Football: Pomona mounts comeback victory over Castle View in playoff opener

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 11/9/21

ARVADA — Survive. That’s precisely what No. 10-seeded Pomona did in the first-round Class 5A state playoff game Thursday, Nov. 4, at the North Area Athletic Complex. The Panthers trailed No. 23 …

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Football: Pomona mounts comeback victory over Castle View in playoff opener

Posted

ARVADA — Survive.

That’s precisely what No. 10-seeded Pomona did in the first-round Class 5A state playoff game Thursday, Nov. 4, at the North Area Athletic Complex. The Panthers trailed No. 23 Castle View 7-6 with under six minutes to play.

Pomona (7-4 record) mounted a 6-play drive that covered 77 yards to score the go-ahead touchdown with 2:52 left in the fourth quarter. The Panthers escaped the upset bid by the Sabercats (6-5) with a 14-7 victory.

“Going through that run, it was a I need to score desire,” Pomona senior Dominick Nichols said his 38-yard touchdown run that gave the Panthers their first lead of the game. “With us being down 7-6 our backs were against the wall. It was a ‘I’m scoring no matter what’ kind of play. I saw a hole to the right, hit it and I was gone.”

Nichols started the run to the left before breaking to the right and eventually sprinting to the right pylon for the score. Pomona senior Chase Muller was also instrumental on the game-winning drive with four straight double-digit carries to get the Panthers into striking distance.

“Dom and I have been in these kind of situations,” Muller said. “We know what we have to do.”

Pomona knew it has to get going sooner or later after trailing 7-0 at halftime. Castle View junior quarterback Nate Schmidt threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to junior Ace Malone with 7:12 left in the second quarter for the lone score in the first half.

“Castle View is tough. They gave us all we could handle,” Pomona coach Nathan Johnson said. “That second half was Big Black football. Grind and pound it out on the ground. Obviously, we don’t what to be in that situation.”

Pomona senior quarterback Noah Epley scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on the Panthers’ first drive of the second half, but a missed point after attempt left Castle View still with the lead.

“Seniors started talking. We had to wake up. It’s not like the regular season where you are promised another game,” Muller said. “For these seniors, this might be the last time they ever play football. We had to lock in and do what we do.”

Pomona had a pair of offensive drives stall, but the Panthers’ defense held the Sabercats scoreless in the second half.

“I’ve very proud of our defensive effort,” Johnson said.

Castle View wasn’t able to get a first down on its possession following the touchdown by Nichols. Pomona took over on downs and was able to run out the clock thanks to a big 20-yard run by Muller.

“We looked at ourselves in the mirror. We said we aren’t done yet,” Nichols said. “There is a reason why we are the No. 10 and they are the No. 23 seed. We needed to come out and play like it.”

Pomona knows it will have to play better on the road at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, at No. 7 Regis Jesuit (7-3 record) in Aurora.

“It’s a wake-up call for sure,” Muller said heading to Regis next week. “We know if we come out and play like we did tonight it won’t be a good game for us.”

Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.

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