WESTMINSTER — The playoff winless drought for both Boulder and Legacy is too long for anyone to want to remember.
But thanks to a salty performance from senior Matt Lynch, the Lightning don't have to carry that burden any longer after Thursday night's win over the Panthers to open the 2015 Class 5A postseason.
Not since the 2007 season had a Lightning team marched past the first round of the playoffs, when Lynch was still in elementary school. Soon a Division-I bound athlete these days, Lynch kept Legacy alive with three touchdown passes in a 38-14 victory at North Stadium.
"It's great to get that, and that's something I wanted and the coaches wanted to implant into our program," Lynch said after throwing for 181 yards and rushing for 73 more. "Along with all the seniors, we don't want to be done. Getting our minds right this week, it all paid off."
Boulder's playoff history is grim since at least 1999 (CHSAA records only go back that far), and coming off a tough loss at Westminster last week in the regular season finale, the Panthers had a tough time getting back some steam on Thursday, accumulating just 278 yards of offense.
Defensively, Boulder had a tough time stopping a mid-range passing game that Lynch was nearly flawless in. Utilizing big-bodied receivers Derek Coleman and Logan Paulson, the Lightning were content with throwing 5- to 8-yard passes most of the night.
Lynch's three TD's were of 1, 4 and 4 yards.
"We knew the slant would work really well for us just from last week, so we prepared with that and the in routes," said Coleman, who had five catches for 63 yards. "We had a good plan, and even though it was a short week we played really well."
"Our big receivers are going to get the ball, and that's helping us in the way we want to play," Lynch said.
Legacy (8-2) opened the game up after Boulder's first touchdown, a remarkable 11-yard run from TJ Jones at the 7:06 mark of the second quarter that cut Legacy's lead to 14-7.
Kyle Freeburg nailed a 30-yard field goal to close a time-consuming drive and make it 17-7, and after a BHS 3-and-out to follow, Legacy struck again. Lynch hit Dalton Royer on a 45-yard pass to get LHS down to the 4, and the QB found Coleman — one of his favorite targets — with 50 seconds left to make it 24-7.
Jones finished with 87 yards for Boulder, and Aiden Chandler came in during the second half and threw for 92 yards and a TD. For Boulder coach Bob Simmons, the future appears bright.
"The kids are disappointed tonight, but we've told them they've established a foundation for our program with this season," Simmons said. "We have 15 juniors and 22 sophomores coming back, and the kids are excited about that foundation."
Legacy 38, Boulder 14
At North StadiumBoulder (5-5) 0 7 0 7 — 14 Legacy (8-2) 7 17 7 7 — 38
Legacy — Matt Lynch 9 run (Kyle Freeburg kick).
Legacy — Logan Paulson 1 pass from Lynch (Freeburg kick). Boulder — TJ Jones 11 run (Ismael Bouchta kick). Legacy — Freeburg 30 field goal. Legacy — Derek Coleman 4 pass from Lynch (Freeburg kick).
Legacy — Evan Baugh 2 run (Freeburg kick).
Legacy — Dalton Royer 4 pass from Lynch (Freeburg kick). Boulder — Mikey Thompson 35 pass from Aiden Chandler (Bouchta kick).
RUSHING — Boulder: TJ Jones 23-87, Max Bajza 7-14, Patrick Fletcher 1-3. Legacy: Evan Baugh 12-117, Matt Lynch 7-73, Ethan Simmons 8-26, Kenny Gonzales 3-10, Brandon Wills 2-9, Dalton Royer 3-8, Alec Lewis 1-(minus-2).
PASSING — Boulder: Max Bajza 5-12-0-48, Aiden Chandler 5-9-0-92, Jones 1-1-0-34. Legacy: Lynch 16-22-0-181.
RECEIVING — Boulder: Jake L'Heureux 4-80, Kobi Boynton 3-33, Scott Slaugh 1-11, Jones 1-11, Mikey Thompson 1-35, Jack Braymiller 1-4. Legacy: Derek Coleman 5-63, Logan Paulson 4-24, Royer 3-57, Jack Ruscher 1-7, Ross Smith 2-9, Nick Solusod 1-21.