COLORADO SPRINGS — Is there anything that can stand in the way of Pine Creek repeating as Class 4A state football champions? Some could've argued that the Vista Ridge Wolves could have been a tough hurdle for the Eagles to jump over, but the 41-7 score Friday night at Vista Ridge High School indicated otherwise.
The top-ranked Eagles (5-0 overall) remain undefeated and the clear favorites to end the season as state champions after the drubbing of the No. 5 Wolves (4-1).
"We had three starters out on offense, our quarterback was out and they rallied behind it," Eagles coach Todd Miller said. "That was just hard-nosed football."
After forcing the Wolves' offense off the field after only three plays, Brock Domann — the younger brother of running back JoJo Domann — took the field, under center for the injured Tommy Lazzaro.
If the sophomore was holding any fear, he didn't show it. On his first drive, he connected with his older brother JoJo on a pass that put the Eagles down on the Wolves one-yard line where senior Josh Odom punched the ball in to give the Eagles a quick 7-0 lead.
The Wolves offense stalled once again on their second drive of the game, putting the ball back into the hands of the sophomore signal-caller. A combination of Odom and Avery Anderson helped drive the ball down to the Wolves' 12-yard line where Brock once again found his brother through the air, this time for the touchdown, the first of the three Domann threw on the night.
"We've been playing in the back yard for a long time so it was nice to get my first varsity touchdown to my brother," Brock said. "It was great to have the lead and we just need to keep working, keep on pushing and never be satisfied."
Suddenly the No. 5 ranked Wolves were in serious trouble. Desperately need to gain some traction on offense, the Wolves continued to try and get running back Eric Stowers involved, through both runs and screen passes.
But the Eagles' defense refused to yield any ground to the home team. On its first three possessions, Vista Ridge was forced to punt the ball three times, which is not an ideal approach when facing the state's top-ranked team.
"The thing with football is on any given night, anything can happen," Vista Ridge coach Jerimi Calip said. "Right now they're playing some good football and they hit us in the mouth tonight."
The Eagles continued to keep their offense in gear, and took a 21-0 lead after running back Avery Anderson broke free for a 39-yard touchdown run. It appeared Anderson had been stopped for a short gain, but emerged from the pile and distanced himself from the defenders.
The Wolves finally put points on the board on their fourth drive of the game. A pass interference call gave them ball inside the red zone for the first time on the night. Facing 4th and 6, quarterback Elway Tubbs lived up to his namesake, firing a ball into Breon Michel to convert and keep the Wolves' chances for a touchdown alive. Stowers would convert two plays later to put Vista Ridge on the board, but still trailing 21-7.
But the Eagles would get those seven points back as tackling issues continued to plague the Wolves. Odom found the endzone for the second time on a 30-yard run, giving Vista Ridge a 28-7 halftime lead.
And the momentum sustained through any halftime adjustments that were made. A long run by Anderson set up a Domann touchdown pass to junior Joseph Celestino to increase the Eagles' lead to 35-7.
"We felt that (this season) we have put together halves," Miller said. "We wanted to come out and establish ourselves and I thought we did a nice job of being really simple, executing what we could do and hitting that wheel in the endzone for a touchdown."
The Eagles would tack on two more field goals to bring the final score to 41-7, completing a statement game for the rest of the 4A class. Starting next week, the Eagles will dive into their league schedule when they face-off against the high powered offense of Air Academy.
The Wolves also begin league play next week, but still face tough competition in No. 3 Montrose.
"You have to learn how to lose too," Calip said. "Take a shot in the chin and see what you've got the next week. You've got Montrose coming to the house next week and we'll see if we know how to bounce back from adversity."