Football takes State!!!

The team poses with its first championship trophy since 1990. The change to football in the spring made it possible for the team to pick up basketball players Joah Armour, Isaiah Thomas, and Caleb Allen.

Gideon Aigner, Guest Writer

On May 14th, 2021, the Manitou Springs football team played their first State Championship game in 30 years.

This game, played at the CSU-Pueblo Thunderdome, caused school to be cut short for the day.  Students and teachers left early to get to the game, while the rest live streamed the game in the Media Center. The entirety of Manitou was stuck on the edge of their seats. Sports bars in Manitou Springs, like the Townhouse Sports Grill, were streaming the game live to interested parties, according to “Townhouse Chad.”

Football in the fall was cancelled due to complications of COVID, making this weird spring season even tougher. Different opponents from usual entered the picture, like Roaring Fork, Clear Creek, and Flatirons Academy. This was due to the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) combining 2A and 1A into one division. This was just one example of the COVID-19 Epidemic and its effects on life overall. This game, this singular event, was the culmination of all that Manitou had suffered during the 2020-2021 school year, and how the pain can be well worth the wait.

Let’s set the stage:

Over a year prior, a virus had shut down the whole world, and everyone was scared of one thing or another. School went virtual, nobody could see their friends like they used to, athletics stopped, and students and teachers were not able to say proper goodbyes to the 2020 Seniors.

Fast forward to last Friday.  We’re at the CSU-Pueblo Thunderbowl. It’s the 2021 Senior’s last day. It is  double OT. Manitou is up 31-30. We are playing a private Christian school, that is basically St. Mary’s from Westminster. Everyone’s throats hurt. We’re all tired. We’re all hot and sunburnt and sweaty. We’re anxious. It’s obvious that Flatirons Academy is going for the 2 point conversion that would win them the game and send Manitou home. People that don’t even like sports are in the stands on the edge of their seats, waiting for the moment. We have 3 times as many people in our student section than Flatirons Academy has in attendance total. This is what it’s all about. The energy. The togetherness. The ability to be together regardless of the outcome. The roar of the crowd. The ability to do what we haven’t been able to do for over a year. This is not just for the 2021 State Championship. This is for the seniors of last year and those of this year, and it is their last day at that.

The different characters play perfectly into one another. Joah Armour (12), attempting to equal the legacy of his father, Justin, after already equalling him in basketball. Caleb Allen (11), attempting to establish a new Manitou familial dynasty following his brother Joey (class of 2020), and setting the example for his sister Grace (10), and younger brother, Jacob (1). This is Isaiah Thomas(12) finishing his trifecta of athletics in basketball, soccer, and football with the perfect ending. This is seniors Thor Flett, Kianu Luna, Rylan Dowling, Wally Hoenhe, Caden Harris, Emmett Wolfe, Lars Marquardt, and Jesse Jorstad’s wait for glory. Coach Archuleta bringing the same success to football as baseball. Every member of the team is fighting to leave a legacy that will endure long after their individual names have been forgotten by the student body. Each second today has been the culmination of so much sorrow, hardship, hard work, practice, luck, passion and joy.

Flatiron Academy snaps the ball.  They rush the end zone.  Parker Salladay(11) tackles the runner and causes the fumble.  We take position and win state.

This is for one last big memory to cap off this dumpster-fire of a year with something positive. Welcome, to a moment in history.