Playoff football. My double header for Friday started with the Arapahoe Warriors taking on the Mustangs of Ralston Valley. I was, along with a lot of other people, expecting this to be a great game. Both Arapahoe and Ralston Valley were in the top ten for 5A teams in Colorado at the beginning of the season, but some untimely losses for both schools dropped them out of the rankings. So both teams appeared to be pretty equal which should result in a great match up. Boy, was I wrong. Arapahoe looked deflated from the start, and never really got things going until it was too late.
Ralston Valley jumped out to a lead in the first half. Arapahoe had nothing going for them. They missed a field goal. I would say it was blocked, except for the fact that the kick never got more than 6 inches off the ground and slammed into the back of the offensive line. In the second quarter it appeared that Arapahoe was letting some frustration take over. On a Ralston Valley pass play, one of the Mustangs, senior John Miller, took a hard hit while going for the ball, and went down hard. He had his bell rung pretty hard and his first reaction was to rip his helmet off. It appeared that he may have lost consciousness. But in a act of adding insult to injury, after the Mustang coaches were going nuts over the hit, an official finally threw his flag, right at the downed Mustang, hitting him. Come on, really? I have been in similar situations, both on the giving and receiving end, and honestly, I do not think that there was any malicious intent by the Arapahoe player who made the hit, it was just one of those, in the heat of the moment, perfect storm hits. Yes, it did deserve a penalty, and maybe a personal foul, but it really should have been flagged immediately, and the flag should never be thrown at an injured player, especially one down with a potential concussion.
The second half was more of a game, but the Mustangs already had taken too much of a lead for the Warriors to hope to come back from. And in the second half, the Mustangs drove Arapahoe back to their own 1 yard line. On 4th and real, real, real long to go, Arapahoe went to punt the ball, only to have it blocked and covered in the end zone for a touchdown. Ralston Valley went on to win the game 58-28 to end the Warriors season. The Mustangs moved up to #7 in the 5A rankings and now will face #2 seed, the CHSAA 5A number 1 ranked Valor Christian Eagles in the second round.
I love 4pm start times. It was beautiful for the first half of the game with awesome low, golden hour lighting. Then the stadium went into full shade with the last of the 4th quarter played under the lights.
Here is my 10 Shot from the game.
I do not normally post photos of hurt high school players, but I decided to post this one here for a reason (it is not posted on MaxPreps). I know the downed player was in pain, that was obvious when he ripped his helmet off, but please, players, when you get hit in the head and are hurt, leave your helmet on. Let the trainers get to you and evaluate you. They will tell you when it is ok to take your helmet off. You risk making your injury much, much worse just ripping it off.
These photos (minus the injury photo) and more can be viewed and purchased at MaxPreps.