a little over a minute to go Flatirons would move the ball, but still came up short.

The win showed the versatility and determination of the Falcons. The ability to solve Flatirons’ defense, and the determination of the young men to see the game through on all phases culminating in a devastating 28-point performance in 11 minutes. For the sake of coach Forster’s heart health, the Falcons will likely look for a quicker start when they go on the road against fourth-seeded Meeker next Saturday, Nov. 16th at 1 p.m.

8-Man – Sanford 52,

Holly 26

Sanford got just a little pushback from Holly over the weekend. But the home squad was able to put up a big 58-20 win to advance to quarterfinals.

In the early going both teams seemed pretty well matched. Sanford with Kelton Gartell and Clay Canty and Holly with Dakota Eaton and Alex Ramos. And for the first few drives, that’s how it played out. Holly fumbled and Sanford took advantage. A pass from Josh Holman went to Mason Goodwin, Goodwin cut under the defense to the left side of the field for the first score of the game. A failed two-point attempt kept the score 6-0, Sanford’s favor.

Holly struck back with an 80 yard Eaton pass to Ramos, a failed two-point attempt from the Wildcats tied the game at 6-6. Holly’s first possession of the second quarter resulted in a punt, but was more damaging than it appeared. A scramble that turned into an intentional grounding call ended with Holly’s Eaton struggling to get to the sideline.

Without their starting quarterback, Holly’s offense was ineffectual. Not counting Sanford penalties, the next three Wildcat possessions would net -1 yards and end in a punt, a turnover on downs and an interception. Meanwhile, Gartrell caught fire for the home team. Sanford’s next three drives all went for touchdowns, courtesy of Gartrell. At the half, Sanford boasted a commanding 29-6 lead.

Sanford kept their foot on the gas keeping a multiple possession lead to the game’s 58-20 completion. With the win, Sanford advances to the quarterfinals, where they’ll go on the road to face Pike Peak Christian. Eagles are responsible for dispatching fellow valley team Sargent in the first round. Sanford-Pikes Peak Christian Saturday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m.

8-Man – Pikes Peak Christian 50,

Sargent 14

As the underdog on the road, Sargent had a hill to climb. Early on Sargent appeared equal to the task. Not only was Sargent competing they were leading. The Farmers held a 14-12 lead before the half.

Unfortunately, the go-ahead score in the second quarter for the Farmers would be their final score of the game. Pikes Peak would do the rest from there to end Sargent’s season. Sargent got good contributions on offense and defense.  Kage Pepper led the team in passing and rushing boasting 1,565 total yards and 14 touchdowns. Braxton Asbell anchored the defense, posting a team-leading 108 takedowns and 6.5 sacks.

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