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ThunderRidge football coach Doug Nisenson didn’t panic when his team fell behind Mountain Vista, its Highlands Ranch neighbor and rival, by three touchdowns. The Grizzlies, ranked seventh in the …
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ThunderRidge football coach Doug Nisenson didn’t panic when his team fell behind Mountain Vista, its Highlands Ranch neighbor and rival, by three touchdowns.
The Grizzlies, ranked seventh in the Sept. 26 CHSAA.com poll, came back and escaped with a 34-31 double overtime victory over Vista on a game played in rainy weather at Halftime Help Stadium on Sept. 30.
“It was a battle and a great rivalry for sure,” said Nisenson. “Our kids never stopped believing. When we got down big, we knew we were going to win that game.
“We have a lot of seniors and have a lot of experience. A lot of these kids have been starters for three years,“ he continued. “We believe we can climb out of everything and we believe we can fight through any battle and we believed from the start we were going to win the game. We never wavered from that.”
This was a typical contest between the rival schools as the stadium parking lots were filled 45 minutes before the start of the game and fans had to park elsewhere. And when the public address system sputtered during the singing of the national anthem, the crowd took over and sang the patriotic song.
Mountain Vista sophomore quarterback Austyn Modrzewski, one of the state’s leading Class 5A passers, hit Greyson Wiidakes with a 39-yard scoring pass on the first possession of the game, which started a 21-point surge for the Golden Eagles.
However, ThunderRidge rallied and the game was tied at 21-all in the fourth quarter. Both teams failed to score when inside the opponents’ 10-yard line which forced the game to go into overtime.
In high school overtimes, each team gets a possession from the 10-yard line.
ThunderRidge’s Cole Hanchett ran for his second TD of the game on a 10-yard run on the first play of the first overtime. Modrzewski hit Sean Conway on a 7-yard, fourth down pass for ThunderRidge to send the game into the second overtime after the second overtime PAT kick was successful.
Vista started the second OT and Hunter Dell pushed the Golden Eagles ahead 31-28 with a 22-yard field goal.
ThunderRidge, after a pass interference call on Vista, won the game on Fisher’s 1-yard plunge into the end zone.
“The weather just kind of got wetter and wetter in the overtime,” said Nisenson. “We felt like their defense was a little tired and maybe we could just line up and hammer them. It was kind of a no-brainer to just go pound it from the one.”
With the win the Grizzlies improved to 6-0 overall and 1-0 in the Class 5A League 5. Mountain Vista is now 4-2 overall. It was the Grizzlies’ second straight win over Vista and gave ThunderRidge a 14-3 edge in the series between the schools in games since 2004.
“It was a great game,” said Vista coach Garrett Looney. “Unfortunately someone had to lose. We started great and then they started making some plays. Our kids battled all night.
“I was very happy with our effort. They just made a few more plays than we did. They are a good, well coached team that found a way to win a tough game. We’ll bounce back and be fine and keep competing.”
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