COLORADO SPRINGS — So Pine Creek finally got see what it was like on the other side. After two years atop Class 4A football, the Eagles found themselves lined up against what they used to be.
And they gave the champs their best shot as the Eagles came away with a 19-7 win over Windsor, declaring that their days as a top team in the class are far from over.
"Being on the other side of it is definitely different," cornerback Collin Willis said. "It's more rewarding and more of a challenge when we have to face champions and be the one to bring down a giant."
And now that they've done that, the CHSAANow.com No. 7-ranked Eagles (1-1 overall) are ready to get back to being the hunted rather than the hunters.
After surrendering over 400 yards of offense in a 50-39 loss to Chatfield a week ago, Pine Creek knew that the effort on defense was going to have to be a lot better this week.
After surrendering a 17-play, 88-yard scoring drive to the Wizards (1-1) in the first quarter, they were able to prevent the defending state champions from reaching the end zone for the rest of the game.
"They were flying specifically backside (after the touchdown)," Windsor coach Skylar Brower said. "They were doing a great job of pursuing the football and we weren't getting our backside blocks."
The Eagles themselves were struggling to move the ball offensively and were sparked with a 39-yard run from David Moore that got them to the Wizards' 24-yard line. Five plays later, Moore punched it in for the game-tying touchdown.
Neither team was able to put any points up in the third quarter, giving the feeling that schoolyard rules would apply at some point. Very simply, next score wins.
And Pine Creek quarterback Brock Domann was happy to accept that challenge as he spotted one-on-one coverage on the outside. He delivered a gorgeous pass to the back shoulder of Peter Isais who hauled it in for the touchdown.
"I knew Peter Isais would make a play," Domann said. "He's my best receiver and he's amazing. He makes plays when he needs to."
And that would be more than enough for the Eagles. They would add a late touchdown from Thomas Dantzier, but it was the defensive effort that carried them the rest of the way.
The Wizards totaled 113 yards of offense. Caleb Bangs led the ground effort with 38 yards. Quarterback Connor Apodaca was limited to seven completions on 14 attempts for 47 yards.
Domann finished with 89 passing yards, including the touchdown to Isais. He added 88 yards on the ground while Moore nearly matched it with 83.
The result was not an ideal outcome for the Wizards, but if anything Brower can use it as a reminder that winning championships does not come easily.
"Nothing is given to us," he said. "You can't control what life throws at you, but you can 100 percent control how you respond and how you react."
It was a much-needed win for the Eagles who came away from last week's loss visibly frustrated and determined to right their ship.
"It was a hard week," coach Todd Miller said. "We challenged (our players) and it was hard for all of us. What we saw the week before was really out of character."
The Eagles will stay in the Colorado Springs area next week and travel to Fountain-Fort Carson. But they know one win does not mean all is well and that in order to regain their spot at the top, they have to continue to work.
"Losing to Chatfield was not a good experience," Willis said. "It left a sour taste in our mouth and we never want that feeling again."