Senior quarterback Victor Owens smiles as the final seconds tick off the clock in Vista PEAK’s 29-14 win over Rangeview in a Class 5A spring football first round playoff game on May 1, 2021, at Aurora Public Schools Stadium. The third-seeded Bison play the second-seeded Far Northeast Warriors in Friday night’s semifinals in a rematch of a matchup in the regular season in which Vista PEAK won despite the absence of Owens. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

AURORA | The Vista PEAK football team outlasted the Far Northeast Warriors during a regular season meeting, but the Bison hope the rematch isn’t close.

Playing without some regulars due to injury or ejection from the previous contest, the Bison (5-2) topped the Warriors (4-2) by just three points April 8, which was followed by consecutive losses to close the regular season for a team that began the season 4-0.

Vista PEAK will try to keep the momentum going from its second-half surge to victory in the opening round of the Class 5A spring playoffs against Rangeview as it plays its first road game of the season — all seven previous contests came at Aurora Public Schools Stadium — against Far Northeast at 7 p.m. Friday on the Evie Dennis Campus.

Vista PEAK coach John Sullivan admitted his team lost some confidence during the difficult stretch and it slightly continued through the first half of its opening round game against Rangeview — when it faced a 14-0 deficit — but the swagger came back during the second half of a 29-14 victory that was the first postseason win in program history.

In the second half alone, senior quarterback Victor Owens rushed for two touchdowns and threw one to sophomore Anthony Sotelo-Lares and senior running back Ja’Derris Carr — who wasn’t 100 percent coming into the game — broke off a 59-yard touchdown run, all set up by a dominating performance by the Vista PEAK defense.

The Bison have been able to count on his defense in every game this season as it has allowed an average of just 10.8 points per game (with a high of 18 given up to Denver South), but it was a good time for the offense to come up with its largest point production since Week 3 of the regular season.

Sullivan expects a very physical contest against a Far Northeast defensive line that he considers one of the toughest and best in the state among the spring teams. The Warriors bottled up Carr (who gained a season-low 58 yards on 21 carries), allowed just over 200 yards of total offense in the first game and forced multiple turnovers.

Vista PEAK, however, played that game without its starting quarterback in Owens — who was ejected from the previous contest after he was whistled for two personal fouls — and his presence could make a difference on both sides of the football.

The other semifinal is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. at Recht Field and pits No. 4 Boulder (4-0) against No. 8 Denver East (3-4), which upset top-seeded Denver South in the opening round.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports

2021 CLASS 5A SPRING FOOTBALL SEMIFINALS

Friday, May 7

NO. 3 VISTA PEAK (5-2) vs. No. 2 Far Northeast Warriors (4-2) at Evie Dennis Campus, 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 8

No. 8 Denver East (3-4) vs. No. 4 Boulder (4-0) at Recht Field, 6 p.m.

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