PUEBLO -- From Matt Erb's perspective, Holy Family football has put in the work to be a threat in the Class 3A postseason. But the tight end also believes his team has not gotten the breaks to thrive once it gets there.
This fact was painfully evident Friday night at Dutch Clark Stadium. For a second-straight season the 12th-seeded Tigers were ousted from the first round of the playoffs. But what made the team's 49-28 falter so painful this year was that Holy Family had its cracks at knocking off No. 5 Pueblo East.
"We came out to compete, but they bested us today," said Erb, who finished the night with 164 yards receiving. "We had a lot of opportunities, we just didn't step up."
When East (9-2) was still within striking distance, Holy Family (8-3) had two shots to rope the game back in its corner. But in each instance, the Tigers were unable to capitalize off big defensive stands at the end of the third and start of the fourth quarters.
Holy Family recovered a fumble and held on a fourth down to force turnovers. The team then put together strong drives, only to be stopped in or near the red zone. The second possession was the toughest for the Tigers to gut, with the team getting all the way to the 1-yard line before being held on fourth down.
It was a complete swing from how Holy Family started the second half. Erb caught the second of his two touchdown passes on the Tigers' first possession and believed his team had cornered the momentum after the 78-yard reception that cut the 21-point halftime deficit down to 35-20.
"We always felt like we could move the ball on offense tonight," the tight end said.
A lot of the Tigers' offense rested on the legs and arm of David Sommers. The junior quarterback finished the evening with 408 total yards, passing for 266 yards and rushing for another 142.
Despite the signal caller hitting on all cylinders, he also had his share of trouble. He tossed two interceptions, but the miscue that really stung him he said was a fumble in the first half. Sommers spit up the ball in the backfield, with East scooping it up for a defensive touchdown.
"We had a mess up on the play call, there was some confusion on the play call," the quarterback said. "I made the wrong call and they were able to come up the gap on me."
While Holy Family defense progressed as the evening wore on the team had trouble slowing down East's explosive run game. Derion Ibarra found the corner on the Tigers all evening with the Eagles back finishing the night with 267 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
To Mike Gabriel, the loss was tough, but he was proud of the way his players stuck with the game until the end.
And he believes there a number of areas the team progressed this season that will only make them more dangerous next year.
"Offensively we did things we didn't know we could do," Gabriel said. "We went further with the no huddle than I ever thought we could ... and defensively we learned about some young kids who played a lot."
Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.
PUEBLO EAST 49, HOLY FAMILY 28
At Dutch Clark Stadium.
Holy Family (8-3) 7 7 14 0 -- 28
Pueblo East (9-2) 13 22 7 7 -- 49
East -- Derion Ibarra 19 run (Felix Mestas kick).
Holy Family -- Matt Erb 25 pass from David Sommers (Marco Lonardo kick).
East -- Mestas 28 pass from Kurt Rode (kick failed).
East -- Jimmy Valdez 34 fumble return (Theo Garcia pass from Rode).
East -- Rode 11 run (Mestas kick).
Holy Family -- Sommers 1 run (Lonardo kick).East -- Ibarra 2 run (Mestas kick).
Holy Family -- Erb 78 pass from Sommers (run failed).
East -- Ibarra 3 run (Mestas kick).
Holy Family -- Sommers 7 run (Erb pass from Sommers).s
East -- Marco Perez 1 run (Mestas kick).
First downs 24 19
Rushes-yards 46-200 45-348
Passing yards 266 126
Comp-Att-Int 22-36-2 5-12-0
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 3-1
Penalties-Yards 7-40 2-7
RUSHING -- Holy Family: Sommers 24-142, DeHerrera 17-46, Trombley 3-21, Dinsmore 2-(-9); East: Ibarra 32-267, Rode 4-15, Arellano 3-40, Perez 6-26.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) -- Holy Family: Sommers 22-36-2, 266 yards; Esat: Rode 5-12-0, 126.
RECEIVING -- Holy Family: Hsin 2-14, Ball 7-63, Dinsmore 1-1, Helbig 3-22, Erb 6-164, DeHerrera 2-26; East: Mestas 1-28, DeTello 1-21, Valdez 1-5, Mestas 2-52.