Manitou Springs left its home field looking and feeling unfulfilled, and for good reason.
The eighth-seeded Mustangs looked to be headed to the 2A state quarterfinals, but instead fell in a 33-32 double-overtime classic to No. 9 Brush.
The reason for the empty feeling was the fact that Manitou Springs (7-3) could’ve – and probably should’ve – won, leading 19-7 with under 7 minutes left in the game.
“I think at that point we had some confidence, but we knew it wasn’t over until the last tick of the clock,” Mustangs coach Dan Gieck said Saturday. “You can look back at missed opportunities, and it’s easy to reflect later about what we could’ve done better.”
What the defense wishes it could’ve done better was offer a stop during Brush’s two touchdown drives of more than 80 yards in the final minutes.
After dominating for the first three-and-a-half quarters, the Mustangs allowed a scoring drive of 91 yards to make the lead 19-13 after a blocked extra point with 6:14 left.
“We felt like we had them, but the big plays are what determine games and their big plays killed us today,” Manitou Springs senior KC Quarry said.
Brush scored again with 2:19 left, but the Mustangs blocked another extra point, which led to overtime.
In the two extra periods, the home team had more chances to put Brush away. After each team scored and kicked successful extra points in the first overtime, Quarry put his team ahead with a touchdown run to make the score 32-26.
However, the extra point was no good. It was the third time the Mustangs failed to tack on points after scores in the game, with a blocked PAT, missed 2-point conversion and then the miss in the second OT.
“The tide can change quickly and it can happen with little things,” Manitou Springs senior Chad Sienknecht said. “But in the second overtime we knew we couldn’t let them score, but they did.”
Brush (8-2) finished off its wild comeback when running back Kyle Rosenbrock scored his third rushing touchdown and the Beetdiggers converted the extra point to send themselves to the quarterfinals against No. 1 Kent Denver next weekend.
The elation on the visitors’ sideline was mirrored by the disbelief and heartbreak on the other side. Still, after a 1-8 season in 2011, the 7-3 effort and a home playoff game was something for the Mustangs to be very proud of.
“This season was a great ride; I told the kids that I appreciate them and the way they turned the program around this year,” Gieck said.
His senior running back/linebacker echoed those sentiments.
“I don’t regret any moment of this season, and I’m glad I got to spend it with my teammates,” Quarry said. “We turned this around, and we were hoping for more, but it just got cut short.”