Skip to content
  • Legacy's Kullen Lerma passes the ball toward the end zone...

    Legacy's Kullen Lerma passes the ball toward the end zone during the first half of the Lightning's road playoff game against Pine Creek mat Academy District 20 Stadium in Colorado Springs on Nov. 11, 2022. (By Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps.com)

  • Legacy's Kullen Lerma passes the ball downfield during the first...

    Legacy's Kullen Lerma passes the ball downfield during the first half of the Lightning's road playoff game against Pine Creek at Academy District 20 Stadium in Colorado Springs on Nov. 11, 2022. (By Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps.com)

  • Legacy's Tyler Anderson dives for a touchdown during the first...

    Legacy's Tyler Anderson dives for a touchdown during the first half of the Lightning's road playoff game against Pine Creek at Academy District 20 Stadium in Colorado Springs on Nov. 11, 2022. (By Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps.com)

  • Legacy's Noah Williams forces Pine Creek's Jerry Lydiatt out of...

    Legacy's Noah Williams forces Pine Creek's Jerry Lydiatt out of bounds during the first half of the Lightning's road playoff game at Academy District 20 Stadium in Colorado Springs on Nov. 11, 2022. (By Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps.com)

  • Legacy's Kylan Studebaker takes the ball coast-to-coast on the opening...

    Legacy's Kylan Studebaker takes the ball coast-to-coast on the opening kickoff to put the Lightning on the board in the first 15 seconds during the first half of the Lightning's road playoff game against Pine Creek at Academy District 20 Stadium in Colorado Springs on Nov. 11, 2022. (By Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps.com)

  • Legacy's Kullen Lerma leads his team out of the locker...

    Legacy's Kullen Lerma leads his team out of the locker room ahead of the Lightning's road playoff game against Pine Creek at Academy District 20 Stadium in Colorado Springs on Nov. 11, 2022. (By Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps.com)

of

Expand
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

COLORADO SPRINGS — All sports fans know you can never trust a 12-5 matchup.

On Friday night, when No. 12 Legacy football traveled down to Academy District 20 Stadium to take on No. 5 Pine Creek during the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs, the Lightning embraced that underdog mantra — albeit in the wrong sport — when they came out, well, lightning-fast to very nearly stun the Eagles in a 30-24 loss.

Junior Ky Studebaker started the night with a 99-yard kickoff return to put Legacy up on the board in the first 15 seconds. Legacy’s offense, however, collapsed in the final minutes to hand the Eagles the victory.

“It sucks. It really does,” Studebaker said. “This was an amazing season. All these players, they mean so much to me. They’re my family. This hurts bad, like really bad. Saying goodbye just hurts. We had it.”

Junior quarterback Kullen Lerma finished his night with 108 passing yards but threw three costly interceptions. He ran for an additional 48 yards and a touchdown as sophomore running back Tyler Anderson contributed 58 yards of offense and a score of his own.

The loss ends an incredible run for the Lightning who, after opening the season 0-2, won nine straight to launch themselves in the second round of the postseason. Had it not been for the unforced errors on offense, they most likely would have made their case for the quarterfinals.

They just needed a minute to get used to their new head coach.

“They’ve always played hard and they were always playing for each other but they just weren’t playing smart enough yet,” head coach Jay Madden said of the early part of the season. “We were just making too many mistakes and we simplified things a little bit as a coaching staff and then they flourished. They just took off, their effort levels went off the charts, and they’re having fun.”

Following Studebaker’s coast-to-coast opening run, the Lightning continued to hold firm throughout the first half. Both defenses continuously gave the opponent’s offenses headache after headache, but each squad still managed to get on the board a couple of times before the break.

Both of Pine Creek’s scores came off of runs from Jonathan Coar and Jerry Lydiatt, but Legacy’s second touchdown of the half had a little more flair to it. Anderson did his best Michael Jordan ‘Space Jam’ impression when, midway through the second quarter, he broke two or three tackles and stretched as far as his body would let him to will the ball over the goal line.

The Eagles and Lightning sat deadlocked at 14 at the half, and that trend continued into a third quarter that saw both teams score one more touchdown apiece. A 36-yard field goal from junior kicker Lucas Montera put the Lightning up 24-21 for the last time at the start of the fourth quarter.

Then they fell apart.

Lerma threw two interceptions over the remaining 11 minutes to hand the Eagles three field goal chances. Their defense certainly showed up when it mattered to prevent all of those from becoming touchdowns from inside the red zone, but they fell short in the end when a fumble halted their final drive.

“We fought through so much adversity,” Studebaker said. “Through the summer, we didn’t have a coach. We grinded. These are my brothers right here. This is my family. I’m excited to see what’s coming.”