BROOMFIELD — A miserable first half for the Broomfield football team was a distant memory by the time the Eagles lined up for a potential game-winning two-point conversion Friday night at Elizabeth Kennedy Stadium.
After scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter to come within 30-29 of Greeley West with just 45 seconds left on the clock, the heart of the Eagles under coach Blair Hubbard had truly been exposed.
At that point, once trailing 16-0 and by as much as 30-15 with 4 minutes left, there was no way they were playing for overtime. However, Greeley West was ready for the inside carry from Jalon Torres, and the visiting Spartans managed to hold on to the victory after an onsides kick failed.
"We talked to them about having a champion's heart at halftime coming out, and we took that opening drive right down the field and scored," said coach Hubbard, whose team dropped to 5-2 overall and 1-1 in the still-very-much-winnable Longs Peak League. "There was a slew of penalties that we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot, something that's been problematic for us. We've been able to overcome some of those things, but tonight we couldn't.
"It didn't come down to one play at the end. It came down to a lot of those plays where we need to coach better discipline in our kids and hopefully that will pay off for us later on."
Just one week after dominating Loveland defensively, the Eagles had a sputtering offensive output with just 25 yards in the first two quarters of play Friday night. Greeley West (5-2, 2-0) had more than 200 with most of that coming on the ground.
The tides didn't turn until late in the fourth quarter, mostly because Greeley West's dynamic Darren Delacroix made people miss frequently when he was carrying the football but also because of myriad penalties.
Broomfield made it 16-8 just 1 minute, 21 seconds into the third quarter on a 19-yard run from Torres and a two-point run from Tanner Garner. The Eagles would score again early in the fourth quarter on a 17-yard pass play from Steven Croell to Ryan Mazzola (on fourth down, no less).
But each of those touchdowns was met with a Greeley West score, and the Spartans took a 30-15 lead with 8:58 remaining. Broomfield was stopped on a fourth down its next possession but got the ball back with about 4 minutes left.
That's when the magic started to happen.
Croell, who was 2 of 8 to start but finished 15-for-27 for 208 yards, connected often with Mazzola in the next couple drives. With 2:53 left, Mazzola grabbed a ball over the middle and scooted his way to a 46-yard TD, and the Eagles converted another two-point attempt to make it 30-23.
Kicker Luke Coffman recovered his own onsides kick that hit a Greeley West front man and bounced back toward the Eagles. Mazzola made a spectacular grab for 15 yards on a 4th-and-10 inside GWHS territory, and Garner and Mason Keeler had big catches from there to set up a 3-yard TD run from Garner.
Greeley West called a time out while the teams were lined up for the possible Broomfield win, and Torres was stopped on the backfield to give the visitors a huge victory.
Delacroix paced Greeley West with 142 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
"We felt like we had a look we could go to with kind of an overloaded side there, and they brought some pressure from the second level that we just didn't pick up," Hubbard said. "(Delacroix) is a very good player for them, and they found ways to get the ball in his hands."
"We just have to keep going forward because we came out a little too cocky going into this game," Croell, just a sophomore, added. "We played two quarters of football when you need four. We need to know, nobody is easy and we have a target on our back."
Torres had 124 yards rushing for Broomfield, which will attempt to gather its bearings in next week's homecoming game against Niwot.
Greeley West 30, Broomfield 29
At Elizabeth Kennedy StadiumGreeley West (5-2, 2-0) 7 9 7 7 — 30
Broomfield (5-2, 1-1) 0 0 8 21 — 29
Greeley West — Brody Clark 1 run (Eddie Ramirez kick).
Greeley West — Safety (sack in end zone). Greeley West — Darren Delacroix 1 run (Ramirez kick).
Broomfield — Jalon Torres 19 run (Tanner Garner run). Greeley West — Delacroix 36 run (Ramirez kick).
Broomfield — Ryan Mazzola 17 pass from Steven Croell (Luke Coffman kick). Greeley West — Delacroix 15 run (Ramirez kick). Broomfield — Mazzola 46 pass from Croell (Torres run). Broomfield — Garner 3 run (run failed).
RUSHING — Broomfield: Jalon Torres 19-124, Tanner Garner 4-2, Tyler Lefkowicz 1-6, Matt Foster 1-4, Steven Croell 5-(minus-23).
PASSING — Broomfield: Croell 15-27-0-208.
RECEIVING — Broomfield: Ryan Mazzola 9-172, Garner 3-18, Mason Keeler 1-10, Lefkowicz 1-8, Garrett Betty 1-0.