Pine Creek's physical play too much for Montrose
DENVER — Football is about being physical.
Saturday’s Class 4A state championship game was a matchup between two physical teams that like to run the ball.
Pine Creek High School won the physical battle and dominated the run game to beat Montrose 49-14.
The Indians came in averaging 344 yards a game on the ground, but Pine Creek ground that attack to a halt at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The Indians have pounded teams with a 1-2-3 and sometimes-4 punch all season. During the season, four different Montrose runners have rushed for more than 100 yards in a game.
There’s not a lot of finesse to the Montrose game.
Pine Creek dominated, limiting the Indians to 171 yards rushing.
Junior Mike Rocha led the Indians with 84 yards on 21 carries. Senior Angelo Youngren had 64 yards in his final game for Montrose. It was the first game this season no Montrose runner cracked the century mark.
The turning point may have come in the second quarter when Montrose trailed 14-7 but was driving. Quarterback Kameron DeVincentis threw an interception in the end zone to throw up a road block to the drive.
But the bigger factor was the physical drive after the pick that Pine Creek put together to hammer home its third TD. The 12-play, 93-yard drive was all runs and it was obvious that the Indians were in trouble handling the physical play of the Eagles, who ended with 401 yards rushing.
“I thought we had a chance to tie the game and we didn’t do that, and we didn’t get enough stops on defense,” said Montrose coach Todd Casebier. “We didn’t play good enough defense or offense and they beat us soundly.”
Youngren, who scored both Montrose TDs, was pounded virtually every time he touched the ball. His longest run was 11 yards.
“This was the most physical game I’ve played in my career. They hit us,” he said. “They had a good game plan for us and we just played our hearts out.”
The Eagles stuffed the inside runs of Rocha and bottled up Youngren when he tried to get to the outside.
Youngren’s biggest play came on a 57-yard scoring pass from DeVincentis to cut the lead to 42-14 in the third.
Casebier, who led Palisade to a state title in 2003, gave credit to Pine Creek’s physical and dominating play.
“I’m obviously disappointed with the way we played today but give Pine Creek a ton of credit, they did everything better than we did,” he said.
As far as time of possession and number of plays, the teams were nearly identical. Montrose ran 57 plays, holding the ball for 30 minutes, 11 seconds. Pine Creek had the ball for 32:49 and ran 58 plays.
But Pine Creek was able to dominate the line of scrimmage and turned the game into a rout to open the third when it scored with its first two offensive plays on scoring runs of 59 and 45.
Just like it was anticipated, the Class 4A title came down to the running game and Pine Creek was successful both running it and stopping it.
Valor Christian’s Christian McCaffery had 129 rushing and two touchdowns, and added five catches for 92 yards and two more TDs as the Eagles routed Fairview 56-16 to win their fifth straight state title.
Quarterback Joah Smith capped Coronado’s improbable comeback from a 17-0 first-half deficit with an 11-yard touchdown run around the right corner with just over four minutes remaining, vaulting the Cougars to their first state title with a 28-24 win over defending state champion Silver Creek.