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Pine Creek has one too many fumbles in 13-11 loss to Lakewood
Tigers were 5A state runner-up in 2011
The final fumble was just one too many.
Lakewood converted a fumbled punt into a field goal with 1:14 remaining to beat Pine Creek 13-11 Saturday evening at District 20 Stadium.
The miscue by punt returner Dalton Coker was just one of six put on the ground by the Eagles, four of which they lost.
“Sometimes it just boils down to want-to — I want the ball more than you,” Pine Creek coach Todd Miller said. “A couple of those we got ripped out, a couple were miscues, a couple were just kids making football plays on the other side.”
What made it even more discouraging was that Pine Creek had just put together its one solid sustained drive of the evening to take an 11-10 lead. The Eagles’ defense had just forced its third three-and-out in as many drives, taking over on their 22-yard line after a punt. Sixteen plays and 8:04 later, Max Roberson caught a 5-yard swing pass from Kamden Atkins for the score.
The Pine Creek defense again held, forcing the punt that would have given them the ball with the lead and just over 5 minutes remaining. Instead, the fumble gave Lakewood got the ball back on the Pine Creek 36. Anass Moumen connected on the 38-yard field goal, leaving the Eagles just 1:08 on the clock at their own 20.
An interception with 12.7 seconds remaining clinched it for Lakewood.
Along with the fumbles, Pine Creek stymied drive after drive with penalties. The Eagles were flagged 13 times for 90 yards.
“We just had too many mistakes; I don’t know if you can go a lot deeper than that,” said Miller, whose team fumbled nine times a week ago in a loss to Fountain-Fort Carson. “Until we become a disciplined club, we’re not going to be a very good team.”
The Pine Creek defense, on the other hand, was outstanding. It held the defending Class 5A state runners-up to 33 yards rushing on 40 attempts and 52 yards passing.
Lakewood got 52 of its yards on its first drive, ending with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Connor Leedholm to James Riddle.
From that point, though, things began to unravel for both teams. Lakewood surrendered two safeties in the second quarter, both on errant snaps. On a second and 13, Leedholm was in the shotgun when the snap went high and wide. Leedholm got a hand on it but only managed to deflect it even farther backward. Taz Arguello caught the fluttering ball in the end zone but couldn’t escape Pine Creek’s Cameron Beemster, who tackled him in the end zone.
Late in the half, another shotgun snap from the Lakewood 5 skidded through the end zone.
Pine Creek, meanwhile, fumbled five times in the half, losing three. One of those came at the Eagles’ 10-yard line and led to a Lakewood field goal. The Tigers went into the intermission leading 10-4.
“We’ll see what we’re really made of right now because this is two hard losses for the staff and for the players and for the community,” Miller said. “Until some of those things change, we’re going to have a hard time. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and go back to work on Monday.
“You never give up — keep fighting.”