AURORA — The Regis Jesuits advanced to the Class 5A state playoff quarterfinals on Friday night after wiping out a two-touchdown deficit against a traditional football powerhouse.
The No. 7 Raiders rallied in the second half to a 28-21 win over No. 10 Pomona at Lou Kellogg Stadium. The two Regis brothers — junior quarterback Xander Carroll and senior running back Xavier Carroll — set the tone. Xander scored a go-ahead rushing touchdown in the third quarter with a 3:26, and the Raiders were away for good.
Regis is seeking its first football state championship in the program’s history.
“We wanted more of it,” said Xavier Carroll. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, really, to be able to play my last year with my brother.”
Pomona’s flamboyant attack scored the first touchdown of the night when senior quarterback CJ Kyler ran 15 yards into the end field for an early 7-0 lead. The Panthers made it a two-touchdown advantage with an 8-yard rushing score from senior running back Chase Muller in the second quarter.
Regis (8-3) made a scoring push set up by an impressive 28-yard bobbling sideline catch by senior wide receiver Dallas Macias. Sophomore Anthony Medina later took advantage of a play with a small run-down touchdown. The Raiders missed two goals in the first half and went down 14-7 at the break.
But Regis tied it with a goal-line rushing touchdown from Xavier Carroll at the start of the third quarter. The Raiders took a 21-14 lead on Xander Carroll’s 4-yard rushing score. Then Xavier Carroll added a 21-yard touchdown skipper in the fourth quarter.
“E and Z are special kids,” said Regis coach Danny Fillman. “They’re just exemplary Regis Jesuit students and hard-working kids who compete. It’s just a blast to train them because they have a never-give-up attitude. It’s just contagious.”
Pomona made a quick touchdown from senior Dominic Nichols and was less than four minutes into regulation. But the Panthers could not complete the comeback.
“We told them the whole time it was going to be a dog fight,” Fillman said. “That was it until the end. I’m so proud of my kids hanging in there. We got off early and just fought back.”