The Class 2A Season C football championship game is set as Manitou Springs and Flatirons Academy won their respective semifinal games and remain alive for next week.
Flatirons Academy was dominant while the Mustangs came away with a thrilling win that involved heroics in the last couple of minutes of play. The Mustangs and the Bison will play at the CSU-Pueblo Thunderbowl next Friday at 2 p.m.
(4) Manitou Springs 20, (1) Buena Vista 17
BUENA VISTA — With about two minutes left on the clock, Manitou Springs needed a big play. So quarterback Caleb Allen decided to go to the biggest guy. Allen sold a pump fake on a screen pass then watched as Joah Armour raced up the sideline. Allen's throw was right on the money and Armour hauled it in, then pulled away from the defenders pursuing him.
His touchdown gave the Mustangs (6-1 overall) a 20-17 and their first chance at a football title since 1990.
"(Offensive coordinator) Coach (Brandon) DeMatto told me at halftime that I was having a terrible night, straight up," Armour said. "He said I was going to come out crazy in the second half and with Caleb throwing the ball, it's hard not to catch it."
Allen and Armour connected on two touchdown passes on the night. Haden Camp got Buena Vista on the board first with a touchdown run in the second quarter. A long score from Isaiah Thomas got called back as the Mustangs were flagged for an illegal block in the back.
The next play, Allen found Armour on a slant and the Mustangs were on the board, but still trailing 7-6 after a failed 2-point conversion.
The Demons (6-1) added a field goal to increase the lead, but the Mustangs got their first lead of the game in the fourth quarter on a two-yard touchdown run from Thomas. Buena Vista scored quickly and took advantage of mental mistake from the Mustangs and recovered the ensuing kickoff.
The Mustangs escaped trouble as Buena Vista couldn't run the rest of the clock off and missed its field goal attempt. And that's when Allen found Armour for an 80-yard strike, a big play that both players badly wanted.
"It wasn't just that I wanted it," Allen said. "We needed it to get that momentum and to get more points on the board."
The Demons had one last chance to drive down and either tie the game or take the lead, but a desperation pass was intercepted by Tate Christian to seal the game for Manitou.
The Mustangs head to the championship game on a six-game winning streak. They fell to Buena Vista in Week 1 but avenged that loss with a thrilling semifinal win.
(2) Flatirons Academy 41, (3) Estes Park 6
Flatirons Academy remains undefeated on the year after beating Estes Park 41-6 to advance to the 2A title game.
The two teams had met in Week 1 of Season C and the Bison won the game by just a point. Friday night, they were more polished and gained a fast edge and held on to it.
This was the first game that Flatirons Academy had played since April 17 after they were on the receiving end of forfeits from Ellicott and St. Mary's.