DENVER — Legacy’s have and have-not season will continue.
It has another game.
Thanks to a rousing 33-24 victory over host Mullen at Brother Bernard Kinneavy Field at De La Salle Stadium on Friday night, the Lightning won its fifth consecutive game and roared into Class 5A’s second round. It will be at Grandview next weekend.
The Lightning, now 5-6, came in at No. 21 in the 24-team bracket. It began 2018 by losing its first six games under first-year coach Corey Heinz. The Mustangs (12) ended 4-7. The Grandview Wolves, who drew a first-round bye, are 9-1 and No. 5.
Legacy trailed early twice, but came back each time, withstood a late Mullen move and practically danced off the field.
“It was good,” Lightning senior tight end Jack Smith said. “It was well-fought and we got going on offense.”
Smith had a big night. He had eight receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown, and became the program’s all-time, single-season leader with nine. It surpassed the eight grabbed by Ryan Lynch a year ago.
Legacy quarterback Nicholas McCarthy was picked off once, but was 21-of-38 for 282 yards, threw two scoring passes, kept the chains moving and added 32 yards rushing on key plays. And even when Legacy front-line rusher Dakota Key went out with a leg injury three plays into the third quarter, the Lightning kept grinding and weathered a few storms.
Legacy had built a 21-10 halftime lead on Key’s 59-yard run and McCarthy’s two scoring passes — the first was a 63-yarder to Jaiden Peterson — and had its bulge apex at 30-10 on a John Hoyland field goal and a Jayden Winfield (he filled in admirably for Key) 1-yard plunge only to have Mullen sudden arise.
The Mustangs scored twice within 2:17 on an 80-yard catch-and-run and a four-play, 61-yard drive late in the third quarter.
However, Boyland booted his second field goal, a 30-yarder, in between Mullen mistakes. The Mustangs fumbled on the first play of one series, then had a tipped ball result in an interception. Hunter O’Connor and Blake Roberts, respectively, recorded the turnovers.
“Our defense figured it out in the second half,” Smith said. “I’m so glad they did what they did. I dropped a ball and caused a turnover, but they stopped them two times in a row.”
Smith also seemed to get open when McCarthy and the Lighting needed it the most.
“We have a very good coaching staff and offense, and they set me up very well,” he said.
It was Legacy’s first victory over Mullen. The Lightning jumped from 3A to 5A in 2002 and had played the Mustangs in the playoffs three times, in 2005, 2007 and 2009. It dropped all three by a combined 100-20.
But Friday night changed all of it.
“This feels great,” Smith said.
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Legacy 33, Mullen 24
At de La Salle Stadium
Legacy (5-6) 7 14 9 3 — 33
Mullen (4-7) 3 7 14 0 — 24
Mullen — Aiden Lehman 53 field goal. Legacy — Dkota Key 59 run (John Hoyland kick).
Mullen — Isaac White 35 pass from Dominic DePizzol (Lehman kick). Legacy — Jaiden Peterson 63 pass from Nicholas McCarthy (Hoyland kick). Legacy — Jack Smith 13 pass from McCarthy (Hoyland kick).
Legacy — Hoyland 38 field goal. Legacy — Wingfield 2 run (kick failed). Mullen — Wind Henderson 80 pass from DePizzol (Lehman kick). Mullen — Wind Henderson 10 pass from DePizzol (Lehman kick).
Legacy — Hoyland 30 field goal.
RUSHING — Legacy: Jaden Wingfield 21-70, Dakota Key 7-83, Nicholas McCarthy 8-32. Mullen: Damien Cearns 22-80, Isaac White 1-4, Dominic DiPizzol 6-0.
PASSING — Legacy: McCarthy 21-38-1-282. Mullen: DiPizzol 19-28-0-366.
RECEIVING — Legacy: Jaiden Peterson 5-105, Jack Smith 8-80, Wingfield 3-45, Owen Weber 3-32, Cole Walker 1-16, Xavier Lawson 1-4. Mullen: Wind Henderson 7-155, Isaac White, 4-91, Cearns 4-56, Colin Rogers 2-52, Ben Martinez 1-7, Cody Nepple 1-5.