Rivalries, like sibling relationships, are unique and complicated. Sometimes, it’s a friendly competition; other times, the two sides are literally out for blood. The vibe between the Platte Canyon …
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Rivalries, like sibling relationships, are unique and complicated. Sometimes, it’s a friendly competition; other times, the two sides are literally out for blood.
The vibe between the Platte Canyon and Clear Creek football teams was more the former during Saturday’s game at Golddigger Stadium. While Platte Canyon ultimately left with a 22-0 victory, both coaches complimented the opposing team for playing well.
Rival players have known each other for years, they explained, noting how the Huskies and Golddiggers helped each other up and gave compliments throughout the game.
“It’s a healthy rivalry,” Platte Canyon coach Lance Gunkel said. “I’m proud of them for that.”
The Huskies’ supercharged running game put them up 6-0 midway through in the first quarter, thanks to a series of carries by Jake Romero and Greg Oramas. Romero also carried for a touchdown on the Huskies’ next possession. This time the two-point conversion was good, and Platte Canyon went up 14-0.
Mark Priegnitz, Clear Creek’s defensive coordinator was acting as interim coach for the Diggers. Principal Christopher Gould said he could not yet comment on why Head Coach Danion Baca was not on the sideline.
Throughout the game, Clear Creek had problems keeping the correct number of players on the field. At one point in the first half, the Golddiggers called a timeout because they only had 10 players and didn’t have enough time for the incoming 11th one to get set.
Shortly before halftime, Oramas carried for a touchdown, and another effective two-point conversion made it 22-0.
With time running out, Clear Creek lined up four receivers for an apparent Hail Mary play. However, running back Evan Brandt got the ball instead and carried it several yards before fumbling, which Clear Creek recovered. The horn sounded before Clear Creek’s offense could capitalize further.
The teams were almost evenly matched in the second half. Clear Creek’s defense kept Platte Canyon from converting several times on fourth down.
Meanwhile, the Huskies’ pass defense kept the Golddiggers’ Michael Hillman from connecting with his receivers, including a Platte Canyon interception in the third quarter.
Priegnitz described how Clear Creek’s possessions stalled at least three times because of dropped passes and other self-caused mistakes. Things like that can really mess with players’ heads, he commented, and wear them out mentally and physically.
“We really were in the game,” he continued, “even if the score doesn’t make it look like we were.”
While Platte Canyon’s running game was effective Saturday, Gunkel said there are still aspects that need to be cleaned up. Clear Creek played well and starting taking advantage of Platte Canyon’s weaknesses as the game went on, he stated.
“The guys did a good job plowing through adversity,” Gunkel said of his team. “We played tough teams early on, and that prepared us.”
With the Huskies now 4-3, Gunkel felt like the team’s hitting its stride before a tough home game against Bennett. The Oct. 23 outing will be the Huskies’ final home game this season.
Meanwhile, the 1-5 Golddiggers are preparing for an Oct. 23 away game against Manual. Priegnitz described the Thunderbolts as fast and physical players, and the team overall as an “offensive juggernaut.”
Clear Creek will host its senior night against Jefferson at 7 p.m. on Oct. 29.
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