LONGMONT--Only the two-time defending champs were able to hold off the hottest underdog team in Colorado's high school football playoff field.
After pulling off back-to-back upsets in the first two weeks, No. 11 Mead finally saw its dream playoff run come to a close when the Mavericks fell in a close one to No. 2 Pueblo East on Saturday, losing by a score of 28-21.
With the victory, the Eagles will try for a 3-peat in class 3A when they take on Discovery Canyon in the state championship game next weekend.
After trailing 21-7 in the second half, it looked like the Mavericks were going to pull out another thrilling fourth quarter victory like they had done the week before in the quarterfinals.
Down by a touchdown with just six minutes to go, Mead wasted no time tying things up in front of its home crowd when Quarterback Riley Glynn connected with Dom Esters for a 75-yard touchdown to make it 21-21.
However, the defending champs proved to be too much, particularly with their ground game.
Pueblo East Running Back Bryson Torres was running over defenders all day, rushing for a staggering 185 yards on 39 carries and one touchdown.
And, Quarterback Luc Andrada wasn't easy to stop either.
Andrada had three rushing touchdowns on the day, including the go-ahead score with under two minutes remaining to give the Eagles the lead back for good.
Mead's electric offense was supposed to have one more chance to tie the game, before special teams craziness happened.
On the ensuing kickoff after the go-ahead touchdown, the Eagles were able to recover their own kick deep in Mavericks territory when the ball bounced untouched at the 15-yard line and landed back in the arms of Pueblo East's Josh Padilla.
With possession of the ball and less than two minutes remaining, the Eagles were able to run out the clock and book a trip to the state championship once again.
With the loss, Mead finishes the year at 9-4 overall.
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