FREDERICK — Knowing they would be playing for a championship in their home town, the Pueblo South football team was determined to win one more game and not waste that uncommon opportunity.
Even when the situation looked bleak in the final minutes of Saturday’s semifinal game against Frederick, the Colts never lost sight of that goal. Down three on the road with just under three and a half minutes remaining in the game, Pueblo South drove down the field and scored on a touchdown pass from Logan Petit to Jackson Dickerson and clinched a 28-24 victory.
The Colts, who won the 4A title in 2017, will face the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal in the Class 3A state championship game at CSU-Pueblo next Saturday.
“It was a 48-minute battle and we knew that it would be from the beginning,” Petit said. “Just because Frederick is the lower seed didn’t mean they weren’t going to come out and play. They were great and we had to answer back a few times. Being the first time from South to play, and maybe win, a state championship in Pueblo is surreal.”
Seeded No. 2 overall, the South Colts (12-1) trailed 17-14 at halftime in a game that featured six lead changes. No. 6 Frederick also lead 24-21 when the Colts offense took over deep in its own territory with 3 minutes, 24 seconds left in the game.
Pueblo South drove down the field quickly and on fourth down, forewent a potential game-tying field goal attempt and instead won the game on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Petit to Dickerson with 15.7 seconds remaining.
“We like our offense on the field and we wanted to go for a win,” Colts head coach Ryan Goddard said. “They’re a tough offense to stop in a 10-yard gain so we wanted to give ourselves a chance to go for a win and we were OK either way.”
Petit exited the Final Four having completed 14 of 17 pass attempts for 252 yards, one interception and three touchdowns. The game-winner was the third scoring pass of the game from Petit to Dickerson, who finished with 141 receiving yards and several highlight-reel catches.
“Just giving him the chance and letting him go get it was our game plan,” Petit said. “We knew they were going to cover us well so I just wanted to give him the ball with a chance to catch and run and that’s what we did on the final drive. He executed.”
In a contest between two of the top rushing teams in the state, Pueblo South’s George Longoria rushed for 71 yards on 20 attempts. Frederick quarterback Jake Green led all players with 82 rushing yards and a pair of first-half scores that, combined with a 25-yard Luke Dunker field goal, contributed to the Warriors’ halftime advantage.
Frederick’s Brandon Hornby rushed for 75 yards on 16 carries and caught three passes from Green for 55 yards. Dominik Schleif scored Frederick’s other touchdown, a 5-yard run that gave the Warriors a 24-21 lead with 9:40 left in the fourth quarter.
While the Colts will play for a chance to win their second state title in three years, Frederick came within a few points of making the program’s first-ever state championship game appearance. Saturday’s game also marked the team’s first trip to the Final Four since 2011.
“It was just special getting to spend this season with everybody I grew up with,” Green said. “No one expected us to make it this far so it was a good feeling knowing that we did and that we could have been the first team ever to do it. It was just a great feeling while it lasted.”
The Warriors finished the season with the best overall record in their program's history.