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The New Falcon Herald
If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
– Anne Bradstreet  
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  Volume No. 11 Issue No. 4 April 2014  

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D 49 Sports
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  Colorado football playoffs
  D 49 teams drop in first round
  By Nathan Bird

   The Colorado high school football playoffs started with a bang. On opening night, No. 2 ranked Monarch High School (Louisville) lit up the score board for 62 points – 55 in the first half – as they trampled D 49’s Vista Ridge High, winning by 34 points: 62-28.
   The next day, No. 4 ranked Falcon squared off against 13th ranked Dakota Ridge (Littleton). It looked as if Falcon was going to take the win easily against Dakota Ridge, but they were in for a shock. The first three times Falcon had possession, they fumbled the ball and Dakota Ridge recovered, which led to an early 14-0 lead over Falcon. However, Falcon came storming back, and at halftime the game was tied 28-28.
   At the end of the third quarter, they were again tied with 35 points each. The defense dominated the fourth quarter; however, with four minutes to go, Falcon scored on a Kalen Ballage touchdown. The Falcons missed the extra point and had a 6-point lead, with a minute and 48 to go. The Falcons defense had been relatively stout the whole game; and, had it not been for the field position given away by turnovers, the game would not have been as close at this point.
   But, with less than a minute to go, the Dakota Ridge Eagles drove down the field and scored a touchdown. They made the extra point and went up by 1. Falcon then got the ball back, with 38 seconds left. They weren’t able to muster anything up, and Dakota Ridge pulled off the upset. As for highly recruited senior Ballage, he finished his final game with five of the team’s six touchdowns and 248 total yards under his belt. Ballage finished his senior year with more than 1,900 yards and a school record of 9.43 yards per carry.
   On, Ballage is ranked as the No. 1 high school football recruit in Colorado. Without Sand Creek in the mix, D 49 teams were out of contention for the state championship in less than 24 hours after the tournament started. Dakota Ridge, the Cinderella team that took down Falcon in the first round, didn’t go far, losing their second game to Pueblo South.
   The No. 1 seed, Montrose High School (Montrose and Olathe School District), opened their playoffs with a game against last- seeded Montbello (Denver) – and won 31-25. No. 3 ranked Pine Creek (Colorado Springs), the only team to defeat Falcon in regular season, had a blowout victory against Pueblo West – 35-18. In the second round, Pine Creek took the field against the sixth-ranked Windsor Wizards and shut them out 25-0. After humiliating Vista Ridge, Monarch played Loveland – and ran away with the victory by a score of 42-8. No. 1 Montrose then took on Denver South and dominated the game.
   At this point in the tournament, it looked as if a Monarch vs. Montrose rematch would set up the state championship game. However, on Nov. 23, Pine Creek traveled to Centaurus High School in Lafayette, Colo., to take on Monarch. Pine Creek pulled off another playoff upset and beat Monarch, propelling the Springs team to the 4A championship game. Meanwhile, Montrose took on Pueblo South and barely escaped elimination with a 39-38 win. Montrose and Pine Creek played in the championship game Nov. 30 at Sports Authority Field in Mile High in Denver. Pine Creek whipped No.1-ranked Montrose 49-14.


A Falcon turnover set up a touchdown for Dakota Ridge. Photo by Nathan Bird.

Falcon football captain Justin Barron is puzzled watching his team (favored to win) dismantled by Dakota Ridge. Photo by Nathan Bird.

Falcon's Kalen Ballage ties the Dakota Ridge game with a touchdown. Photo by Nathan Bird.

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