Saturday’s Class 4A state title at Sports Authority Field pits the veteran against the newcomer.
Pine Creek is making its fifth title appearance in the last seven seasons, having won in 2013, 2014 and 2016, while Pueblo South is making its first championship showing in the program’s 59-year history.
For the top-ranked Eagles, coach Todd Miller says continued success comes down to a selfless culture amongst the players.
“We put the team first, not individual accolades or who’s scoring touchdowns,” Miller said. “It’s 70 dudes, working together from January on to hopefully get to play on the last day of the year. Our guys have embraced that, and J.C. Coulter is the epitome of that — he waited four years to play quarterback in a system behind guys that were pretty good.”
Coulter and wideout Wyatt Wieland provide the bulk of the leadership for a Pine Creek offense sparked by one of the top backs in the state, David Moore III (1,787 yards and 22 touchdowns), who is one of ten impact sophomores for the Eagles.
But Pueblo South, too, has weapons galore to test the stiffness of an Eagles defense that has yielded just one touchdown in three postseason games.
“Since Valor (in 2011), we’ve never seen an offense this good,” Miller said. “That’s something to be said, because we’ve come across some pretty good teams. So our defense has something to be excited about, because it’s going to test their irons as much as they’ve ever been tested.”
Colts senior quarterback Zach Cozzolino (3,147 yards, 46 touchdowns) and senior running back Steve Brock (1,724 yards, 14 touchdowns) headline a multi-faceted attack that’s averaged a classification-best 42.5 points per game.
But it was a total team grittiness that allowed Pueblo South to finally get over the semifinal hump — where the team had lost three times and twice by one point — as the Colts’ secondary batted down a last-second Hail Mary pass to defeat Broomfield 21-14 last weekend.
“They’re full of guts, full of heart, full of determination,” said coach Ryan Goddard, a Pueblo South graduate. “Those things have set us apart, at times.”
2017 CHSAA 4A state title
When: Saturday, 11 a.m.
Where: Sports Authority Field
Listen live: Post Preps Radio
Matchup: No. 1 Pine Creek vs. No. 6 Pueblo South
Records: Eagles 12-1, Colts 12-1
Pine Creek Keys: Sr. QB J.C. Coulter, Sr. WR/DB Wyatt Wieland, Soph. RB David Moore III, Sr. CB Xavier Hill, Jr. MLB Sam Miller, Soph. MLB Rece Rowan, Sr. DE Isaak Rolfe, Soph. ATH Eddie Kyle
Pueblo South Keys: Sr. RB Steve Brock, Sr. QB Zach Cozzolino, Sr. WR Marcell Barbee, Sr. SB Thomas Pannunzio, Sr. TE/DE Jeremy Cody, Sr. T Dom DeAngelo, Sr. C Phillip Flores, Jr. T Brendon Barela
Tickets: CHSAA State Football Championship
Who do you think will win the #copreps 4A football state title?
— Denver Post Preps (@postpreps) November 29, 2017