DENVER — Everybody in the Broomfield camp knew it was going to take a nearly flawless effort to knock off Pine Creek on Saturday in the Class 4A title game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
And for three quarters, Broomfield had them right where they wanted them.
The defense had held its ground against a speedy Pine Creek offensive attack and the offense had proven that it could score when it needed to. But when it mattered most, the experience of the Pine Creek in the big game paid off.
The home-standing Eagles claimed their third Class 4A title in four years, ending the impressive run of Broomfield 36-14 at the home of the Denver Broncos.
"I reminded our seniors to look around and remember the journey because those are things they are going to remember beyond this," said Broomfield coach Blair Hubbard, whose magical first season in charge of the Eagles ended 11-3. "The groundwork is laid and the kids will know this spring and in the summer what is expected of them and I think there is going to be some hungry kids there that are going to want to work hard.
"Hopefully they trust us to get back here again."
Broomfield, the decided underdogs going in, had made its playoff run on the strength of its defense and early its was that group that stood its ground.
Pine Creek's first offensive possession of the game, one that started with 6:59 to play in the first quarter after a Luke Coffman missed field goal, was a 21-play odyssey that lasted all the way into the second quarter. A steady dose of freshman back David Moore had Pine Creek in business with 1st-and-goal at the 1-yard line.
After three straight stops, it was senior Mason Keeler that made the play that kept Pine Creek off the score board.
"I knew if they got in, momentum would change and that could have hurt us and I knew at that moment I had to do something to stop it," said Keeler, who hauled in a touchdown pass late in the first half that would help even the score going to the break.
"I wasn't sure what the rule was, and I know there is no hopping or hurdling, but I figured I'm in Mile High, I may as well try and do something cool and hopped over and it worked."
A second half team for a majority of the season, Broomfield appeared to have stemmed the early second-half tide when they were able to limit Pine Creek to just a field goal on its opening drive of the third quarter.
But the offense never found its rhythm and only crossed midfield once in the second half.
"Sometimes that's just how it happens, because we all came out here and we fought hard," said junior slotback Tanner Garner, who had three catches for 30 yards. "They came out on top and sometimes that is just how it goes."
Said Hubbard: "There were just a few plays here and there during the game within the game, where some kids got knocked down on routes and other things, where a little bit of protection would have made a huge difference. But against a premier program like Pine Creek, you have to scrap for every inch that you get."
Pine Creek's offense really started to click in the fourth quarter. They scored on three consecutive drives — a Pete Isais 17 yard reception from Brock Domann, a Thomas Dantzler 38-yard run (his only touch of the game) and a Domann 60-yard run — to seal the title.
"They were able to convert a lot of first downs on us and that's a credit to them," Hubbard said. "They executed well when they needed to."
PINE CREEK 36, BROOMFIELD 14
At Sports Authority Field at Mile HighBroomfield (11-3) 0 14 0 0 — 14
Pine Creek (12-2) 0 14 3 19 — 36
Pine Creek — Wyatt Wieland 20 pass from Brock Domann (Cameron Brunghardt kick).
Broomfield — Jalon Torres 7 run (kick failed).
Pine Creek — David Moore 73 run (Brunghardt kick).
Broomfield — Mason Keeler 29 pass from Steve Croell (Ryan Mazzola run).
Pine Creek — FG Brunghardt 22.
Pine Creek — Pete Isais 17 pass from Domann (kick blocked).
Pine Creek — Thomas Dantzler 21 run (kick failed).
Pine Creek — Domann 60 run (John Lewis kick).
RUSHING — Broomfield: Jalon Torres 20-85, Tanner Garner 2-12, Steve Croell 5-(minus-21). Pine Creek: David Moore 27-205, Wyatt Wieland 6-27, Brock Domann 9-74, Thomas Dantzler 1-38, Noah Martin 3-6.
PASSING — Broomfield: Croell 10-18-1-152. Pine Creek: Domann 9-12-0-92
RECEIVING — Broomfield: Garner 3-30, Ryan Mazzola 3-25, Matte Foster 1-35, Tyler Lefkowicz 1-29, Mason Keeler 1-29, Torres 1-4. Pine Creek: Wieland 4-60, Pete Isais 2-21, JC Coulter 1-7, Joey Long 1-6, Moore 1-(minus-2).