Dramatics were in high supply at Woodland Park and Florence on Friday as both games, literally, went down to the final play in overtime thrillers.
In Woodland Park, the hometown Panthers answered Liberty's touchdown in the extra period but elected to go for the win with a 2-point conversion try.
The Lancers stopped quarterback Matt Cox short of the goal line and escaped with a 28-27 victory.
"We were going for the win no matter what," Woodland Park coach Joe Roskam said. "Once the game was over, I was a little upset, but I don't regret the decision. It was an exciting game."
In Florence, meanwhile, the Huskies scored first in overtime, added the point after, and had Kent Denver, the defending 2A state champion, facing third-and-long. Sun Devils quarterback Joey Matarazzo then tossed a touchdown pass, and Kent Denver got the win on running back Jaden Franklin's 2-point conversion run for a 22-21 victory.
"They called a timeout, and we were expecting that they'd try to win the game with a conversion," Huskies first-year coach Jeremy Nix said. "They were able to connect on their try. That Jaden guy, he's pretty good."
The concept of overtime, where both teams get a series starting at the 10-yard line, caught more than a few players off guard.
"I had three or four players ask me how much time we had in overtime," Roskam said. "I had to explain that overtime is untimed."
Sierra strikes early, then loses touch in setback to Mesa Ridge
Sierra had an extra week to prepare for its matchup with Mesa Ridge on Friday, and early on, the work seemed to have paid off.
Demontre Brown caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Will Nelson, then Maliek Spencer rumbled 70 yards for a score, giving the Stallions a quick 13-0 lead on last year's 4A state semifinalist.
Then, things went bad in a hurry.
A misplayed punt return gave Sierra the ball at its 1, where a holding penalty in the end zone resulted in a safety. Mesa Ridge then returned the free kick for a touchdown and added a 2-point conversion that quickly cut the deficit to 13-10.
The Grizzlies ultimately won the game at Memorial Stadium, 31-13.
"That was an emotional swing of the game, and that took away all the things we did to get the momentum," Sierra coach Dean Huffman said. "We were rolling pretty good, but it was hard to catch up after that."
Manitou Springs hopes to continue fast start into league play
Manitou Springs blasted Ridge View Academy 53-0 on Saturday, giving it a 98-0 aggregate score in its first two games.
Coach Dan Gieck doesn't expect the same when his Mustangs travel to La Junta for the start of 2A Tri-Peaks League play.
"We're still trying to polish some stuff and make sure we're ready, because we've always swapped back and forth with La Junta," Gieck said. "It always seems to be an even match."
The home team has won the last three contests.
Falcon's Ballage gives team extra boost in win over Pueblo South
Falcon standout Kalen Ballage rushed for a touchdown and caught another in Falcon's season-opening win against Widefield on Aug.?31. On Thursday at Dutch Clark Stadium, the senior found a different way to reach the end zone.
Ballage returned a punt 94 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, giving the Falcons the lead for good in a 17-7 victory. He added a 71-yard touchdown run late in the first half as Falcon started 2-0 for the second straight season.