Heritage ousted by No. 1 Pine Creek

Posted 11/17/08

On a bitterly cold night Nov. 14, the 2008 football season came to an end for Heritage High School. Junior quarterback Josh Chance led a running game …

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Heritage ousted by No. 1 Pine Creek


On a bitterly cold night Nov. 14, the 2008 football season came to an end for Heritage High School.

Junior quarterback Josh Chance led a running game that produced 358 yards, going for 154 himself and a touchdown as host and top-seeded Pine Creek defeated the eighth-seeded Eagles 17-7 at District 20 Stadium on the campus of Liberty High School in Colorado Springs.

Pine Creek (12-0) advanced to face fifth-seeded Greeley West in the semifinals while Heritage concluded its campaign at 10-2.

In a battle of Eagles, it was the visitors who struck first and surprised the hosts.

With the very first play from scrimmage, starting at the 21 yard line, Heritage quarterback Mitch Griebel burst out of the pocket and scrambled 78 yards down the left sideline before being caught from behind at the one. A run up the middle by Jordan Delbaugh was stopped, but Griebel then found paydirt on a 1-yard sneak to put his Eagles up 7-0 just 55 seconds in.

It was the longest run Pine Creek had allowed all season, and Griebel, who wound up with 112 rushing yards on 11 carries, became just the second player to eclipse 100 yards against the top seed.

Despite the quick strike against it to start, Pine Creek stuck to its game plan of running the ball and running it a lot. Using a triple option, the host Eagles chewed up yardage and plenty of clock with its drives, including the one that tied the game as the first quarter came to a close. Pine Creek moved 62 yards in just under five minutes to knot the game 7-7 on a two-yard run by Zach Karr.

All told, Pine Creek nearly doubled Heritage in time of possession, holding the ball for 31:51 compared to 16:09 for the visitors.

Heritage put together a solid drive in response to the score. Griebel overcame a 5-yard penalty on third and six, rushing for 16 yards to move the chains. Another penalty set the Eagles back and helped bring up a fourth and seven from their own 35. Griebel went back into the punt formation, but again surprised Pine Creek by finding Delbaugh with a screen pass that went for 29 yards and a first down at the PC 35-yard line.

The Pine Creek defense stiffened mightily at that point, pushing Heritage back 5 yards and forcing a punt.

Heritage stopped the last two drives of the first half by forcing a turnover. Al Erle recovered a fumble by Chance with 2:26 left before the break and Connor Dudley made a diving interception at his own 17 with 40 seconds showing to preserve the 7-7 deadlock. Heritage, though, could not pick up a first down on either of the ensuing drives.

As the second half began, Pine Creek looked to make a statement early when Chance broke loose and appeared to score on a 65-yard touchdown. But a holding penalty negated the play and the Eagles wound up having to punt.

Hoping to generate some momentum, Heritage went to the air on second and seven from its own 33 but was intercepted by Taylor Lopez on a slant pattern intended for Shane Opitz. Using another five-minute drive, Pine Creek did capitalize when Kristopher Kauber booted a 21-yard field goal through the uprights to give the hosts a 10-7 advantage with 2:24 left in the third quarter.

Again looking to respond, Heritage moved across midfield on a 14-yard run by Griebel and a 26-yard draw play by Blair Zimmerman. A penalty would set the Eagles back five yards, but Griebel picked up 11 with a second-down dash. However, on third and four, Griebel was sacked by Connor Stevens for an 8-yard loss. Heritage then went for it on fourth down, lobbing a deep pass for Jordan Edwards that was broken up by Pine Creek’s Kris Kentera, turning the ball over on downs.

Pine Creek then used a 12-play, 61-yard drive that ate up six minutes to lead 17-7 with 5:06 remaining on a 6-yard scramble by Chance, essentially putting the game away.

Heritage did have one last possession where it moved the ball quickly with completed passes from Griebel to Jimmy Ellis for 26 yards and Opitz for 24 yards, but Kentera picked off the next pass at the 3-yard line and returned it 52 yards to the HHS 45 with 3:34 to play.

Pine Creek ran out the clock from there and had positive things to say about their counterparts after the game.

“That is one heck of a football team in Heritage; a very well-coached, disciplined team. This was a good win for Pine Creek High School,” head coach Todd Miller said.

“There was nothing left on that field. It was just an all-out brawl,” senior Ryan Lockwood said. “Major props to Heritage. They are tough. They played their butts off.”


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