Xavier Hill shifts momentum for Pine Creek football in 4A playoff win over Rampart

Rampart Pine Creek football

(Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)

COLORADO SPRINGS — Walking into District 20 Stadium on Friday night, there was no mistaken that Pine Creek and Rampart wanted nothing more than to beat each other.

That's what rivals are.

The two teams hadn't met on the football field since 2015. So a playoff atmosphere was the ultimate venue for a renewal of this rivalry.

Pine Creek got the best of Rampart 29-7 in a game that started with clear skies and win, but ended is white-out snowy conditions.

And as a result, the Eagles (11-1 overall) are going to their fifth-straight appearance in the Class 4A state semifinals.

"It's one year and one game at a time," Pine Creek coach Todd Miller said. "I think our players take a lot of pride in making plays and just being good teammates."

They give each other a lift.

And they needed a lift after the first quarter of action. Pine Creek stalled on its first drive on offense and the Rams (9-3) answered with a sustained ground attack.

Rampart Pine Creek football

(Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)

Jared Behm broke off a 40-yard run to get Rampart deep into Pine Creek territory. The Rams finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run from Jackson Beale to take an early 7-0 lead.

Pine Creek's second offensive drive was only able to generate a field goal. Early on, things were not looking good for the defending state champions.

"The first drive, we just didn't execute the way we had hoped," quarterback J.C. Coulter said. "We had to stay steady and stay with our game plan. We had to stick to our assignments and play assignment football."

The Eagles gained their first lead of the game on a 61-yard touchdown pass from Coulter to Wyatt Wieland.

But the Eagles still had to bear down defensively as the Rams were able to chew off yards between Beale and Keion Cross.

The defense got its wish in the form of Xavier Hill. A Cross fumble was scooped up by Hill and he returned it for a touchdown giving the Eagles a sudden 17-7 lead and every ounce of momentum that could be packed into District 20 Stadium.

"I gotta get the ball, that's all I was thinking," Hill said. "At first I thought I was going to have to fall on it. I don't know why I thought I could pick it up, but I picked it up."

Things got worse for Rampart on the first drive of the second half as another fumble killed a promising drive that could've cut the Pine Creek lead to one score.

Pine Creek has won three of the last four 4A state championships and turning the ball over to team with that kind of a record can be a season killer.

"Yep," Rampart coach Rob Royer said. "Turnovers were extremely costly. We were doing what we wanted to. We came out, we ran the ball effectively. Give those kids credit, we came out, we had the emotion and they came back. They're a good football team."

Hill added rushing touchdown to go with his scoop and score and David Moore III added the exclamation point on the final Pine Creek drive of the game.

By the time the final horn sounded, the turf at District 20 was snow-covered and the temperature had become less than comfortable thanks in part to the wind.

"You couldn't do much in this," Miller said. "We were down hill which was good and now we have one more game."

Rampart Pine Creek football

(Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)