After three previous losses to Fleming including a forfeit this season, the Granada Bobcats hoped this would be the time that they would come away with a victory over the Wildcats.
In a Class A 6-man state semifinal showdown, the two teams squared off on Saturday, Nov. 19 with a berth to the 2022 state championship game on the line.
The fourth meeting between the two teams was a real barn burner as they traded touchdown punches back-and-forth.
No. 3 seed Granada came awfully close but fell short in a gut-wrenching loss to the No. 2 seed Wildcats.
The contest was tied 60-60 at the end of regulation and went into overtime before Fleming prevailed 68-60 to secure a spot in next week’s state championship game.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and have had some exciting wins, but this was by far the best,” Fleming coach John King said on the Coloradopreps.com Scoreboard Show. “Our kids just battled.”
In an offensive shootout, both squads seemed to score at will with some big plays after defensive breakdowns.
Fleming senior quarterback Braylen Feather had a huge game for the Wildcats. He completed 14-of-28 passes for 429 yards and 5 TDs.
Senior Blake Feather caught 4 passes for 127 yards and 2 TDs for Fleming. Wyatt Cochran, a junior, had 3 catches for 46 yards and 2 TDs while senior Kolten Houser had 1 catch for a 46-yard TD and Harry Harms had 3 receptions for 119 yards.
On the ground, Fleming had 204 yards rushing and 4 TDs.
Senior running back Nolan Japp was the leading carrier with 14 rushes for 158 yards and 3 TDs. Kolten Houser had 3 carries for 8 yards including a 1-yard TD.
No statistics were available for Granada but sophomore running back Maddox Coleman had an incredible game for the Bobcats.
He was involved in 5 touchdowns in the game.
In the second quarter, Coleman threw two TD strikes and returned a kick off for a 70 yard TD.
Coleman also scored on a 55-yard scamper in the third quarter and tallied on a 40-yard screen pass in the fourth quarter.
GRANADA had things going in the right direction in the first half as they held a 22-point lead, 38-26, at halftime and appeared in control.
However, that lead slowly evaporated in the second half.
In the first quarter, Granada held an 8-0 lead after the Bobcats scored on a 4-yard run by junior Jonus Guevara early in the quarter. The PAT failed.
Things heated up in the second quarter as the Bobcats outscored the Wildcats, 32-16.
Senior running back John Hainer hit paydirt on a 5-yard run. The PAT kick was good by Jose Sanchez for a 14-0 lead with 9:18 showing.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Bobcats’ defense held Fleming on a fourth down play.
Following a Granada punt, Fleming got on the scoreboard.
On the third play of the drive, quarterback Braylen Feather connected on a 65-yard pass completion to Harms before he was brought down at the Granada 1-yard line.
On the next play, Houser hit paydirt. The extra point kick was good by Blake Feather to bring the score to 14-8 with 4:14 left.
Granada struck quickly when on the first play, Coleman fired a 40-yard TD strike to Terrence Hainer. The PAT kick was good and the Bobcats went on top 22-8.
Fleming answered when they faced 4th-and-26 from the 27 and converted on a big play. Feather found Cochran on a wide open pass play for the score. The extra point kick was successful to make it 22-16 with 1:14 to go.
The Bobcats countered when Coleman returned the kickoff for a nifty 70-yard TD. Sanchez kicked the extra point for a 30-16 lead with a minute left in the first half.
Fleming was forced to punt and Granada took over on its own 37 with 45 seconds on the clock.
The Bobcats went to work and would score in three plays.
On the third play, Coleman was back to pass when he launched a long ball down the field. The pass was tipped by J. Hainer at the Fleming 25 and fortunately landed in the hands of Oryan Hainer who ran in for a 50-yard score as time expired. The extra point kick was good to make it 38-16 at intermission.
The tables turned in favor of Fleming in the second half.
Fleming fought back to outscore Granada, 22-8, in the third quarter and trail by just one score, 46-38.
The Wildcats scored on all three of their possessions in the quarter.
Fleming received the second half kickoff and struck paydirt in just two plays on a 66-yard TD strike to Blake Feather. The PAT kick was good to bring the score to 38-24 with 9:15 showing.
Granada came right back with a 55-yard scoring drive in 8 plays.
The drive was capped on a 55-yard TD run by Coleman. The kick by Sanchez was on target for a lead of 46-24 with seven minutes remaining.
It took one play for Fleming to score on its next possession.
Japp took it to the house on a 75-yard scamper. The extra point kick made it 46-32.
Following the ensuing kickoff, Granada marched the ball down the field where they faced 4th-and-goal at the Fleming 2-yard line.
On fourth down, a run by J. Hainer was stuffed for a big goal line stand for the Wildcats.
With three minutes left in the second quarter, Fleming drove down the field and capped another scoring drive on a 10-yard TD strike to Cochran. The extra point kick was blocked as the score stood 46-38.
The fourth quarter was more of the same.
Granada tallied with 7:19 showing on an 11-yard TD pass from Brandon Gonzales to Terrence Hainer. The kick was good as the Bobcats went ahead 54-38.
The Bobcats elected to attempt an onside kick and the gamble sort of backfired as Fleming took over in good field position at the Wildcats’ 35.
Fleming then struck in three plays on a 47-yard TD run by Blake Feather. The extra point kick was blocked and score was 54-44.
Granada answered when Coleman found the endzone on a 40-yard screen pass with 4:57 left. The PAT kick failed.
With Fleming trailing by 16 points (60-44) with just under five minutes to go Granada was unable to protect its lead.
The Wildcats scored 16 unanswered points to keep their hopes alive.
Japp rushed for his second touchdown of the game on a 5-yard run. The PAT kick was good and the Wildcats pulled within eight points, 60-52.
After the ensuing, Granada committed the first turnover of the game on an interception.
From the Fleming 17, the Wildcats faced a 4th down-and-4 situation at the Granada 36.
Following a timeout by Fleming, the Wildcats converted a huge play on a 36-yard TD strike to Blake Feather. An important extra point kick was successful and the game was tied at 60-60.
With 1:16 left in the game, Granada had one more opportunity to score and win the game.
From the Granada 26, the Bobcats drove the ball down the Fleming 20 where they faced 4th-and-5 with just seconds to go.
On a 4th down play, Granada’s opportunity went up in smoke when a pass was intercepted by the Wildcats in the endzone as the buzzer sounded.
IN OVERTIME, Granada went on defense.
From the 15, Fleming scored after three straight running plays all by Japp. He scored on a 5-yard run to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game. The extra point was good to bring the score to 68-60.
Granada then went on offense from the 15.
On first down, J. Hainer picked up 3 yards to the 12.
On second down, a pass fell incomplete to T. Hainer.
A pass to Guevara on third down moved the ball to the 7-yard line.
On fourth down, a pass was knocked away to preserve the win for Fleming to seal the deal.
Granada saw its season end with an 8-4 record.
The Bobcats were hoping to play in a state final for the first time since 2014. That year, Granada lost to Caliche, 34-32, for the 8-man state championship.
Fleming (10-2) will tackle No. 1 Stratton (13-0) in the state championship game on Friday, Nov. 25 at 1 p.m. at the CSU-Pueblo Thunderbowl.
Fleming and Stratton will square off in the 6-man title game for the third time in the past four years.
The Fleming football program has won four state championships and most recently in 2020.