Legacy’s comeback attempt falls short

Eaglecrest halts Lightning’s playoff run 34-31

Posted 11/13/19

After a 31-28 victory against Horizon the week prior, Legacy football placed as the No. 23 seed in the 5A state playoffs — winners of three of their last four. Taking on a familiar foe in No. 10 …

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Legacy’s comeback attempt falls short

Eaglecrest halts Lightning’s playoff run 34-31

Posted

After a 31-28 victory against Horizon the week prior, Legacy football placed as the No. 23 seed in the 5A state playoffs — winners of three of their last four.

Taking on a familiar foe in No. 10 Eaglecrest in the opening round, the Lightning couldn’t atone for the heartbreaking 27-24 defeat to the Raptors Sept. 20 on Friday as Eaglecrest hung on to a 34-31 win to advance.

It didn’t start pretty for the Lightning defense as the Raptors scored two touchdowns on their first three offensive plays. First, a 56-yard sprint from senior David Creal followed by an 80-yard pass from senior Max Marsh to junior Langston Williams. Between the two Eaglecrest scores, Legacy took the brief lead on a 4-play, 30-yard drive after sophomore Willie Ade forced a fumble after a Legacy 3-and-out to begin their night. Capping the score for the road team, senior Dakota Key trotted into the end zone from four yards out.

After Eaglecrest retook the advantage at 13-7 with 8:19 left in the first, the Lightning offense — as they did in the first half — kept their team in the game. Driving 51 yards before senior John Hoyland drilled the 33-yard field goal, the deficit was cut to three with 4:30 left in the opening quarter.

A quick stop from the Legacy defense — due to the third-down sack from senior Hunter O’Connor — put sophomore gunslinger Adarius Edwards back on the field, recording the 6-play, 63-yard drive. Outlined by the 33-yard completion to senior Jacob Duran down the left sideline, the 1-yard quarterback sneak by Edwards capped the possession to obtain the 17-13 lead.

Eaglecrest, however, showcased more of their explosive offense in the next two drives. Tallying 14 points on 10 plays and 82 yards, 23 and 20-yard touchdown passes to seniors Mikelle Nash and Jalen Stewart expanded the home team’s lead to 27-17 going to halftime.

After the half with a combined 44 points, the scoring slowed down to only 21 points (14 from Legacy) in the second half — all of which were in the third quarter. Making adjustments during the intermission, the Lightning defense came out with a new attitude to start the third quarter that expanded throughout the fourth.

“We simplified at halftime and eliminated some of the thinking, and our kids played a lot faster,” Legacy coach Corey Heinz said in an email after the game. “They were able to just react and play rather than think. I thought they played extremely hard and physical.”

Behind a hard-nosed defense, Legacy took their first lead since early in the second quarter with 6:15 left in the third to go up 31-27. A strong end to the quarter once again pushed Eaglecrest ahead 34-31 with 1:06 remaining. We didn’t see another point the rest of the way as the Raptors advanced to the second round, ending the Legacy’s season in the same place as a year ago — at Legacy Stadium.

“We knew we were a very young team this year, and there was bound to be some growing pains early,” Heinz said of his team starting slow and ending strong in 2019. “We kept growing as a team, and our kids never quit believing they were a good football team. Our kids have a lot of fight in them.”

Showing out in their final games for the Lightning, Key ended the afternoon with a staggering 229 yards on 33 carries. On the other side, Adam Lynch and O’Connor recorded 10 and eight tackles apiece to lead the defense with O’Connor tallying two more sacks to his 15.5 sack season.

Despite losing some key players on both sides to graduation, the 2020 season will return Edwards and his favorite target in junior Jaiden Peterson in a spread offensive attack that should excel next season. Through learning and improving throughout his first year behind center, Heinz believes the sky is the limit for his play-caller.

“This kid has the potential to be really good. He is smart and athletic. Adarius is very level-headed and extremely coachable. Our offense will, for sure, revolve around him over the next couple of years. He’s going to be a handful to prepare for.”

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