Coming off a landmark 5-5 season in 2012, expectations were high heading for a fourth Coronado season under coach Bobby Lizarraga.
Playoffs? Maybe. Anything more would probably be a pipe dream, right?
"I thought we had a good shot to make the playoffs, and maybe win one game," Lizarraga said during a magical playoff run that ended with a 3A state championship Nov. 30 at Silver Creek. "To see that we made it beyond that, you take it for what it is and enjoy every second of it."
When Lizarraga took over the coaching reins in 2010, the Cougars were coming off back-to-back winless seasons.
His first season resulted in a 2-8 mark, then they struggled through another 0-10 season in 2011.
The Cougars nearly won the South Central League title in 2012, falling to Discovery Canyon in the final minutes. Although Coronado fell to the Thunder again in November, the lone setback seemed to propel the Cougars through the playoffs, no matter the situation. Coronado rallied from double-digit deficits in three of its four playoff victories, including a 17-0 hole against Silver Creek in the title game in Longmont to complete a 13-1 season and worst-to-first turnaround.
"I didn't know what it felt like to win a state championship," Lizarraga said. "Winning in someone else's house made it even more special. Things were going against us, and the boys just didn't fold."