AURORA | The Cherokee Trail football team discovered something in the second half of its regular season finale and keep it going a week later to win in a Class 5A state playoff game.
The Cougars put the momentum they gained from an epic rally to beat Eaglecrest — in which they escaped a 29-point second half deficit — to work Friday night against Fountain-Fort Carson for a commanding 35-17 first round victory at Legacy Stadium.
Senior running back Julian Williams scored four times and coach Joe Johnson’s ninth-seeded Cherokee Trail team limited the 24th-seeded Trojans to a field goal until they scored a pair of touchdowns against reserves late in the fourth quarter.
The Cougars improved to 8-3 and advanced to the second round of the 5A playoffs for the second straight season after exiting in the first round three straight times. Cherokee Trail heads on the road for a matchup against Colorado record-setting quarterback Aidan Atkinson and No. 8 Fairview (9-1).
Playing Fountain-Fort Carson (3-8) for the first time since a postseason meeting in the first round of the 2011 playoffs (won by the Trojans), Cherokee Trail wasted little time getting into the end zone and had the lead the entire game.
Williams scored a 10-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter in which he turned backwards and walked a pile of defenders into the end zone with the help of a few of his offensive linemen, which capped a day that also saw him score twice from eight yards out and once from three yards.
Sophomore Nate Gaye also got into the end zone for the Cougars, who surrendered two touchdown drives in the final quarter with the game well in hand.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]com. Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
(9) CHEROKEE TRAIL 35, (24) FOUNTAIN-FORT CARSON 17
Score by quarters:
Ftn.-Fort Carson 3 0 0 14 — 17
Cherokee Trail 7 14 14 0 — 35