Witnessing fire galvanized Pine Creek football team
The Pine Creek High School football team witnessed first-hand last summer the effect forest fires that ravaged the Colorado Springs area had on its community.
“That was our attendance area,” Pine Creek coach Todd Miller said. “Some of them saw their houses burn down and some of them saw their neighbor’s house burn down.”
A hot shot fire crew was based at Pine Creek High School for two weeks, limiting the team’s use of school facilities.
Miller said his team grew up this season, partly because of what Colorado Springs endured last summer.
He also said the community is behind the Eagles more than it was before. Pine Creek (11-2) plays Montrose (12-1) at 11 a.m. Saturday for the Class 4A state championship at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
“They like supporting us this year,” Miller said. “Last year they weren’t as keen and we weren’t getting calls from people (media, fans) from all over when we were 5-5. But now that I’ve gotten older I’ve realized when you win they’re behind you and when you lose they’re going to be on you.
“But I’ll tell you, this year they did a great job getting behind this group of kids and we’ve really felt the community’s support after everything that’s happened out here.”
Miller said some of his players have matured since the fires that tore through the area, something that helped his young defense.
“We’re very young on defense but I’ve felt like these guys have grown up,” Miller said. “Against Pueblo West in the playoffs we had five sophomores in on defense and in general had a lot of young guys really stepping up for us. We’re undersized and we run around like our hair is on fire and we tackle. We do that pretty well.
“It’s similar to Montrose. They play with guts and they play hard and they’ve seen some athletes (against) Grand Junction and Monarch. I feel like our defense has grown, but we’re not giving (the Indians) something they haven’t seen before.”