With just seven wins in two previous seasons, Discovery Canyon sat in a precarious position as other fledgling programs, such as Vista Ridge and Palmer Ridge, quickly rose to prominence as teams to beat in the Pikes Peak region.
“I was concerned that maybe we had hit a bump in the road,” said coach Shawn Mitchell, a former Colorado College football player who left Harrison after seven seasons to start the Thunder program in 2007. “We had high hopes heading into 3A three years ago, and after the second season, were a little discouraged.”
That made the 2012 season all the more special for Mitchell, whose Thunder went 9-2, claimed the 3A South Central division title and advanced to the postseason for the first time.
“This year far exceeded expectations,” Mitchell said. “The best way I can explain the season was fun, an enjoyable stress, as opposed to wondering how we were going to win.”
Now, Discovery Canyon is poised as a team to beat, with a foundation in place and a strong junior class returning to defend its league title.
“The attitude in our building was different, and other sports feed on that,” Mitchell said. “We had such excitement all season long. This season raises the bar for next year and beyond.”