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Cheyenne Mountain comes from behind against Widefield, bolsters playoff chances
The weather might have been freezing Friday night, but Cheyenne Mountain’s playoff chances just got a whole lot warmer.
For the second week in a row, the Indians roared back from a halftime deficit to capture a huge victory – this time a 32-14 triumph at Widefield.
Coming into the game, Cheyenne Mountain (6-3, 4-2 4A Foothills) was 13thin the 4A wild card football rankings (the top 16 advance). A loss to the Gladiators (3-6, 3-3) would’ve been devastating. At halftime it looked like a real possibility.
“I guess we should just spot the other team 14 to start the game," Cheyenne Mountain coach Brian Sherman said. "Or I need to work on my pregame speech, because my halftime speech must be OK.”
Whatever Sherman told his squad when it was trailing 14-6 at the half worked.
On the second play of the third quarter, running back Ryan McMahon broke a 65-yard touchdown run to cut the score to 14-12.
The Indians were just getting started.
“We came out a little soft in the first half but we picked up the intensity in the second half,” said McMahon, who finished with 190 yards of offense and three touchdowns. “In the second half our linemen opened up big holes for us and we pretty much walked through them.”
The Indians had two running backs break the century mark for rushing yards Friday night. James Michael Sullivan totaled 137 yards – 33 of which came on a scoring run that gave Cheyenne Mountain its first lead of the game at 18-14 in the third quarter.
“We got fired up in the locker room at halftime and came out more physically and mentally prepared in the second half,” Sullivan said. “We were a little antsy in the first half, because we knew if we lost this game the playoffs would probably be out.”
The whole comeback thing isn’t new for Sullivan and company. They fell behind Canon City 14-0 last week before erupting for 31 second-half points. This time it was 26 points – and it was equally important. A win at 1-7 Pueblo South next week would all but assure a spot in the state bracket.
“This was huge, but I think we’ve got to win next week just to be sure,” Sherman said. “I think we played a pretty decent schedule and 7-3 should get us in.”
For Widefield, the loss was a case of self-inflicted wounds. The Gladiators turned the ball over on three straight offensive plays at one point in the disastrous third quarter.
“We definitely killed ourselves tonight,” said Widefield quarterback Mario Sanabria, who had two interceptions and a lost fumble. “They were more consistent than we were and it’s hard to get back in the game when you shoot yourself in the foot.”