Mile High disappointment
Montrose falls to Pine Creek in Class 4A state title game
DENVER — Montrose High School runs the football. Everybody who follows Class 4A football knows this.
But back-to-back pass completions Saturday, including a 31-yard floater from Kameron DeVincentis to Peter Shearer, momentarily stunned Pine Creek in the Class 4A state championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
An errant throw to a wide-open Irah Wooten, though, led to an interception in the end zone with six minutes left in the first half.
Pine Creek seized the momentum with a 93-yard scoring drive on the way to the Eagles’ 49-14 title-winning victory.
It was the third pass that ultimately doomed Montrose.
Using a spread formation, the typically run-oriented Indians drove into the red zone primarily through the air.
But after the interception, Pine Creek erupted for 21 points in the third quarter and held the Indians to one score in the second half.
Montrose coach Todd Casebier pointed to the interception and an onside kick near the end of the first half, when illegal touching was called, as two turning points during the game.
Add in a botched snap on a punt to the two interceptions during the first half, and it was clear that turnovers and missed opportunities sank the Indians.
“I thought we had a chance to tie the game and we didn’t do that,” Casebier said. “We didn’t get enough stops on defense.
“I thought that pick before the half hurt us and I thought we had that onside kick but we didn’t get that call, either. We need to play better, that’s really what it comes down to. They coached better and they played better.”
For Pine Creek, the rushing attack flourished behind dominant line play. Austin Schultz had 178 yards on 20 carries and scored three times to pace an Eagles’ rushing attack that ran for 401 yards.
Lavanson Coffey, Matt List and Scott Savage each added rushing touchdowns, including Savage’s 59-yard score on a reverse.
As the Eagles’ offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, so did the defensive line.
Angelo Youngren and Mike Rocha, who led the rushing attack that carried Montrose to the championship game, were held in check.
Neither back averaged more than four yards per carry, and for the first time this season, the Indians didn’t have a 100-yard rusher.
It was also the first time Montrose was held under 200 yards rushing as a team, finishing with 171.
“They just did a better job up front, really, on both sides of the ball,” Casebier said. “We didn’t do any of the things you need to beat a team like that but give them credit. We didn’t play well but they’re one of the reasons we didn’t play well. It was their day and they deserve the credit.”
Youngren finished with 64 yards rushing on 19 carries and scored on a 2-yard run. He also caught a 57-yard touchdown pass from DeVincentis.
Rocha had the bulk of the touches for the Indians, carrying the ball 21 times for 84 yards.
“It was frustrating,” Rocha said. “I think we could have played better but they were definitely sound (on defense).”
Pine Creek ran 58 plays and threw only six times, completing two passes. The majority of the Eagles’ offense was created on counter plays and reverses.
Pine Creek coach Todd Miller credited the offensive line for the explosive rushing attack.
He also said he wanted to make sure he was respectful of Montrose as the score became more lopsided, something he said stemmed from Valor Christian shellacking Pine Creek 66-10 in the 2010 Class 4A championship.
“As a coach, and as a man, I guess you really want to treat people the way you want to be treated,” Miller said. “I guess that’s the feeling I have and that’s the strong emotion that really goes into me.
“The way (the Colorado High School Activities Association) is set up and the way we’re set up is about sportsmanship and you honor the game by honoring your opponent.
“So that’s what we tried to do. At the end of the game we cleared out our bench and every kid got a chance to play. Montrose deserves that.”
Casebier said it’s hard to be reflective in the aftermath of the loss.
“It’s pretty hard right now to talk about the season,” Casebier said. “We had a great season but we’re disappointed with how we played today. We’ll have time to reflect later.
“Right now I have to go kiss, not kiss, but hug my seniors goodbye. It’s tough because they got us here. I’m proud of them. They’re a good group of kids and they did something great.”
Notes: The state championship game put DeVincentis over 1,000 yards passing on the season. The junior finished with 14 touchdowns and only four interceptions. ... Youngren eclipsed 4,000 career yards rushing during his final game with Montrose. ... This is the fifth straight loss for Montrose in state championship games.