PUEBLO – The post game got a little weird. Palmer Ridge’s senior stars left the ThunderBowl without talking to the cackle of television reporters stationed outside their dressing room. While we allow you, the scoreboard from CHSAA’s Class 4A 2020 State Football Championship Game – Loveland 42, Bears 6 – said enough on its own.
About an hour after throwing five picks in his final preparatory football tilt, CSU Rams commit and Palmer Ridge Luke McAllister decided to explain via Twitter. The teen’s first reflection on the evening read:
Loveland beat us. I don’t need your hate. I respect Loveland and their technical staff Hella. Congratulations on the victory. Please stop the hate.
“I just saw the tweet and it may have been taken out of context,” explained Mark McAllister, Luke’s father, via email late Friday night. “I’ve been in touch with Luke.
“Luke’s tweet was really about respecting the Loveland players in a positive way and the effort they had.”
Again, a bit weird. Just not as surreal as the game itself. This should have been Palmer Ridge’s Valor Christian moment. They had won the Class 3A title for the past three years in a row before moving up a tier. Their selection included at least half a dozen, bona fide, Division I dudes. The bears were new money.
Instead, it was the old money – Loveland took his eighth state championship – that brought the hammer.
The champions officially scored 42 points without attempting a pass. That part didn’t shock the people who had seen both schools up close. The shock was how Loveland’s defense came after McAllister cartoon bumblebees liked to chase Yogi Bear.
“We had a lot more energy than they did,” said Loveland linebacker Jadyn Tafoya, one of the hellists who helped drive six Bears sales. “We came out, and they didn’t.”
The worst blows hit egos. Palmer Ridge offensive lineman Connor Jones is one 6 ft-6, 280 lb road construction machine with offerings from Michigan, Northwestern, Indiana, CSU, Virginia and West Virginia, among others.
In fact, Tafoya is six feet long, 160 pounds, soaking wet. He spent the evening using the Big Ten giant as a tourniquet.
“I don’t think we were ready,” Jones admitted. ‘I think we kind of overlooked them. That’s perfectly fair to say because of the position we are in now. ”
Hard to measure hearts.
Especially the ones that break down.
“They didn’t know what we had,” said Tafoya, who had grabbed one of those five pickaxes and also ran for two scores. “We knew we would play a match.”
Yes, but six takeaways? Six points allowed? Those are legendary nicknames. Orange Crush … Purple People-Eaters …
“Giant-Slayers,” Tafoya suggested with a grin.
That’s the memo: Giant-Slayers. Almost every game overlooked. ”
Nobody embodies that overlooked motif more than Tafoya. Kid is a triple threat in football, hoops and lacrosse. He sports a 3.67 GPA. He plays with a small Chevy motor between his shoulder blades and a Pentium microprocessor between his ears.
The problem? Six feet tall, people over 160 usually don’t get texts from Jim Harbaugh asking to stay over.
“We’ve played Division I players before,” Tafoya shrugged. “You saw that last week (to Dakota Ridge).”
One of those Division I players, McAllister, wants to be the quarterback for the Rams of the future. He also left Pueblo with more tearful hugs after the game than with points. And he will have a devil of a time driving along Highway 34 without, sadly, being reminded of his last Friday night, under the lights, in Bears blue.
“Yes, he will,” Tafoya said, grinning again.
“It is awesome. Awesome. I don’t think there could be almost anything better. ”