There’s never a bad time to have a guy like Pine Creek’s David Moore III in the backfield, but there are especially good days — like Saturday — to have a stud running back.
With strong, whipping winds taking most pass plays out of the playbook when No. 1 Pine Creek hosted No. 5 Pueblo West in a Class 4A semifinal at Hatchell Field at Academy District 20 Stadium, it came down to which team could produce more on the ground. With Moore, and his more than 7,000 career rushing yards, the Eagles were in good hands, and the result was a 34-0 win over the Cyclones that sent Pine Creek back to the Class 4A title game.
“It comes down to, in games like this when you have two good teams out there, blocking and tackling, controlling the line of scrimmage,” Eagles coach Todd Miller said. “I thought for four quarters we were able to do that.”
Moore opened the scoring with a short run late in the first, and the Eagles took a 14-0 lead to the half after quarterback Gavin Herberg’s short keeper in the second. Though Moore was mostly limited to short runs in the first half, there was little doubt about what was coming.
“We just preach no negatives. We don’t want negative plays,” Miller said. “With a great back and a good offensive line, you’re going to start breaking them. It’s just being patient.”
Patience paid off on Pine Creek’s second drive of the third quarter when Moore took a handoff between the tackles and outran the Cyclones’ defense for a 63-yard score.
“Even if I don’t break one, the next play I’m looking to break one. That’s always my mindset,” Moore said. “I just saw a big hole. My offensive line opened it up, and I just took off.”
A touchdown pass from Herberg to Gradon Miller, a rare downfield completion on the day, and a late touchdown run from Elias Rogers were simply cosmetic and the Pine Creek defense pitched a shutout.
“It’s really just playing as hard as we can,” senior defensive back Max Lofy said. “We’ve got trust in our coaches and trust in our abilities as well. When you have a bond so tight you want to play for the (person) right next to you, and when you’ve got good athletes like we do, it turns out a shutout.”
Lofy and Eddie Kyle each blew up short passes, as the conditions allowed the Eagles defense to pin its ears back.
“The weather just doesn’t allow you to do some things offensively, so you can take some chances,” Miller said. “It kinda allowed them to load the box, and then it allowed our corners on the flip side of that to be pretty aggressive because of the ball … you couldn’t throw it anywhere when you were going into (the wind).”
The Eagles will face No. 2 Broomfield next week at Empower Field at Mile High. It will be the senior class’ third state championship game in four years, winning the 2016 title, 36-14, over Broomfield when Moore rushed for 201 yards and a touchdown as a freshman. He hopes next Saturday is an even better day, but he’s not taking that as a given.
“Even though we did beat them my freshman year, we can’t underestimate the team,” Moore said. “You never know what can happen.”