Mitchell High School's quarterback Thane Duzenack passes the ball during the Mitchell vs Palmer High School varsity football game at Garry Berry Stadium in Colorado Springs on Friday, August 31, 2018. (Photo by Kelsey Brunner/The Gazette)

Mitchell football ends skid

After more than one year, Mitchell finally got to run one of its favorite plays.

Victory formation.

The Marauders stopped Sierra on fourth down with less than one minute left Friday, preserving a 20-19 victory for the program’s first since Sept. 23, 2017, snapping an 11-game losing streak.

“We practice a lot of things and have 17 returning seniors who have battled with me for a few years now,” fourth-year Mitchell coach Corey Anderson said. “Still, it was exciting, and we had some guys who weren’t sure what to do in that situation. Hopefully, we can make this a habit moving forward.”

Suddenly, the Marauders find themselves in a first-place tie in the 3A Southern League standings, despite a 1-5 overall record after the league-opening victory.

Mitchell meets Falcon (1-5, 0-1) on Friday.

“We’re pleased with our effort and all that, but we still didn’t play a complete game,” Anderson said. “We can’t be satisfied, and I know the kids are hungry to improve. We’ve celebrated this one, but it’s time to go back to work.”

Jaylin Babers rushed for two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score just before halftime. Quarterback Thane Duzenack added another score on the ground for Mitchell, which rallied from an early 13-0 hole.

“In the other games, a lot was on us,” Anderson said. “We made a lot of mistakes and we were giving things away. We fought hard in this one, trying to figure out what it takes to win. We had good heart and good effort and didn’t make the critical mistakes. That was the big difference. It feels good to be on the other side.”

Undefeated, untied Atlas Prep faces test from CSCS

Quick, name the only 3A boys’ soccer team in Colorado without a loss or tie with two weeks left in the regular season.

Easy. It’s probably Kent Denver, Liberty Common or Colorado Academy, semifinalists from last year’s state playoffs. Nope.

Instead, look south to Atlas Prep, located in Harrison School District 2, which didn’t even have an athletics program until 2015-16.

Just in their third year, the 11-0-0 Gryphons have built on last year’s second-round playoff run and head into the homestretch with a critical home match Tuesday against Colorado Springs Christian School, which fell in last year’s 3A state semifinals.

“It’s definitely cool, but we don’t talk about it,” Atlas coach Teo Jackson said. “We’ve just trying to get better and get a good seed for the playoffs. We have four more tough games.”

Heading into Tuesday’s game, the Gryphons aren’t only undefeated and untied, but also hold the No. 1 spot in the RPI.

“We’ve never played CSCS, and they’re a great team with way more experience than us,” Jackson said. “It’ll be a good game. No matter the outcome, it’ll be a good experience for us.”

Softball committee to set regional pairings Monday

Suddenly, the softball regular season has come to an end. Now it’s time for the softball committee to set pairings for Saturday’s regional tournaments.

Monday’s meeting will seed teams and create the matchups for the 24-team 3A bracket and 32-team 4A and 5A fields.

Several Pikes Peak region teams will be in action Saturday, although none figure to host.

In 5A, Vista Ridge, which won the 5A/4A Pikes Peak Athletic Conference regular-season title, sits at No. 32 in the Ratings Percentage Index and hopes to get one of 18 at-large berths. Pine Creek and Rampart, which rank Nos. 34 and 36, respectively, in the RPI, earned the Colorado Springs Metro League’s two automatic qualifications.

In 4A, CSML champ Elizabeth (19) and Mesa Ridge (22) are automatic qualifiers, as are Cheyenne Mountain (25) and Discovery Canyon (26) from the PPAC. Widefield (29) has to wait.

St. Mary’s finished the regular season ranked No. 13 in the 3A RPIand should earn an at-large berth, even though only league champs and runners-up are guaranteed automatic berths.

State tennis gets underway Thursday

The top tennis players from Colorado will converge on Pueblo City Park (4A) and Gates Tennis Center in Denver (5A), starting Thursday, to see who’s the best in the sport’s three singles and four doubles positions, along with top team honors.

At both venues, first-round and quarterfinal matches will take place Thursday, with semifinals and playbacks happening Friday. State championships will be decided on Saturday morning.

5A will have local representation from Kyle Ma (Pine Creek, No. 2 singles) and Sean Bohuslavsky (Liberty, No. 3 singles).

4A is chock-full of area singles and doubles players, highlighted by Cheyenne Mountain, which won all seven titles at last week’s Region 6 tournament. In addition, Coronado and Palmer Ridge qualified for five positions apiece and Discovery Canyon did so in four. Also, Air Academy secured two positions for state, and Fountain Valley got one.

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