A lot was on the line Friday as Doherty traveled to Fountain-Fort Carson.
Bragging rights in the 10th-annual rivalry game: The Shield trophy.
But most importantly, a bid to the 2019 5A state playoffs.
And with 3:16 left in the fourth quarter it looked like the Trojans had it in their grasp.
But not if Logan Siffert and Brandon Becker had anything to say about it.
A gutsy fourth-down call set up a game-winning Spartan drive as Doherty defended its Shield trophy in a 35-28 win over Fountain-Fort Carson.
“It’s a great feeling to know this team can go through adversity all year, without a great record, but still staying to who we are and trying to win every week,” Siffert said. “We are coming together very well. We hit some little bumps in the road the first part of the year but now everyone is clicking and we can just play football now.”
The Trojan defense held the Spartans to bring up 4th and 12 with 3:16 remaining in the game and Fountain-Fort Carson coach Jake Novotny calls a timeout.
As the stands shivered in sub-20 degree weather, the teams trotted back onto the field.
The ball is snapped, Siffert takes 1, 2, 3 steps back, and throws a laser to Becker who up the middle.
“We didn’t stop them at all in the second half, so we couldn’t punt it,” Doherty coach Dwight Hale said. “So I told the kids, we get this first down and we go down and score and win, or we don’t get it and they win the game.”
And they did.
The Spartans worked their way down the field all the while working the clock down to a minute before Becker ran in a four-yard touchdown and a two-point conversion with 51 seconds to play.
“That was huge,” Siffert said. “It was win or go home right there. It’s what I live for. It’s why I play football.”
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With the clock winding down the Trojans went into their two-minute drill led by freshman quarterback Tavian Tuli, who led the offense with poise under pressure all night. Tuli drove the Trojans to the 26 and threw up a pass with three seconds left that was broken up by Doherty’s Dylan Crossett and Isaiah Escalante-Garcia to put the game on ice.
“(Tavian) has done that all year and that’s what is so amazing for such a young kid to be that patient,” Novotny said. “Nothing rattles that kid and it’s impressive at such a young age. So for a young kid to have that poise and awareness has been a pleasant surprise for us and it’s exciting for the future.”
While the loss all-but ended Fountain-Fort Carson’s postseason hopes, the Trojans will look forward Tuli’s return. He threw two long touchdown passes — a 42-yarder to Treshwan Taylor and a 32-yard pass to Noah Gerber.
A missed Spartan field goal and an impressive drive by F-FC’s Dezmen Oliver and a touchdown put Trojans up 28-27 late in the fourth quarter.
Oliver, a sophomore, surpassed 1,000 rushing yards for the season in the first quarter of Friday’s game and opened the second half with a 69-yard touchdown run.
Becker finished with three rushing touchdowns. Siffert and Daymond Hill also had rushing touchdowns for the Spartans.
Doherty will find out for sure on Sunday if they have made it into the 5A playoffs after the football committee meets to officially seed the 2019 bracket.
“It’s good because the destiny is in our hands,” Hale said. “I told our guys if we win I am 100% sure we will get in because of our strength of schedule, so we will see Sunday morning.”