The old order has been fully restored at Pine Creek.
The Eagles had three touchdowns from Austin Schultz and all but clinched a league title with a 42-7 stomping of Ponderosa as part of a reclamation tour that keeps gaining steam.
The victory over the Mustangs marked the third loss from last year avenged by Pine Creek (6-2, 5-0 4A Pikes Peak), which has outscored its 4A competition by 135 points though five games and looks far more like the program that went 45-5 from 2008 through 2011 than the one that stumbled to a 4-6 mark last season under difficult circumstances.
"It was a hard year last year," said Schultz, who scored on first-half runs of 2, 7 and 1 yard. "We didn't like that taste."
The final blow that kept last year's squad out of the postseason was a 13-10 loss to Ponderosa (4-4, 3-2), which swept its way to a title in its first year in the league.
A repeat of that outcome was out of the question nearly from the start, as Pine Creek outgained its visitors at District 20 Stadium 144-6 after each team's first two possessions.
"It's always huge to get in front, in high school especially," Eagles coach Todd Miller said. "It's hard to come from behind. It's good being a front-runner. The play-calling as a coach gets easier, the flow of the game gets easier; so it's always good to be in front."
It's not that the game was entirely without drama. Twice in key situations the Eagles went for it on fourth down and converted each time.
Ponderosa took advantage of a short field to cut the gap to 21-7 early in the third quarter, but a 57-yard reception from Scott Savage served as a backbreaker.
Pine Creek added two more long scores, one on a fake punt as Kamden Adkins hit Eric Warren from 42 yards and later when Adkins ran a sweep in from 51 yards.
"Our kids right now believe and they like each other," Miller said. "I don't know that we've got any superstars, but we've got a lot of guys that do a lot of things very, very well."
The loss could be particularly damaging to Ponderosa, which entered ranked No. 19 in 4A wild-card points (16 teams advance to playoffs).
The only team within one game of the Eagles in league is Falcon, which Pine Creek defeated to gain the head-to-head tiebreaker. So the only way the Eagles' title would be jeopardized is if they were to lose to both winless Air Academy and 3-5 Rampart.
With 195 yards on 9-of-17 attempts, Pine Creek junior quarterback Tommy Lazzaro has 1,104 passing yards this season. The only other two to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in the program in recent years were Kris Kentera (1,298 yards in 2010) and Ryan Warner (1,230 in 2011).
"We were able to throw our way out of some problems tonight," Miller said, "which we weren't able to do in the past."