Mustangs Secure The Rivalry Helmet

Sam Richardson, Photo Editor

Manitou Springs High School secured the helmet that defines the rivalry between the Mustangs and the Saint Mary’s Pirates on Friday, Sept. 27 in a dramatically close game with a score of 16-15. 

The Pirates started off with a prayer for both teams and a ribbon-cutting celebration because this was the first-ever game on their new renovations.

Freshman Keagan Conner was the MVP last Friday due to his fumble recovery at the fifty-yard line that changed the tide of the game and motivated the Mustangs’ defense to stay strong. Conner turned on the jets after snatching the ball from the quarterback, which resulted in the Mustangs coming back one point ahead of the Pirates. Conner blitzed the A-gap and nailed the quarterback, all while trying to complete a handoff to his running back, which then, in turn, forced the fumble. Coach Hardinger promised Conner a steak dinner due to his efforts and never giving up.

“This play just scratches the surface of who I am as a player and as an athlete,” said Conner, “Mainly, this was just a good representation of what I can contribute to the team. The coaches have been a great help in developing my skills. I’m only a freshman, but I can bring a new aspect of intensity to motivate other freshmen.”

Nathan Haas (11) got a touchdown, as well as two two-point conversions. Haas started on the two-yard line and ran through five defenders making the score 6-7, with Saint Mary’s in the lead. He would go on to do the exact same thing the next play for the two-point conversion and gave the Mustangs their first lead against Saint Mary’s. 

Eligh Hettle (10), the starting center, played the majority of the game and hustled through some challenges against Saint Mary’s defense.

“We didn’t play to our full potential, but I’d take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day. Their line got a lot bigger from last year, which just proves we have to put in the work as a team and get our blocks in,” said Hettle. 

Two Mustangs received injuries during the game; Roger Irwin (12) broke his thumb during the first quarter and Haas potentially broke a rib in the last. Irwin, unfortunately, will be out for the rest of the season, but he played a big role in the success of the Mustangs by playing through his injury. Haas has always been one of the most influential players on the field while making sure his teammates meet expectations and he pushed through his injury by playing at least 90 percent of the game.

As well as the two Mustangs injured during the game, other key players who were injured from games earlier in the season such as Tate Christian (10), Dylan Jardin (9), Jack Fournier (11) and captain Jesse Jorstad (11) were not able to participate, leading to such a close victory. Manitou is 2-2 after the honest victory on the Pirates’ turf, leaving them 1-3 in the 2A conference.