Playoffs 1st round: Home vs. Mountain Vista

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
4-6 Mustangs to host 3-7 Golden Eagles in big-school preliminaries.


: Vs. Mountain Vista Golden Eagles

: Friday, Nov. 8,  7 p.m.

: Brother Bernard Kinneavy Field at De La Salle Stadium

Class 5A playoffs, preliminaries

: Mountain Vista (3-7); Mullen (4-6)

Head coaches:
Garrett Looney, 1st year with MV; Stanley Richardson, 1st year with Mustangs

Three times the two programs have met, all over the past dozen years. Mullen owns a 3-0 edge and an aggregate 103-13 scoring advantage. The most-recent meeting was in 2011, when the Mustangs rolled the Golden Eagles 42-0 in the preliminaries. Two weeks later, Mullen’s 34-game winning streak ended with a one-point loss to Pomona. The Mustangs also had been three-time-defending state champions.. 

Players to watch for Mullen:

2, C.J. Smith, Jr., RB-DB, 5-9, 180

10, Ben Marcoux, Sr., WR, 5-10, 175

42, Jaxon Heil, So., DB, 5-8, 165

53, Trevor Kirking, Sr., LB, 6-2, 240

92, Aidan Keanaaina, Sr., DL-OL, 6-3, 300

Mustang Notables
: This will be Mllen’s 869th game since first playing in 1936 in the old Parochial League. The Mustangs are 589-261-18 in their history. ...

Mullen is fresh from a rousing 27-21 home victory over Lakewood in Week 10 to cap the regular season, and it included a late defensive stand. … In fact, the Lakewood offense generated only one scoring drive. The Tigers’ other scores came on returns, a 99-yarder on a kickoff and another through interception. … The Mustangs defense held the Tigers to 194 yards, just 44 on the ground. … Heil topped the defense by being in on 11 tackles. Zaide Hoskins-Mitchell and Keanaaina, who has been large down the stretch of the season, each had two sacks. Keaanaaina added a third tackle for loss. … Jonah Villaneuba contributed a diving interception. … QB Kyle Remington was 12-of-16, 228 yards. ...

With top rusher Damien Cearns, a senior, battling injury, Smith stepped in as the Mustangs’ primary rusher and came through with 106 yards rushing and three TDs. … Mustangs and followers have welcomed the return of senior FB-LB Ryan Hearty, who missed five regular-season games with a high-ankle sprain suffered in.Week 3 against Cherry Creek. His combination as a rusher and receiver (132 yards) have been big the past two weeks and his experienced contributions on defense have aided a resurgence. …

Mullen has won 27 of its past 25 postseason games. … The Mustangs certainly remember their previous playoff game. A year ago at home, they hosted Broomfield’s Legacy. Mullen was seeded No. 12 and the Lightning No. 21. Legacy won easily by 33-24 and went on to lose in the second round to Grandview. … Friday’s winner will face defending state champion Valor Christian.

Coachspeak from Richardson

On heading into a game with a full week of practice as opposed to the last week of the regular season, when the snowstorm cancelled school for the first three days of the week:
“It’s a lot better, a lot better than last week … we’re actually getting practice in this week. And it has been an exciting week leading up to the first playoff game of my coaching career. The guys are really excited about being in the playoffs.”

On assessing the Golden Eagles, who began the season 0-3 and had to beat Rock Canyon, which finished 1-9, just to qualify for the postseason:
“They are well-coached and they have their guys in position. They are flying to the ball, they have guys in position on defense and they do a variety of things. Everybody they’ve played they have played tough. They are not a pushover by any means.”

On being prepared for the Golden Eagles and knowing his players’ recent history, particularly last year, when the Mustangs were the higher seed and suffered a home playoff loss to Legacy: 
“Absolutely … no, they’re not overlooking anyone. They realize that. They know what happened last year and realize it was a game we should have won. This year, we have to make sure we take care of business.”

On Cearns possibly being available: 
“We’re not sure, he hasn’t had an MRI yet  … he may have a high-ankle sprain.”

On his team’s attitude, the thrill of being in the playoffs after going just 2-6 and the chance to take a three-game winning streak after earning a home playoff game:
”The kids after last week’s win were so pumped, so excited about being in the playoffs … this is — and should be — fun for the Mustangs.”

Mountain Vista Notables:
Looney was the QB on Columbine’s 1999 team that won the 5A title after the Massacre. He was the Eaglecrest interim coach in 2018.… QB Jacob Garrett has thrown for 1,089 yards, seven TDs and six interceptions. … Senior RB Matt Smith has 782 yards on the ground and 11 of the team’s 19 rushing TDs. … Unless the Golden Eagles sweep through the playoffs, it will be a losing season for the eighth time in 10 years. … MV is 5-10 in the postseason.

Class 5A Playoffs Schedule and Results

Seeds and records in parenthesis

(1) Cherry Creek (10-0); (2) Ralston Valley (10-0); (3) Valor Christian (9-1); (4) Regis Jesuit (10-0); (5) Pomona (6-4); (6) Columbine (8-2); (7) Grandview (8-2); (8) Fairview (9-1).

Thursday’s result

(16) ThunderRidge 17, (17) Lakewood 6

Friday-Saturday Schedule

-(24) Fountain-Fort Carson (3-7) vs. (9) Cherokee Trail (7-3), Friday, 7:30 p.m., Legacy Stadium

(20) Doherty (3-7) vs. (13) Highlands Ranch (4-6), Friday, 7 p.m., Shea Stadium

(21) Rocky Mountain (5-5) vs. (12) Legend (8-2), Saturday, noon, EchoPark Stadium

(18) Castle View (6-4) vs. (15) Arapahoe (6-4), Friday, 7 p.m., Littleton Public Schools Stadium

(23) Legacy (3-7) vs. (10) Eaglecrest (7-3), Friday, 4 p.m., Legacy Stadium

(19) Mountain Vista (3-7) vs.
(14) Mullen (4-6), Friday, 7 p.m., Brother Bernard Kinneavy Field at
De La Salle Stadium

(22) Overland (3-7) vs. (11) Smoky Hill (10-0), Friday, 7 p.m., Stutler Bowl