Every now and then, a player comes along who makes the game look easy and no matter what is done to stop him, he can’t be contained.
The Windsor football team ran into one of those rare phenoms Friday night in the 4A quarterfinals against No. 1 seed Pueblo West.
Derek Jackson came into Friday’s game with 2,765 rushing yards on the season, good for 10th all-time in a single year in Colorado.
With those numbers, it was certainly no secret who would be the focal point of the offense for Pueblo West. Even knowing that, Windsor could do nothing to stop Jackson as he rampaged for 376 yards and four touchdowns as Pueblo West used a big second half to beat No. 8 seed Windsor 50-27.
“He’s one of those guys, he’s hard to bring down,” Windsor coach Chris Jones said. “He runs hard for four quarters. He’s going to have a pretty good future ahead of him.”
The score ended up lopsided, but the game was far from it. Windsor scored on all three of its first-quarter possessions. At one point the Wizards had six offensive plays and three touchdowns.
Early in the second quarter, Windsor took a 27-12 lead on a 75-yard touchdown run from Joe Sanger. The Wizards then got the ball back with a chance to grow a big lead, but a fumble gave Pueblo West a chance to swing momentum.
And did the Cyclones (12-0) ever take advantage. They scored a touchdown and a field goal in the final minutes of the half to make it 27-23 at the intermission.
Pueblo West kicked off to start the third quarter. Like they did all game long, they tried an onside kick. This one was successful. The Cyclones scored on the ensuing possession to take the lead for good.
Pueblo West made a couple of key halftime adjustments that helped swing the game. The biggest change was moving to a six-man defensive front that shut down a Windsor option attack that had rushed for 257 yards in the first half.
Windsor didn’t gain a first down in the second half until the final minute of the fourth quarter.
After the game Jones consoled his players, many of whom were fighting tears. He told them to keep their heads up and be proud of the team’s first season in 4A that led them to a 10-2 overall record and a Northern Conference championship.
Jones went around the team huddle and hugged every one of his seniors, thanking them for their commitment to the program.
“They took on the big challenge of moving up and I think they handled themselves well. I think we played above everybody else’s expectations,” Jones said. “The seniors, you’re going to miss them. That’s an understatement. I don’t like any of these guys, if we like them we let them do the easy things. We love them.”
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