Matt Jonas/Staff Photographer
LOVELAND – The Broomfield football team went from being in a tight battle for a semifinals berth to out of the playoffs in a mere handful of plays on Friday night.
Last season’s Class 4A runners-up were trailing by a touchdown in a close game with Loveland at Ray Patterson Field when disaster struck in the form of injury and turnovers that led to a 28-7 loss. The stunning turn of events was a cruel and frustrating end to an already unusual and difficult season.
Despite the outcome, the Eagles’ postgame team meeting had a decidedly different tone.
“I told them to think back to August and early September when we didn’t even know if we have the opportunity to be out here,” Eagles head coach Blair Hubbard said. “I told them not to think about that last quarter but to think about the memories we were able to make. They need to just relish that stuff because that’s what this is about.”
For more than three quarters, the Eagles (5-1) and Loveland (7-0) played a back-and-forth game fitting of a clash of familiar foes that have combined to play in four of the last five 4A championship games.
Following a scoreless first quarter, Loveland senior Zack Rakowsky, who rushed for 860 yards in the regular season, scored the first touchdown on a dive with 6 minutes, 54 seconds left in the in the second quarter. Broomfield scored on a 38-yard pass from Cole LaCrue to Josh Dunn, who went up high to make the catch and stretched the ball over the goal line in the left-hand corner to send the game into halftime tied at 7-7.
With 9:33 left in the fourth quarter, Jadyn Tafoya scored on a 3-yard run to put Loveland in the lead. Looking to tie the game once again, LaCrue was injured on an incredible scramble play with 7:59 left and was forced out of action.
Two plays later, Loveland’s Joe Killian intercepted a pass and returned it nearly 70 yards for a touchdown. On the next drive, a pass bounced high off a Broomfield receiver’s helmet and Tyson Williams intercepted it then returned it to the 1-yard line to set up a fourth decisive Loveland touchdown.
“The ball was just a little bit behind the receiver and they jumped the route on the pick-six, and then on the second one, a shoe fell off of our receiver as he was making his break and it just popped right up to them,” Hubbard said. “It is what it is. That’s the theme of 2020, right?”
Loveland will play the winner of Saturday’s game between No. 1 Dakota Ridge and No. 8 Montrose.