DENVER - In its first ever trip to a football title game, Pueblo South unseated the defending Pine Creek Eagles 25-14 to win the 4A football state championship. The Colts were able to hold off a late comeback effort from their opponents to bring home their first ever football state title.
For two teams with explosive offenses, the championship game took a couple of series to get going. Both teams made huge stops on 3rd down in their opponent's opening drive, and forced them to punt.
Pueblo South was first to get on the board on a 67-yard pass from Cozzolino to Marcell Barbee with 4:33 remaining in the first quarter. Barbee finished with eight catches for 199 yards and one touchdown.
On their following drive, the Colts strung together an 89-yard drive, which included a 50-plus yard reception to Barbee, and a 31-yard strike to Jesse Anzar to the end zone. After a blocked extra point, Pueblo South took a commanding 13-0 at the end of first quarter.
At the start of the second, Pine Creek got a huge break when sophomore Eddie Kyle intercepted Cozzolino. Still, the South quarterback would finish the first half 12 of 22 attempts with 225 yards passing and two touchdowns.
Pine Creek took its opening drive of the second half down the field and into the end zone with the help of sophomore running back sensation, David Moore III to make this a one score game, but Pueblo South came right back. On the ensuing kickoff, South senior Thomas Pannunzio rushed it back 93-yards for a touchdown. After a blocked extra point, Pueblo South led 19-7 in the third quarter.
The Colts would get an interception of its own just before the end of the third quarter. Junior Coby Graham picked off JC Coulter of Pine Creek. The Eagles defense held strong and didn't allow the Colts to covert any points on the turnover.
At the end of the third quarter, there was a scary moment when Coulter took a hard hit and lay motionless on the field. Even though a stretcher was brought out, he was able to get up and walk off the field with the help of his trainers. Sophomore Gavin Herberg was brought in to take over for the Eagles at quarterback, and he scored a rushing touchdown at the start of the 4th quarter to make it a one-score game, yet again.
Despite the defending champ's efforts, Pueblo South would never let the Eagles fully close the gap. The Colts marched back down the field -- on another 90-plus yard drive -- and Cozzolino punched in a one-yard score to again extend his team's lead.
Pueblo South hung on for the 25-14 victory, and its first football state championship. The Colts were the last of the Pueblo high schools to bring home a title in the sport.
Tune in to the Sunday morning Prep Rally for more highlights and interviews from the game, and check back for extended game highlights tonight.
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