Ralston Valley looked to be the first major upset victim of the Class 5A football playoffs.
Then senior Collin Root drilled a 56-yard field goal on the final play of the Mustangs' second-round game against Eaglecrest. It made for an unbelievable, miraculous 44-43 win.
"56-yarder, with that kind of pressure, by Collin Root, it's just an unbelievable kick," Ralston Valley coach Matt Loyd told Colorado Preps' Scoreboard Show on Friday night.
The two teams slugged it out the entire night, with Eaglecrest methodically marching down and kicking what looked to be a game-winning field goal with 38 seconds left following a fumble recovery.
But Ralston Valley got one last crack. With Eaglecrest in a prevent defense, and despite having just one timeout, the Mustangs dialed up three straight run plays — two by Kyle Rush, another by Andrew Wingard — to drive down to Eaglecrest's 39-yard-line with 3.3 seconds remaining.
With the famous Legacy Stadium wind at his back, Root stepped up and drilled the kick. Eaglecrest coach Mike Schmitt later told the Aurora Sentinel that he thought the odds of it going through the uprights was "1 percent."
"He's such a heck of a kicker, and he's hit 55 in practice multiple times," Loyd said. "The key word being 'practice.' Different story with the game on the line in order to keep moving on."
Root entered the game having hit 2-of-4 field goals this season, with a long of 43.
"It was unbelievable," Loyd said. "It was pretty exciting for our guys. We've actually been out there three times before, and lost heartbreakers, so we were able to win that one."
The Mustangs, a No. 1 seed, move on to host No. 2 Fairview in the quarterfinals.
4A: (13) Falcon 28, (4) Denver South 13
Matt Bastian, Josiah Hall, Jeff Vela and Wyatt Aaberg each had rushing touchdowns for the Falcons, who pulled the biggest upset of 4A's first round.
"We knew we had to go on the road and battle against a really tough team, and our kids really came together and found a way to get it done tonight," Brian Green, Falcon's co-head coach, told the Scoreboard Show.
It was Vela's score in the third quarter which made it 21-7 as Falcon announced the upset potential to the state. The Rebels did cut it to 21-13 later in the third quarter, but Aaberg's touchdown put the game away.
Falcon did a great job of containing South's ground game, as well, and actually didn't allow a rushing touchdown.
Denver South entered the game averaging 323.7 rushing yards per game. Falcon held the Rebels to 35 yards on 29 carries.
"It's just an incredible job by our kids," Green said. "It was a great gameplan, and just attacking. We weren't sitting back waiting for them — but just attacking and running downhill on defense."
Falcon jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the game. It advances to play Pueblo South in the quarterfinals, a team that beat the Falcons 24-21 on Sept. 19. Falcon will host.
4A: (5) Pueblo South 20, (12) Greeley West 7
Ray Mitchell had two rushing touchdowns to spot Pueblo South a 14-0 lead in the first half and the Colts never looked back en route to the win. The defense had an outstanding night, as well.
"I can't give enough praise to our defense and what they did, and getting off the field in key situations, and making plays," Pueblo South coach Ryan Goddard told the Scoreboard Show. "Our kids just stepped up."
Nate Spinuzzi also kicked a pair of 23-yard field goals in the win. The final came on a long, time-consuming drive which put the game out of reach.
"It's a tribute to our offensive line, and credit to those guys up front, and our backs," Goddard said. They did a fantastic job of just grinding it out and getting first downs."
5A: (2) Fairview 45, (3) Overland 27
Quarterback Johnny Feauto threw four first-half touchdown passes, three to Tim Ryan, as Fairview opened a 28-0 halftime lead and never looked back.
"To be able to get that halftime lead was a great start," Fairview coach Tom McCartney told the Scoreboard Show.
Feauto finished with five touchdown passes, and Ryan also added a 65-yard rushing touchdown.
- Arickaree/Woodlin carved out a spot in 6-man's championship game with a 72-22 win over Fleming in the semifinals.
- No. 2 Fort Collins beat No. 15 Rampart 49-6 in 4A. The Lambkins get a rematch with Longmont next. "We had to battle the elements," coach Eric Rice told the Scoreboard Show. "The skies opened up and it pretty much poured the whole second half, and we didn't see that in the forecast. I'm proud of our kids for being able to adjust."
- Two No. 1 seeds in 5A just rolled in running clock wins: Cherry Creek beat No. 4 Bear Creek 56-21, and Grandview beat No. 5 Lakewood 40-0.
- Another big win for a top seed in 5A: No. 2 Valor Christian beat No. 3 Mountain Vista 44-0. Quarterback Dylan McCaffrey threw for 318 yards and two touchdowns.
- One more: No. 2 Regis Jesuit 44, Heritage 0. Alec Barnes rushed for three touchdowns.
- In 4A, No. 7 Longmont beat No. 10 Pueblo Centennial 26-7. Longmont has won seven straight games after a 1-3 start. "It's super-exciting to be able to do that," coach Doug Johnson told the Scoreboard Show. "It's just a tough-minded group of kids."
- Discovery Canyon, 3A's top seed, easily handled No. 16 Berthoud, 41-0. It's actually the first playoff win in school history. "We talked a little bit about it, and just about the disappointing exit of the previous two seasons," coach Shawn Mitchell told the Scoreboard Show. "I feel like this group just has a different mentality. I don't think they had too much anxiety about that. I think that they were just focused on being 1-0 at the end of this week. But for the program itself, it was a big hurdle to get over."
- Behind Isaac Marquez, No. 1 Pomona beat No. 5 Columbine 21-14 in 5A. Photos from the game.
- Fairview aired it out to beat Overland in 5A.
- Broomfield topped Dakota Ridge in the 4A playoffs.
- Photos from Cherry Creek's win over Bear Creek.
- Full list of scores from the night.
- Updated brackets: 5A | 4A | 3A | 2A | 1A | 8-man | 6-man
- Replay our live coverage of the night — especially recommend following the end of the Ralston Valley-Eaglecrest game.