MONUMENT — The fifth-seeded Silver Creek football team expected a dogfight against fourth-seeded Lewis-Palmer in the Class 3A state quarterfinals on Friday night.
But to win a second-round playoff game by just one point, that level of drama is just ridiculous.
On the road at Don Breese Stadium on Friday night, the Raptors had a 14-point halftime lead evaporate in the second half only to watch their semifinals ticket get punched on a missed extra point that would have tied the game with 1 minute, 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The final score was 28-27.
"We knew we were in for a battle," Raptors head coach Mike Apodaca said. "Those two teams didn't let up for 48 minutes and it took every second for us to get it. We had to hang in there through some adversity, especially in the third quarter, and we ended up with one point more. That's all that matters."
The Silver Creek offense wasn't on top of its game when the Class 3A state playoffs began on Nov. 11 but that got turned around in a hurry for the quarterfinals. To be fair, it's easy to turn things around when the solution is simply to throw the ball to Khari Harrison at every opportunity.
By halftime on Friday night, Harrison had caught four passes for 125 yards. Seemingly a threat to score every time he touched the ball, he found the end zone on receptions of 57, 41 and 18 yards to help the Raptors (12-0) take a 21-7 lead over the Rangers (10-2) at the break
The Rangers clawed their way back to tie the game 21-21 with 9:20 left in the fourth quarter. The Raptors responded with a nine-play, 65-yard drive during which Harrison ran an end-around 19 yards to convert on fourth-and-five and tailback George Ramirez scored on a 10-yard run on the next play. With a 28-21 lead, Raptors senior linebacker Brock Knechtel intercepted a pass to halt the Rangers' next drive.
When Rangers tailback Dieudonne Chea scored on a 35-yard run with 1:24 left on the clock, the game appeared destined for overtime. But on a frigid night, Rangers kicker Cody Fitzgerald nearly missed the ball on the point after and it wobbled short of the uprights.
"It's crazy that something as little as that can turn out to be as big as it did," Knechtel said. "We needed a one-point lead to win the game and we came out and did it. Not many people get this opportunity to be 12-0. It's a gift and a blessing and I thank our father in heaven for that one."
The Raptors, who appeared in three straight state title games from 2011-13, are back in the semifinals. They will face the winner of Saturday's quarterfinal between No. 1 Discovery Canyon and No. 9 Fort Morgan in the semifinals next week.
Silver Creek 28, Lewis-Palmer 27
At Don Breese StadiumSilver Creek 7 14 0 7 — 28
Lewis-Palmer 0 7 7 13 — 27
Silver Creek — Khari Harrison 57 pass from Dylan Ordway (Coltan Grabau kick).
Silver Creek — Harrison 41 pass from Ordway (Grabau kick). Lewis-Palmer — Joel Scott 18 pass from Kevin Tims (Cody Fitzgerald kick). Silver Creek — Harrison 18 pass from Ordway (Grabau kick).
Lewis-Palmer — Dieudonne Chea 13 pass from Tims (Fitzgerald kick).
Lewis-Palmer — Tims 1 run (Fitzgerald kick). Silver Creek — George Ramirez 10 run (Grabau kick). Lewis-Palmer — Chea 35 run (kick missed).
RUSHING — Silver Creek: George Ramirez 17-58, Andreik Knechtel 8-80, Khari Harrison 1-19, Anthony Allman 1-1. Lewis-Palmer: Dieudonne Chea 18-87, Charley Young 15-55, Kevin Tims 4-9, Joel Scott 1-(-10).
PASSING — Silver Creek: Dylan Ordway 18-34-2-289. Lewis-Palmer: Kevin Tims 10-21-1-219.
RECEIVING — Silver Creek: Khari Harrison 6-146, George Ramirez 6-82, TJ Blazon 4-34, Anthony Allman 1-21, Joe Roth-Bogrett 1-5. Lewis-Palmer: Chase Allen 3-80, Alex Bailey 2-70, Dieudonne 2-32, Charley Young 2-19, Joel Scott 1-18.