WESTMINSTER - The Legacy Lightning knew they were facing a tough opponent to open their 5A Mt. Antero League schedule. They made it tougher on themselves with costly mistakes against the No. 4 team in the state.
Miscues and ill-timed sacks put Legacy in a hole, and Regis Jesuit capitalized to beat the Lightning 32-7 on Friday night.
It wasn't the start to the league Legacy wanted, and now the task is tougher to reach the postseason.
"I believe (Regis) is the best team in this league," quarterback Alec Lewis said. "Now we've got to win the next four league games and get into the playoffs."
At least the Raiders (5-1, 1-0) won't be on the schedule the rest of the way, but the Lightning felt it was right there with them Friday. They trailed 16-7 at halftime and had the ball for nearly six minutes to start the third quarter but a sack - one of four given up - ended any threat.
"I told our guys, 'We're playing so hard but we're making mistakes in critical situations,'" Legacy coach Wayne Vorhees said. "We eliminate those and we're tough to beat."
Mistakes helped Regis Jesuit take a 16-0 lead in the first quarter. A bad snap on a punt gave the Raiders the ball deep in Legacy territory, and they scored two plays later to go up 7-0.
Lewis was sacked in the end zone on the Lightning's next possession and a 29-yard pass to the Legacy 1-yard line led to Regis Jesuit's second touchdown.
"I've got to get rid of the football," Lewis said. "I can't give up sacks like that."
The Lightning (3-3, 0-1) regrouped and went 63 yards in 11 plays, capped by Lewi's seven-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Lynch in the second quarter. The defense stiffened, and a late interception in the second half set up Legacy deep in the Regis Jesuit end with 6 seconds left before halftime.
A penalty, one of seven in the game, backed it up near midfield and negated any chance for more points.
After Legacy failed to score to start the third quarter, Regis Jesuit struck quickly, connecting on a 58-yard touchdown pass to make it 23-7. Another safety and a grind-out drive by the Raiders sealed the game.
Now the Lightning have to regroup for the rest of the way.
"We kind of felt like this was for the league title," Vorhees said. "Both schools felt that going into the game, so we understand what we need to do now. We've got four more games in league and we've got to fight."
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Regis Jesuit 32, Legacy 7
At North StadiumRegis Jesuit (5-1, 1-0)16079—32Legacy (3-3, 0-1)0700—7
Regis — Justin Lamb 5 run (Matthew Bornhorst kick). Regis — Safety, Levi Rush tackles Alec Lewis in end zone. Regis — Kiahn Chiku-Martinez 1 run (Bornhorst kick).
Legacy — Ryan Lynch 7 pass from Lewis (Riley Feddema kick).
Regis — Jake Heimlicher 58 pass from Lamb (Bornhorst kick).
Regis — Safety, Heimlicher tackles Lewis in end zone. Regis — Cade Mendenhall 6 pass from Lamb (Bornhorst kick).
RUSHING — Regis: Kiahn Chiku-Martinez 19-100, DJ Jackson 4-14, Justin Lamb 6-10, Tama Tuitele 1-4, Ty McQuire 3-4. Legacy: Dakota Key 24-61, Trevor Rope 2-3, Alec Lewis 5-(-49).
PASSING — Regis: Lamb 12-21-1-166. Legacy: Lewis 10-22-0-71.
RECEIVING — Regis: Jake Heimlicher 2-66, Tuitele 3-37, Aubrey Marschel-Parer 2-33, Jack Peppercorn 2-27, Jackson 1-8, Lamb 1-(-5). Legacy: Ryan Lynch 4-30, Jaiden Peterson 3-22, Dylan Anderson 2-15, Owen Weber 1-4.