Mountain Range football: Mustangs beat Heritage in first round

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Before this season, the Mountain Range football team had never been to the playoffs. And now they’re on their way to the second round of the 5A State Football Championships after knocking off No. 22 Heritage Nov. 1 at 1st Bank Field.

“We’re making history,” wide receiver Kyle Dunbabin said. “We earned it, we work hard. We’re going to keep playing Mustang ball, that’s how we’re going to do it.”

Mountain Range came in the playoffs as the No. 11 seed and undefeated in league. They are 9-1 overall, with their only loss being to Grand Junction at the beginning of the season.

“We work hard in the weight room and it shows on the field,” Dunbabin said of the Mustangs’ success in the 2013 season.

After being down 14-7 at halftime, the Mustangs came out and scored a much needed 14 points in the third quarter. Dunbabin caught a 20-yard pass from quarterback Andrew Wamsley to tie the score at 14.

Four minutes later, wide receiver Elijah Gillespie ran the ball for a touchdown, taking the 21-14 lead going into the fourth quarter.

“We just showed that we’re an all around team, we can run or throw,” Dunbabin said about coming out strong in the second half.

Kicker Kyler McCleland secured the Mustangs’ lead when he kicked a 20-yard field goal for the 24-14 advantage in the middle of the fourth quarter.

Heritage freshman quarterback Mikey Griebel tightened the score at 24-20 with two minutes to go in the game when he ran the ball for a one-yard touchdown. However, the Eagles ran out of time, ending their season with a 5-5 record.

Heritage senior Rob Sublette and sophomore Dalton Thorpe scored a touchdown each in the first and second quarter, respectively.

Mustang’s Dunbabin scored his first touchdown in the first quarter for Mountain Range. Dunbabin had five receptions for 126 yards on the night. Wamsley went 8-for-154. Griebel completed 10 passes for 57 yards.

Mountain Range will move on to play Cherokee Trail in the second round Nov. 8 at Legacy Stadium in Aurora.

The Mustangs lost to Cherokee Trail last year in the regular season. If they win, Mountain Range moves on to the quarterfinals against either No. 3 Cherry Creek or No. 19 Overland.

“We know Cherokee Trail is fast, we lost to them last year,” Dunbabin said. “I think it would be nice to get them again and prove that we’re a different team this year.”

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