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