Chris McLean / Pueblo Chieftain
Chris McLean / Pueblo Chieftain
PUEBLO — There is no such thing as a Cinderella story at Broomfield.
The Eagles have made an athletic name for themselves over the years, garnering respect every time they take the field, and no matter what the seed is next to their postseason name — in this case No. 15 — it really doesn’t matter.
On Saturday, with a chance to return to the Class 4A state title game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Broomfield — which had already cleared two gigantic hurdles in Windsor and Loveland — saw its fantastic run come to and end at Dutch Clark Stadium against the Pueblo South Colts.
Despite a furious fourth quarter comeback that had the blue and white faithful believing in yet another miracle, Broomfield fell 21-14 and capped its season 8-5.
“Couldn’t have asked for more of the guys effort coming out in the second half after being down like that,” said Broomfield coach Blair Hubbard, who praised his team for their resiliency after a 2-4 start to the season. “We thought if we could keep it a close game that we would have a shot at the end and we did.
“We had some miscues and kind of shot ourselves in the foot, but the kids left it on the field.”
Sixth-seeded Pueblo South (12-1) will play for the title on Saturday at 11 a.m. against defending champion and No. 1 seed Pine Creek, which handled Pueblo West 28-0.
Pueblo South appeared to be in complete control after three quarters. The Colts were up 21-7 on the strength of the powerful running of Steve Brock — who finished with 183 yards on 32 carries — and a defense that had the Eagles guessing.
But Broomfield never gave up on the run, and late in the third quarter and into the fourth started to control the line of scrimmage with more vigor.
Finally with under 6 minutes to play, the Eagles crept to within one score on a Steven Croell score from 2-yards out.
With its ‘Dark Side’ defense clicking on all cylinders, the Eagles took a chance with the onside kick with 5:18 to play, but couldn’t recover. One play later, the defense created its biggest turnover of the season.
The sure-handed Brock was stripped by Noah Jenson and Broomfield was back in business at midfield with 5:10 to play.
“I feel like we did our part to stop them the best we could,” said Eagles senior linebacker Drew Worthley, who made several big plays along with Jenson and the rest of the Eagles front seven in the Colts backfield in the second half. “They have some explosive players and we did a decent job of shutting them down.”
Broomfield couldn’t convert — a costly false-start made it 4th-and-6 instead of 4th-and-1 — on Tanner Garner’s misdirection run and gave the ball back to South with under three minutes to play.
“In those situations, you think players and not plays and (Tanner) has been a big playmaker for us all year long,” Hubbard said. “And I think they guessed right on the blitz and got through and blew up the play.”
The Broomfield defense would do its job one last time, stopping the Colts on downs with 45 second to play at the 21-yard line.
The Eagles had one last chance to save their season, but it was going to take every thing they had to go 79-yards with no timeouts.
After misfiring on his first three passes, Croell then hooked up with Garner on plays of 19, 18 and 15 yards to give the Eagles a realistic chance with five seconds to go at the Colts 32-yards line after a delay of game gave them a pseudo timeout to set up the play.
“I told them to relax and we’ll get things set up and ready to go for that last play,” Hubbard said.
Croell’s Hail Mary to the corner of the end zone was batted away to end the game.
It was a remarkable ending to a run that many around the state didn’t think was possible from a team that was an afterthought six weeks into the season.
“A lot of kids would have given up, but it shows a lot of heart, that Eagle DNA to keep fighting,” Hubbard said. “They made it a memorable season.”
PUEBLO SOUTH 21, BROOMFIELD 14
At Dutch Clark Stadium
Broomfield (8-5)7007—14Pueblo South (12-1)01380—21
Broomfield — Mitchell Gorman 42 run (Matthew Eich kick).
Pueblo South — Steve Brock 28 run (Jesse Anzar kick).
Pueblo South — Marcell Barbee 7 pass from Zach Cozzolino (kick failed).
Pueblo South — Anzar 35 pass from Cozzolino (Brock run).
Broomfield — Steven Croell 2 run (Eich kick).
RUSHING — Broomfield: Mitchell Gorman 23-139, Dylan Torres 5-23, Matthew Foster 6-11, Tanner Garner 4-10, Trey Ortega 1-(minus-2), Steven Croell 4-(minus-5). Pueblo South: Steve Brock 32-183, Zach Cozzolino 7-31, Marcell Barbee 1-16.
PASSING — Broomfield: Croell 10-18-1-140, Foster 0-1-1-0. Pueblo South: Cozzolino 11-18-1-179.
RECEIVING — Broomfield: Garner 5-66, Foster 1-32, Ortega 1-16, Hunter Nassar 1-16, Grant Swenson 1-8, Zachary Zerr 1-5. Pueblo South: Thomas Pannunzio 4-80, Jesse Anzar 3-60, Barbee 3-19, Jeremy Cody 1-20.