Merino put an end to the longest active football winning streak in the state when the Rams upset No. 1 Sedgwick County 27-24 in an 8-man game on Friday night.
The win ended Sedgwick County's winning streak at 30 games, handing the Cougars their first loss since 2016. It was also Sedgwick County's first in-state loss since 2014, a span of 39 games.
"To be honest with you, it's all still kind of a blur, but our defensive performance tonight was excellent," coach Dan Sutter told the Colorado Preps Scoreboard Show. "We had a lot of kids step up."
Sedgwick County (7-1) led the game 14-0, but Merino (5-4) rallied to tie the game at halftime.
"I think our boys were maybe a little juiced at the beginning, and just maybe wanted to make a play that wasn't there to make early on," Sutter said. "So we gave up a couple of early quick scores, but then we settled in. ... We took our time trying to chisel our way back into it."
Senior Matthew Frank had a pick-six that Sutter called the turning point for Merino.
"It just changed the complexion of the game," Sutter said.
Merino also had a goal-line stop on the 1-yard-line late in the game.
"It was great," Sutter said. "I can't remember exactly every play on the stand, but I guarantee I'm going to go back and look at it tonight before I can sleep."
6-man: (2) Kit Carson 28, (1) Stratton/Liberty 22
Kit Carson rallied with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to secure the important win.
"It was a wild one," Kit Carson coach Curt Connelley told the Scoreboard Show.
The final touchdown came with three minutes to play, and had to make a fourth-down stop to hold Stratton/Liberty.
"We were up with three minutes, and we had to make a stop there, and we got it done," Connelley said.
5A: (5) Grandview 28, (2) Cherry Creek 21 (2 OT)
Grandview rallied from being down 14-0 in the first half to tie the game at 14, with the second touchdown coming with just over three minutes to play.
After trading quick touchdowns in the first OT, Grandview won the game in the second overtime by stopping Cherry Creek on its possession.
"The defense kept us in it," Grandview coach John Schultz told the Scoreboard Show.
Grandview had four touchdown passes in the win.
Schultz pointed to his team's experience in close games this season as one reason for the win.
"The kids were down on themselves and upset about their mistakes, but they never lost their cool, and they just kept battling, and the defense stood strong while we got ourselves together," Schultz said.
5A: (10) Smoky Hill 35, Westminster 28
Smoky Hill is 10-0 for the first time since 1980, and has secured a spot in the 5A playoffs by winning the Metro 10 League.
In a game that decided the league title, the two teams were tied at 7 early, and then at 14 at halftime. But Smoky Hill grabbed the lead for good with a 56-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, and then held off Westminster in the fourth quarter.
- No. 8 Ralston Valley closed the regular season by beating No. 6 Pomona in 5A.
- No. 6 Colorado Springs Christian clinched a league title by topping No. 5 Florence in 1A.
- An updated top-10 football scoreboard after Friday's games, and Saturday's top-10 schedule.
- All scores from Friday, and Saturday's full slate.