PUEBLO - The Lewis-Palmer football team entered the postseason believing that it could compete with anyone in the top 16 of Class 3A.
And despite the 35-21 final score against No. 2 Pueblo East, the No. 15 Rangers battled until the end.
And despite having two new linemen in position on the left side of their offensive line, Lewis-Palmer was able to threaten the Eagles in the fourth quarter.
“Those positions were iffy, but then you go into the game and they start performing,” Lewis-Palmer coach Dustin Tupper said. “Usually if you have a new kid you’re going to have protection that is off and it wasn’t. If you have a new kid on the left side, are you able to run to the left? We were tonight.”
And it showed in the L-P run game, led by senior Evan Walsh.
“Evan (Walsh, running back) is the type of kid if you get a helmet on helmet, he can go,” Tupper said. “And they’re a good defense, so he got himself a few good runs, a 15 and a 13, and they were just able to run him down, which is indicative of a good defense.”
Walsh continued to chip away ultimately scoring on a 2-yard rush at the start of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 13.
Walsh, who had 1,396 yards entering Friday’s game, is estimated by Tupper to have 200 carries in the last four games of the regular season.
“We made a decision to give him the ball and everything else opens up off him,” Tupper said. “He’s our workhorse.”
After Walsh’s short touchdown run the Rangers stopped East on a fourth and 1, forcing a turnover on downs midfield. And Tupper made a statement call.
Junior quarterback Alex Weaver aired one out to Jake Martin for a 66-yard touchdown bringing the Rangers within six with nine minutes left on the board.
The Lewis-Palmer defense then forced an East third and 22, but with a quarterback like East’s Luc Andrada, and a receiver like Kain Medrano, no one can count them out. Andrada completed a long pass perfectly placed on the far sideline for Medrano, setting up East’s eventual game-sealing touchdown.
“That score at the end broke our backs a bit,” Tupper said.
From there Lewis-Palmer could not find much momentum.
“This senior crew is pretty special,” Tupper said. “You have Joel (Scott) who does everything. (Charles) Cook that leads the defense and just a lot of senior leadership is walking out the door and you have to leave it a game short.”