This was a meaningless game, one played without any reward.
No postseason bid to wrap up, no conference crown to capture. This was simply a play-out-the-string game.
Except, the Boulder Panthers didn’t act like it was.
Instead, the Panthers put together a dominant first half and held off a late rally to beat Poudre 23-13 Thursday night in the season finale for both teams at Recht Field.
“It feels real good to end the season with a win,” Demetrius Kennedy said.
Boulder (4-6) ended its season by stopping a six-game losing streak, and did it in dramatic fashion.
Andrew Kurtz’s field goal — his third of the game — with 2:56 remaining ended the Impalas’ comeback bid.
“It means a lot,” Kurtz said. “It’s nice to know my senior season we ended with a win.”
The win wasn’t secure until Kurtz nailed his field goal to give the Panthers a cushion. Before that, Poudre had rallied from a 20-0 deficit at halftime to pull within a touchdown on a trick play.
Deep in their own end, the Impalas ran the hook and ladder.
Quarterback Matt Bradley hit Dan Pinkston on a curl route, and he pitched it to a streaking Spencer Long, who ran untouched for a 75-yard touchdown with 6:10 left.
The Impalas tried an onsides kick but Boulder recovered at midfield.
After two penalties gave the Panthers a first down at the Poudre 22, the drive stalled and they turned to Kurtz, who had nailed field goals from 37 and 32 earlier in the game.
“He’s shown great poise,” Boulder coach Jeff Santee said. “In my opinion he’s the best kicker in our conference.”
He showed it by calmly giving Boulder a 10-point cushion.
“I tried to block out (the nerves), take a deep breath and say it’s just another field goal, that’s all it is,” Kurtz said.
In the first half it looked like the Panthers were going to run away with the game.
After averaging just 4.7 points a game during the six-game slide, they scored on their first four possessions and held Poudre to two first downs.
Kurtz’s field goal put them on the board and Kennedy, who finished with 163 rushing yards, scored from four yards out to make it 10-0.
Kurtz added another field goal and quarterback Phil Swisher scored from 14 yards out, which was set up by a 51-yard run by Kennedy.
So a season that started promising and ran into a big rough patch ended on a high note.
“They didn’t give up and it’s real easy to mail it in when you’re not in the playoffs,” Santee said. “Four wins is a heck of a lot better than three wins.”
Boulder 23, Poudre 13
At Recht Field
Poudre (2-8) 0 0 6 7 — 13
Boulder (4-6) 10 10 0 3 — 23
Boulder — Andrew Kurtz 37 field goal.
Boulder — Demetrius Kennedy 4 run (Kurtz kick).
Boulder — Kurtz 32 field goal.
Boulder — Phil Swisher 14 run (Kurtz kick).
Poudre — Ricky Stinnett 1 run (run failed).
Poudre — Spencer Long 75 pass from Matt Bradley (Bryan Mooney kick).
Boulder — Kurtz 31 field goal.
First downs 12 17
Rushes-yards 23-94 41-252
Passing yards 198 62
Comp-Att-Int 16-27-2 7-17-0
Punts-Avg. 1-34 3-35.3
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-1
Penalties-Yards 7-45 8-74
RUSHING — Poudre: Ricky Stinnett 21-97, Andrew Meyer 1-2, Matt Bradley 1-(-5); Boulder: Demetrius Kennedy 20-163, Abel Brown 12-52, Phil Swisher 8-25, Hans Lehndorff 1-2.
PASSING — Poudre: Bradley 16-26-2-198, Stinnett 0-1-0-0; Boulder: Swisher 5-15-0-43, Kennedey 2-2-0-19.
RECEIVING — Poudre: Spencer Long 5-93, Bryan Mooney 3-30, Brett Throgmorton 1-28, Trever Craig 1-18, Dan Pinkston 2-16, Stinnett 1-8, Meyer 1-4, Levi Gibbs 1-1; Boulder: Loic Guegan 2-20, Brown 2-17, Kennedy 1-9, River Addison 1-8, Swisher 1-8.