AURORA | Seven weeks later and the margin of difference between the Eaglecrest and Legacy football teams remained three points.
Thankfully for the Raptors, the margin went in their favor both times.
Nearly two months after rallying past the same team on the same field, 10th-seeded Eaglecrest came from behind to beat deceptively 23rd-seeded Legacy 34-31 Friday at Legacy Stadium in what turned out to be the closest of any of the eight first round games in the Class 5A state playoffs.
Senior David Creal’s 2-yard touchdown run with 1 minute, 14 seconds, remaining in the third quarter stood up to allow Eaglecrest (8-3) to earn its first playoff win under first-year head coach Shawn Marsh and set up a rematch with fierce rival Grandview (8-2) in the second round.
The Raptors and seventh-seeded Wolves — who got a first round bye — will play at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at Legacy Stadium. The second round will be a busy one for Aurora with two other teams that won first round games — No. 9 Cherokee Trail and No. 11 Smoky Hill — also in action, along with fourth-seeded Regis Jesuit after its bye.
Eaglecrest knew it would have its hands full against Legacy, which started the season 0-6 — including a 27-24 loss to the Raptors Sept. 20 — but won three of its last four games in the regular season.
Despite two big plays for Eaglecrest in Creal’s 56-yard touchdown run and the longest of senior quarterback Max Marsh’s three touchdown passes — an 80-yard strike to junior speedster Langston Williams — the Lightning held a 17-13 edge after an explosive opening quarter.
Touchdown passes from Marsh to seniors Mikelle Nash and Jalen Stewart gave the Raptors a double-digit halftime lead, but Legacy came out with different jump in the second half and needed just three plays to go 65 yards for a touchdown.
The Lightning got the ball back immediately after junior Ty Robinson had Marsh’s swing pass bounce out of his hands and into the waiting arms of Michael McCarthy. Nine plays later, Legacy was back in the end zone when Dakota Key — who gained 229 yards on the ground — took it in from four yards out.
Down, but not out, Eaglecrest responded with an 80-yard march down the field that took five minutes off the clock and resulted in Creal’s two-yard burrow into the end zone. Marsh rushed for 25 yards on the drive, but the key play was his hookup with Robinson for 17 yards on 4th-and-16.
A huge sack by junior Seyi Oladipo on Legacy quarterback Adarius Edwards helped the Raptors’ defense short circuit Legacy’s next drive, but the Lightning trotted out strong-legged John Hoyland for a 51-yard game-tying field goal attempt. His kick had the distance, but sailed left.
Legacy got the ball back one more time late in the fourth quarter and got the ball near midfield before sophomore Braden Miller broke through the line and got into Edwards’ face as he launched a pass downfield that turned into the second interception of the game by Williams.
Eaglecrest picked one first down and took the rest of the time off the clock.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
(10) EAGLECREST 34, (23) LEGACY 31
Score by quarters:
Legacy 17 0 14 0 — 31
Eaglecrest 13 14 7 0 — 34
Eaglecrest — David Creal 56 yard run (kick failed)
Legacy — Dakota Key 4 yard run (kick failed)
Eaglecrest — Langston Williams 80 yard pass from Max Marsh (PAT good)
Legacy — John Hoyland 33 yard field goal
Legacy — Adarius Edwards 1 yard run (Hoyland kick)
Eaglecrest — Mikelle Nash 23 yard pass from Marsh (PAT good)
Eaglecrest — Jalen Stewart 13 yard pass from Marsh (PAT good)
Legacy — Edwards 1 yard run (Hoyland kick)
Legacy — Key 4 yard run (Hoyland kick)
Eaglecrest — Creal 2 yard run (PAT good)