PARKER – The Legends High School football team needs everything from their two senior playmates to bounce back late from Pine Creek in a highly anticipated 5A-4A South showdown for league play Friday at Echopark Stadium.
Wide receiver Jackson Brush and fellow worker Bryce Vaz (19 carries for 91 yards) scored two touchdowns, and the 5A No. 7 Titans (5-1, 1-0 5A/4A South) defense bounced late from 4A 26- No. 2 Eagle in 23 wins.
Brush opened the scoring on a 49-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Colter Warner when he flicked to his right to avoid a defender at the 30-yard line and ran it.
“After that first capture, it was the pedal to the metal,” Brush said. “We know how good[Pine Creek’s]secondary is. There’s a reason they rank so high in 4A, and we did everything we could to keep fast. “
In the second quarter, Legend went for it with a fourth and -7 call at the Pine Creek 28-yard line, and Brush interrupted with a slanted catch, sprinted to the far edge and scored to make it. 20-6. He finished the first half with three receptions for 89 yards.
Pine Creek (5-1,0-1) dual-threat quarterback Josiah Roy showed the strength of his arm with a 65-yard touchdown pass to Brayden Kramer to get the Eagles on board.
The Eagles used a bit of their own back move from two assets as they converted fourth and long on a fake punt. After three plays, Roy found Gavin Wetzl in the corner of the end field for a 12-yard score and made it a one-score game at 20-13.
For Pine Creek head coach Todd Miller, the fake punt was the spark of his offense and the quick-witted, fast-paced offense carried the tone.
“Our kids had just fought and after starting 10 sophomores with such a youth group, we fought until the end of tonight and we didn’t blink,” Miller said. “We didn’t pass the test because we came at the back end, but, we passed the test of feeling that we could be better than we thought.”
Turnover came back to bite both teams after a penalty-filled first half. The Eagles recovered a rumble inside the legend area, only for Roy to be snatched away two plays later.
The very next play, Vaz of the Titans found an opening and ran for his second touchdown of the night with 59 yards to go with 2:32 in the first half.
“We knew we needed to react and swinging that pace was a big deal for us,” Vaz said. “We wanted to help in our defense and they have been helping us all year round. It was an aggressive game and we knew we needed to score.”
Pine Creek’s Ian Johnson added a 38-yard field goal late in the half, bringing the deficit back to 10, with Pine Creek trailing 26-16.
The third quarter was all about clock management, and the Eagles took advantage of that. Roy fielded the Eagles and scored at quarterback Sneak, who closed an 11-play, 70-yard drive that narrowed the lead to 26-23.
In the final frame, the Eagles had a chance to take the lead and went to Legend 37 to establish a fourth-down position. Roy makes it towards the end zone but the pass remains unfinished.
The Titans will face another top-10 team next Saturday against 5a No. 6 Regis Jesuit (4-2) at home, while Pine Creek will face 5a No. 10 Douglas County (5-0) at Colorado Springs. Will return