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Manitou beats St. Mary's 28-20 to stay unbeaten
Manitou Springs captains KC Quarry and Cole Jones talked to the Mustangs in pregame about playing with passion and heart Friday night at Don & Jan Nutter Field at Grace Center.
After holding off a ferocious Logan Elliott-led St. Mary’s comeback with a goal line stand in the final minute that passion and heart erupted from the undefeated Mustangs (4-0) in a 28-20 victory in the first Pikes Peak Showdown between these 2A Tri-Peaks rivals, who have been playing each other since 1955.
“Man, being 4-0 is something special,” Quarry said as he fought off tears after the game. “We got whooped up last year being 1-9 and everything.”
Manitou Springs coach Danny Gieck was just as emotional after his team held on after Elliott’s intended pass to Kyle Gaines fell incomplete on fourth-and-goal from the 4-yard line with 36 seconds remaining. Two plays earlier, Jones snuffed out an Elliott keeper around the left side for a loss of 3.
“These kids have heart,” Gieck said. “That’s what the captains talked, and that we need to play with that.”
Gieck told his team, as they hoisted the Pikes Peak Showdown trophy helmet, that he was proud of how they responded after getting kicked in the teeth by the Pirates at the end of the first half.
“The kids have approached each week one game at a time,” Gieck said. “We have to win every game, and we can’t look forward.”
Elliott was the main culprit for the Mustang woes as he completed 4-of-5 passes for 71 yards to end the first half on a drive that started with 54 seconds remaining, highlighted by a 10-yard score to Ben Cipoletti that cut the Manitou Springs lead to 14-13.
The senior quarterback did all he could in trying to lead the Pirates back finishing with two touchdowns for the second straight week and leading St. Mary’s on a 10-play, 70-yard scoring drive capped off by Ben Breier’s 5-yard touchdown run that cut the deficit to 28-20.
Gaines had more than 100 yards receiving, including an 80-yard score.
“Elliott struggled through a lot being an emotional leader for our team, and I am very proud of how Logan played tonight,” St. Mary’s coach Nic Olney said. “He led this team and made some absolutely great plays on both sides of the ball.
“I’m proud of him and the rest of our team. We played a heck of a football game.”
Yet a controversial call on an Elliott fumble late in the third quarter was too much for St. Mary’s to overcome. The quarterback dropped back to pass with 1:39 to go in the third and had the football knocked loose as he attempted to pass.
Manitou Springs senior Dakota Moore pounced on the ball and hustled his way for a 39-yard touchdown, giving the Mustangs a 28-13 lead after Ashley Benson made her fourth PAT of the night.