Big plays and timely turnovers propel Legacy football to playoff win

Lightning move on to round 2 5A playoffs

Adam Hothersall
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 11/5/18

In an up-and-down season for Legacy (No. 21 seed) in 2018, the Lightning (5-6) struck potentially with their best game of the season Nov. 2 in the first round of CHSAA 5A Football Playoffs with their …

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Big plays and timely turnovers propel Legacy football to playoff win

Lightning move on to round 2 5A playoffs

Posted

In an up-and-down season for Legacy (No. 21 seed) in 2018, the Lightning (5-6) struck potentially with their best game of the season Nov. 2 in the first round of CHSAA 5A Football Playoffs with their 33-24 victory over Mullen (No. 12 seed).

As the Mustangs (4-7) ran off to a 3-0 lead behind a 53-yard field goal by sophomore Aidan Lehman, the Lightning, as they did all night, bounced back.

On a third-and-one from the Legacy 41-yard line, junior running back and leading rusher Dakota Key took the handoff, and it took it to the house to give his team their first lead at 7-3 with 2:19 remaining in the first quarter.

On the next drive, a 35-yard TD pass from Mullen’s senior quarterback Dominic DePizzol to junior Issac White helped the Mustangs regain the lead, 10-7. With the ball back in the Lightning’s hands, the third play of the drive ended with a key injury in Key. However, despite losing one of their leaders in the backfield the remainder of the game, senior quarterback Nicholas McCarthy and backup senior running back Jaden Wingfield stepped up and carried the load.

It started the play after the Key injury, as McCarthy went to work with a 63-yd TD pass to junior receiver Jaiden Peterson.

“To lose a player like Dakota and to come out and not blink is impressive,” Legacy coach Corey Heinz said. “Our offensive line played great and our kids’ courage all night was fantastic.”

Closing out the half with 10 seconds left, Heinz showcased his faith in his senior quarterback by going for it with a 4-point lead at the Mullen 12. The first-year head coach of Legacy drew up the perfect play, and it paid off.

On a pass over the middle, a 12-yd TD from McCarthy to senior tight end Jack Smith jump-started an offensive attack that also scored 10 points on their first two offensive possessions in the second half.

Mullen didn’t disappear despite being down 30-10 with 3:32 left in the third quarter. A one-play drive started and ended on the 80-yard receiving score from Wind Henderson following the Legacy 1-yard TD run by Wingfield the prior trip. A 3-and-out followed for the Legacy offense, and once again Henderson struck, this time from just 10 yards out to put the game at 30-24 with 1:22 remaining in the third.

In the final frame, two takeaways and a clutch right leg are all Legacy needed to live another day.

After a forced fumble that was recovered by junior Hunter O’Connor, a 30-yard field goal by junior John Hoyland put the game at a two-score affair, 33-24 with 7:41 left. Mullen’s next drive went smoothly covering 65 yards on seven plays before freshman Blake Roberts recorded a spectacular interception. Tipping the ball to himself and gathering possession, the Lightning offense did the rest.

Running out the clock with 10 straight running plays, Legacy extended their season.

“It was an unbelievable win,” Heinz said. “They have been through so much this year and to come out the way we did and beat a perennial power like Mullen is amazing. I’m so proud of my kids.”

Throwing 38 times, McCarthy racked up 282 yards on 21 completions with two TD’s. The strong-armed quarterback fed his favorite targets Smith (eight receptions) and Peterson (five receptions) with 80 and 105 yards respectively. Wingfield’s hard-earned 70 yards on 21 carries followed the explosive start by Key, who had 83 yards on seven carries.

Defensively, junior middle linebacker Adam Lynch led the way with nine tackles and a sack. O’Connor also dominated throughout the night with seven tackles, three tackles for loss, and two sacks. Seniors Josh Beaver and Nick Jensen tied for third on the team with five tackles each.

With the win, Legacy will take on No. 5 seed, the Grandview Wolves Nov. 10. Coming off of last week’s bye, the Wolves look to earn their tenth win in 11 tries this season.

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