On paper, it should have been a close game. Golden, sporting a high-powered offense and high spirits after winning a playoff game after a 19-year post-season winless drought, would be going up …
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On paper, it should have been a close game.
Golden, sporting a high-powered offense and high spirits after winning a playoff game after a 19-year post-season winless drought, would be going up against the league-champion Fountain-Fort Carson Trojans looking to extend a dominant 7-game win streak.
But games aren't played on paper. And the CHSAA 4A second round playoff game on Nov. 12 on Fountain's Ermel Field was not close.
The Trojans (10-1) have scored more than 40 points against opponents six times this season, and kept the opposing team off the scoreboard three times as well. But to do so in a playoff game was a special feat.
The dominance started early and did not relent. Within the first minute of game play, Tai Faavae broke through the Golden defensive line for a rushing touchdown.
The two teams would trade possessions, Golden losing out on one drive thanks to an interception. But before the end of the first quarter the Trojans' Tavian Tuli would throw a touchdown pass to give his team a strong lead.
Things never got better for the Demons.
The Trojans started the second quarter on their own 20-yard-line. A few quick first-downs had them back to midfield. That's when a holding call and an incomplete pass set up a 3rd and 15.
The Golden faithful got rowdy, sensing a possible turning of the tide. But Tuli had other plans. He dropped back into the pocket and threw deep, straight down the field. Junior wide receiver Darian Martin was right there, just a step ahead of two Golden defenders. He caught it without breaking stride on his way into the end zone.
The score now 21-0, Golden received the kickoff. Star Golden quarterback Jazel Riley IV had been so good for the Demons all season (accounting for 42 touchdowns), but the Trojan secondary was merciless. A pass over the middle was met with a hard hit, forcing a fumble. The Trojan secondary scooped it up and ran that in for yet another touchdown.
"Tonight we played a really good football team, and we didn't play our best football. So, sometimes when that happens, the score gets out of hand," Golden Head Coach Jared Yannacito said after the loss.
Golden's next drive stalled out. In contrast, the Trojans seemed to be picking up momentum. The home team soon enjoyed a first-and goal situation fueled by a 43-yard scamper by Dezmen Oliver. He then did the honors, carrying the ball from the remaining eight yards out for another rushing score.
Twice Golden managed to move the ball into the Trojans' red zone. Twice the Trojan defense held firm.
The first opportunity to break the Golden goose egg came at the end of the second quarter. A long pass from Riley to Josh Torrey, followed by a strong run, busted out by sophomore Luc Chevalier moved the Demons to the Trojans 16-yard-line. But the Trojan defense stymied any further progress for four straight downs.
At the end of the third quarter (the score now 35-0) the Demons would find themselves with a 1st-and-goal on the Trojan 9. A run up the middle netted two yards. That was followed by an incomplete pass on second down and another run play by Torrey. Inside linebacker Michael Madrid was there to make the stop, holding Torrey to only a three-yard-gain to force a 4th-and-4. This time it was junior defensive back Myles Mcclarity who came through for the defense. He found a gap and broke up the Demons play before it could even develop.
Two minutes into the fourth quarter the Trojans would score the last touchdown of the night. Even without the extra point, the 41-0 score triggered the mercy rule, allowing the clock to run between plays and ending the game quicker.
The feeling of community surrounding the Demons was palatable at the end of the game. Friends and family hung near the fenceline in the chilly night air, long after the home-side stands had cleared out.
"Proud of you, Demons!" shouted someone. "Keep your heads up!" called out another.
Golden's remarkable season ends with a 9-3 record and more playoff experience than any GHS team in nearly two decades.
"It was an amazing season. I'm so proud of this group," Yannacito said, giving special nod to his team's seniors: Toby Trujillo, Eddie O'Sullivan, De Jour Dubois, Noel Abare, Torrey, Dalton Summers, Daniel Brock, Taiysaun Doris, Omar Sanchez-Munoz, Johnny Gomez, and Logan Brewer.
"They accomplished a lot, and I'm proud of them."
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