Pomona Panthers upset the No.1 team, the Columbine Rebels to advance to the state championship game by a score of 21-20. November is known for cold weather and snow which made the North Arvada Athletic Complex a frozen tundra and this Saturday, November 28, the weather held off to make it great football weather. With ice on the field and temperatures in the high 20’s, this was a man’s game of football. But the way the Pomona Panthers played, it didn’t matter what the temperature was. The Pomona Panthers are going to the State Championship game, something they have not seen since 2009. Pomona Panthers got the revenge they were looking for after the Columbine Rebels beat the Panthers on October 16 by a score of 42-35.
Quarterback Ryan Marquez held his composure and kept his cool when the Rebels defense was making it a scoreless first quarter. The Columbine Rebels won the opening coin toss and elected to defer and receive that football in the second half. The Columbine Rebels held the Pomona Panthers offense with the first four downs and then the Columbine Rebels wanted to show their fans what they were ready to do against the Pomona Panthers defense. Nothing. The Columbine Rebels could not do anything. The underdogs held the Rebels their first series of downs and made the Rebels punt. Momentum was starting to build on the Pomona Panthers sidelines. Coach Madden had his team ready.
Not until the second quarter was there any score and it was the Pomona Panthers who struck first. They drove the football 78 yards for the first touchdown and the PAT was right down the middle. The Columbine Rebels took their next series of downs and went straight down the field to tie the game. Pomona Panthers added another score and at halftime, the Pomona Panthers went to the locker room with a 14-7 lead.
With the Columbine Rebels electing to defer the opening kick to start the second half went to them. The Rebels found themselves with a 4th and 12 with 3:58 to go in the 3rd quarter. Columbine elected to go for the first down and blasted through the defense to get the first down and more. The next play, Columbine Rebels Mikey Griebel was able to tie it in the third quarter with a 12-yard TD run and the momentum was heading towards the Columbine Rebels way. But junior outside linebacker Uriah Vigil was not about to let the momentum the Pomona Panthers built go to waste. Uriah Vigil played one of his best games ever as he made one incredible play after another.
The third quarter showed the games longest plays by Pomona Panthers quarterback Ryan Marquez and team and proved once again that they can play in any weather and any type field. Ryan hit a wide open Chris Gatseos for a 39-yard pass to help set up the third and final touchdown that Pomona needed to be the Columbine Rebels. Ryan later connected with Max Borghi on a 37-yard wide open strike to secure the final touchdown.
Trailing by seven points and seven minutes remaining, Columbine was starting to see their season come to an end. Columbine was able to drive the ball and eat up a lot of the fourth quarter clock. Columbine quarterback Jake Lowry did a quarterback sneak and looked like he was going to be stopped in the backfield. Instead, Lowry dodged the defense and sprinted to the end zone and the life was coming back into the Columbine Rebels but not for long. Kicker Easton Hartman’s PAT went right and missed the uprights. Pomona now had a one point lead with 1:06 left in the game.
The Rebels tried to do an onside kick but the Pomona Panthers were able to fall on the ball and start their celebration as they were headed to the state championship game. But the celebration was almost premature. As the Pomona Panthers offense lined upped to take another snap and run out the clock, the defense made an attempt to knock the ball away from the center and it worked. The Columbine Rebels recovered the fumble and had 0:56 seconds to try to change the ending. Pomona got hit with a face mask penalty and this put the Rebels closer to the final TD and once again deflating the Pomona Panthers chances. And who else but Uriah Vigil stepped up and had the Columbine Rebels quarterback scrambling once again. Columbine could not do anything the last 0:56 seconds of the game. With 0:03 seconds left, the Rebels went for a Hail Mary pass but Pomona Panthers timed the ball perfectly and shut the Rebels down. Pomona Panthers got the revenge they wanted and are going to meet Valor Christian at Sports Authority Field at Mile High December 5, 2015 with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.