Heading into the 2019 season, the Sand Creek football program had won just two games in four years. In that time the Scorpions saw three different head coaches and a significant drop in participation.
But that was before James Everett stepped in.
Everett, who was announced as the team’s coach in January, has already matched the program’s win total from the last four seasons combined and continues to see the roster grow.
But the Scorpions will face their biggest test Friday as they travel to face the back-to-back 3A champions, Palmer Ridge.
“Mentally we have to get over the size. You see them on film and you’re like, those guys are big,” Everett said. “So mentally we have to tell the kids, B-I-G doesn’t always mean B-A-D. We have to know once the lights cut on and we’re inside those white lines we have to mentally lock in. He puts his pants and his pads on like I did.”
The Bears have made a statement in their first two games of the season, outscoring opponents 89-0, including last year’s title game opponent Pueblo East.
In his first season as a starter, quarterback Luke McAllister has a .643 completion percentage and averages nearly 200 yards per game. Last year’s championship game MVP Raef Ruel returns as the team’s top threat on the ground with 107 yards and three touchdowns through two weeks, and Deuce Roberson has 166 receiving yards and three touchdown receptions.
Palmer Ridge's defense has held opponents scoreless and leads the state in interception yards with 177 thanks to five takeaways. Senior Kieran Fry has two interceptions to lead the Bears.
When Everett arrived at Sand Creek he had just 16 returning players from the 0-10 season, only eight of whom were participating in offseason workouts. But after bringing an energetic group of defensive coaches from his former school, George Washington, Everett began to see the numbers increase. Everett said he has more than 60 players.
“The hardest part was getting the kids convinced that this year would be different,” Everett said. “But once they see all of the energy the coaches have, they start to buy in and have fun too.”
Sand Creek scored more points in the first two games of the season than the team did last year in the first seven weeks combined.
And a third of those points are credited to junior running back Greg Garnett, who after playing in just two games as a sophomore, scored a trio of touchdowns in the 2019 opener and ran for more than 200 yards.
Garnett has 353 yards rushing and four total touchdowns and leads Class 3A averaging 176.5 yards per game.
“He’s our little junkyard dog,” Everett said. “First we were thinking maybe we will let him play quarterback, but watching him play at 7-on-7 we saw him using his arsenal of skills of catching and running. He’s lightning quick, he’s one of those kids who is going to motivate you not with his talk but with his play. He’s a firecracker.”