LONGMONT — It's impossible to rewrite the past, but up in Longmont, they're looking to change the future.
The Skyline Falcons strung together a 9-3 record and earned a trip to the post-season -- an accomplishment, of course. But it was their 32-23 win over Pueblo West in round one that turned some heads because, for the first time since 1999, Skyline won a playoff game.
"We were able to come out and make history again for our school and put us back on the map," senior Ethan Drewes said.
"For us to start that [winning] cycle over again, it's a great feeling," senior Jeremy Hollingsworth added.
For any team, it's an accomplishment to make the playoffs. But Skyline had extra reason to celebrate its return after nearly two decades. Consider, for one second, that the majority of the Falcons were born in the year 2000 -- or later.
"They make me feel aged every day regardless of that situation, but yeah," Skyline head football coach Mike Silva said with a laugh.
Silva is now in his fourth season with the Skyline, which happens to also be his alma mater. When he took over the program years ago, it was a struggling program, one he wanted to help rebuild. Fast forward to today, and the Falcons are just one win shy of a 4A state championship appearance.
"We've had a bunch of fun turning it around. You hope there's this kind of success, but it's not necessarily the expectation," he said. "But here we are, and it's been an awesome ride this year, and we're just going to continue to have fun with it."
A week ago, Skyline upset top seeded Pine Creek, a program who has dominated the 4A class for the past six years, making a title game appearance in five of those. Skyline forced the Eagles to try to tie the game late in their 4A quarterfinal match-up. It appeared they did -- until Pine Creek missed the extra point to trail 20-21. The Falcons then had to hold off their opponent for the remaining four minutes of regulation to secure the victory.
"It's so surreal, after the clock hit zero last week, I had to just stand there for a second and just soak it all in and realize we really just did that and we're really in the semifinals," Hollingsworth said.
"When they missed that extra point, I was on a whole other level," Drewes added. "It's been my dream since I was a little kid to be able to go and play in a big game like that. It's awesome knowing we have to beat Ponderosa, and we're there."
Hollingsworth grew up attending many of the state title games at Broncos Field at Mile High.
"I'd never seen myself playing there, but now it's a reality, it could be happening in two weeks," he said.
This team has seen its fair share of adversity this season, including the injury to its starting quarterback early on. But their "next-man-up" approach and selfless play have propelled them further than many outside their bubble expected.
"Our whole team, our coaching staff, we all expect the next guy up to be able to jump in and do his part on the team and do his job to help the team out and be part of the 11-link chain we are," Drewes said.
"When you talk about life lessons that football teaches and they come to fruition right in front of your eyes, and then the success that comes with that, it's a really cool thing," Silva said.
Skyline's goal -- like any team -- has been to win the state championship. Now, they're just one Saturday from creating a new present.
"We've always talked about what we're capable of, but in our minds, we're capable of beating this team this week."
Skyline and Ponderosa will take the gridiron Saturday, November 24 at 1 p.m. at EchoPark Stadium in Parker. If you are unable to make the game, it will be streamed live on the 9NEWS (KUSA) Facebook page.