It took 38 minutes, but when Pine Creek got rolling Friday in a 4A first-round playoff game against Golden, nothing could stop the Eagles.
Pine Creek rebounded from a rocky first half, in which two touchdowns were called back due to penalties, to claim a first-round win over No. 16 Golden, 34-0.
The Eagles will face the winner of No. 8 Rampart vs. No. 9 Monarch, which will be played Saturday at D-20 Stadium.
No.1 Pine Creek (10-1) entered the locker room with a shallow 10-0 lead, and senior Wyatt Wieland said the halftime message was clear: “We’re beating ourselves.
“We had a slow start, I thought, but we definitely picked it up at the end,” Wieland said.
“We had a few drops and missed a few blocks, and that’s on us, but execution was the biggest part of that second half. We knew if we executed the gameplan, big things will happen.”
And they did.
Early in the fourth quarter David Moore III broke through for a 48-yard touchdown thanks to a hole made by a well-timed block by Danny Fuhr in the backfield.
From there, the floodgates opened.
Pine Creek scored twice more in the remaining 10 minutes, thanks to a 32-yard rush by Gavin Herberg, and a 37-yard pass from JC Coulter to Wieland.
Prior to Pine Creek’s surge in the fourth quarter, the Golden defense stopped the Eagles in the red zone three times, forcing Pine Creek to settle for a pair of field goals, and forced a turnover on downs after the Eagles got down to the 1-yard line.
“We knew they were a good team and the kids obviously know they’ve won three of the last four championships, but to be honest, this whole season has been about our family and how we can get better,” Golden coach Jared Yannacito said.
“We told the guys to play with heart and effort, and the game will reflect it, and I think it did. It was 17-0 going into the fourth quarter, a No. 1 seed vs. a No. 16, and that was pretty impressive, these kids were playing hard.”
The Golden offense couldn’t get much going after its quarterback David O’Connell got banged up in the first half, and the Demons’ passing game faced a barrage of tall linebackers ready to bat any ball down.
In addition to the penalties which called back a pair of first-half touchdowns, Pine Creek had been flagged nine times, compared to one Golden penalty midway through the third quarter.
“We have to clean that up,” Pine Creek coach Todd Miller said. “We had a lot of penalties and two touchdowns called back and in the playoffs that’s hard. You put yourself behind and the further you go along, as the games get tighter and tighter, you just can’t make those mistakes.”