Published: October 11, 2012
At Pueblo: Three touchdowns in 47 seconds kept TCA unbeaten.
All three were in the final two minutes, and the rally started with the Titans facing a 17-point deficit.
This was a comeback so improbable that TCA (7-0, 2-0 3A Southern) coach David Bervig was about to put his reserves in the game.
Good thing he didn’t, as a 60-yard Jantzen Ryals-to-Joey Trese touchdown pass with 1 minute, 53 seconds remaining started a chain of events that no one saw coming.
“I can’t put into words what it was like,” Bervig said. “It was incredible.”
Trese’s touchdown cut the Pueblo East (5-2, 1-1) lead to 33-23. Titans kicker Daniel Carlson then floated a short kickoff to what TCA had identified as a vulnerable spot in the Eagles kickoff coverage. A Pueblo East player caught it and fumbled and Chucky Calvert recovered for the Titans.
Two plays later Ryals — who threw for 395 yards — completed a 30-yard touchdown pass to Connor Cattolica.
It was up to Carlson, who has signed to kick at Auburn, to give the Titans a chance at an onsides kick. He pounded it into the ground and Trese made a leaping grab on the sideline to give the Titans possession.
A few plays later it was Trese again — after getting knocked to the ground at the beginning of the play — taking a screen pass 19 yards down the sideline for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:06 remaining.
“He dives in to the end zone in a bunch of traffic,” Bervig said. “It was chaos crazy.”
The Titans finished with 457 yards of total offense. Trese had 155 receiving yards, Alex Willis had 136 and Ryals completed 22-of-35 passes with four touchdowns — including three in those frantic final moments.
“Jantzen had probably the best two minutes of his life,” Bervig said.
Bervig was serious about putting his backup quarterback in the game. In fact, the backup is his freshman son, Austin, who was thrust into that role because of an injury. Bervig felt he needed to get Austin some game experience should something happen to Ryals, but a gut feeling told him this wasn’t the time to make the move and one of the more unlikely endings imaginable soon followed.
“I’m excited about being 7-0, don’t get me wrong,” Bervig said. “But this was the kind of game TCA wouldn’t have won in the past. They would have folded up. So, honestly, I don’t care about the record. I care about 45 guys who truly love each other and will play for each other until the final whistle.”