WINDSOR — No. 5 Windsor football got a huge stop when it needed it most in a 35-17 win over No. 6 Monarch.
With Monarch facing a fourth down and three, down just one possession, Nate Cole broke through the line to make the tackle and turn the ball over on downs.
"We knew this was going to be a fight," Cole said. "We knew we were going to throw the knockout punch, it was just a matter of when. That big fourth down stop gave us our energy back.
"We just had to get in there and fight, and get him. We knew we were going to get him."
Windsor scored three unanswered touchdowns after Monarch took the lead. A blocked punt energized Monarch. Four plays later, Max Laychak's 5-yard touchdown run gave Monarch a 17-14 lead — it's first of the night.
Windsor dealt with injury trouble, but fought through it with a next man up mentality. Windsor coach Chris Jones said the Wizards have around nine players injured.
"It says 'KNOW' on our helmets for never out-worked," Jones said. "Know your job, do your job and know the guys in your circle. Everybody had faith in eachother tonight, and they knew the next guy was going to step up. The guys that went in there, they knew everyone believed in them.
"Everyone was focused on knowing your job, know your environment and know who's supporting you."
Jaedyn Traut finished the job with an 8-yard touchdown run to give Windsor a 28-17 with 6:31 left in the game.
A Darren Peeples 54-yard run inside the 1-yard-line set up a quarterback sneak from Connor Apodaca to put the game out of reach.
Windsor took over inside Monarch's 50-yard-line after a 30-yard punt return. Then, a pass to the 2-yard-line set up Noah Montague's touchdown run that gave the Wizards the lead back at 21-17.
"The guys we threw in who got limited reps," Jones said. "That was the difference. You saw guys making blocks, making tackles. We threw four dudes in the game in the middle of the third quarter that had to play because of injury. There was no drop in faith, no drop in confidence. The kids went out there and did their job."
Windsor had it's own big play turnover in a forced fumble, but the Monarch defense held tough and forced a turnover on downs. Windsor's Connor Apodaca lofted the pass to Brayden Pedersen, who tried to drag a foot in bounds, but the pass was ruled incomplete.
"Defense came up big," Jones said. "We got a couple turnovers on them, and then the fourth down stop. Then we go down and score. Then we go down and score again, and we score again. These guys support eachother. We always have eachother's backs.
Windsor took advantage of a Monarch missed field goal and cashed in with a touchdown on the ensuing drive.
Apodaca chucked up a 32-yard pass to the back of the endzone and Pedersen came down with the touchdown catch.
Monarch answered with a big play of its own in a 58-yard pass from CJ Schmanski to Ben Cole. After Cole was tripped up at the three, Justin Kiss finished the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run to pull Monarch within one possession.
Monarch got on the board first with a seven minute and 44 second drive that ended with a Lanphear 31-yard field goal. The Coyotes started the drive at their own 4-yard-line.
Windsor's Isaiah Salazar put life into the Wizard offense with a kick return to the 49. A pass to Brandon Ramirez got Windsor down to the 4.
Montague finished off the quick-strike drive with a 6-yard touchdown run to put Windsor up 7-3.
Windsor finishes out the season at Greeley Central, versus Skyline and at Fort Collins.
"My brothers will always do their job," Cole said after the game. "That's what we were preaching this week. Do your job and we'll get this win."