COLORADO SPRINGS — Three times, Pueblo East had gone through Discovery Canyon in the Class 3A football playoffs.
Twice, those victories were en route to a 3A football championship.
And the streak lives on.
The Eagles scored 28 points in the second half and won a convincing third-straight championship, beating the Thunder 35-6 at District 20 Stadium on Saturday.
“At the end of the day, we just came out and executed our game plan,” East coach Andy Watts said. “Hats off to our defense for holding them to six points.”
The Thunder (12-1 overall) jumped out to a 6-0 lead thanks to a 24-yard run from Josh Tomjack. Early on it looked like it had the makings of a game similar to the 41-26 win that Discovery Canyon had over the Eagles in Week 3.
But the Eagles (12-1) responded with an 80-yard touchdown drive that was capped off with a three-yard touchdown run from Bryson Torres, one of two he had on the day.
On the first drive of the second half, the Eagles defense would spark and it started by matching Discovery Canyon’s scoring output on the day.
A Kain Medrano fumble recovery was good for Pueblo East’s second touchdown from the game and the Eagles never looked back.
“We had all the excitement in the world,” Medrano said. “I just saw the ball on the ground and saw an opportunity to scoop and score and I went to the house.”
The lead got pushed to 21-6 when sophomore quarterback Luc Andrada hit Tory Koshak on a 28-yard touchdown pass.
By that time, the Eagles were rolling and they weren’t going to be stopped.
“We knew they were going to play hard and it was going to be a stalemate at first,” Torres said. “We just broke through and things were going to go our way.”
Torres finished with 124 yards on 31 carries for Pueblo East, but it was the defense that was able to limit the Thunder’s triple-option attack.
“Whatever they were doing to us defensively, we just didn’t have an answer for it,” Thunder coach Shawn Mitchell said. “In the second quarter and through all the second half, we thought we could loosen them up by throwing the ball a little bit, we thought we could adjust our blocking scheme but we just didn’t have an answer today.”
Andrada added a rushing touchdown to push the final to 35-6, a welcome sight to the masses of Pueblo East fans that had spilled into overflow seating.
Not only is it the third championship in as many years for the Eagles, but they have done so with three different coaches.
Watts took the reins this year after Lee Meisner won with the Eagles in 2015 as an interim coach. He knew that with three coaches and after losing a talented senior class that eyeballs would be squarely on him to make sure the Eagles remained contenders.
And he never dodged that challenge.
“We knew there would be pressure on us as a whole,” he said. “One of our coaches always says pressure can either burst pipes or it can make diamonds. Fortunately for us, we were able to make some diamonds today.”
And of course, seize some gold in the process. For the seniors on this team, it completes an incredible run and cements a dynasty for the school.
“It’s great,” Torres said. “Especially for this senior class. It’s just a reflection of how great this class is.”