Fountain-Fort Carson blocks Doherty's comeback attempt

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Photo - Fountain-Fort Carson senior Eric Donnell pushes a Doherty Spartan player out of the way while running up field at Fountain-Fort Carson on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. 

(The Gazette, Nadav Soroker)
Fountain-Fort Carson senior Eric Donnell pushes a Doherty Spartan player out of the way while running up field at Fountain-Fort Carson on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. (The Gazette, Nadav Soroker)

He was just trying to make a good defensive stop.

It wasn't until later that Fountain-Fort Carson's Jarett Cruz realized that his play would be a game-changer.

The senior blocked an extra-point attempt by Doherty that ultimately saved the Trojans' 35-26 football win Friday night at Guy R. Barickman Stadium in the battle of two solid Class 5A teams. The victory also moved Fountain-Fort Carson to a winning record at 3-2.

Meanwhile, the Spartans dropped to 3-2 after winning their two previous games.

Doherty cut the Trojans' lead to 28-20 with about five minutes left in the third after Julian Cooks scored the second of his three touchdowns, this one from the 3-yard line. That's when Cruz stepped in with some defensive heroics, maneuvering past the Spartans' offensive line to block the extra-point kick attempt.

"I didn't think it was going to be the difference maker," Cruz said. "I'm always there to make plays. I'm always there trying to do my job."

With five minutes left in the game, Cooks scored another short touchdown to cut the deficit to 28-26. However, the Spartans didn't simply go for a kick attempt.

Cooks got the ball again during the 2-point try, and the F-FC defenders were there to stop him.

"That changed the way they called things at the end," Trojans coach Jake Novotny said.

The Trojans got on the scoreboard first.

After recovering a fumble on the Doherty's 20-yard line, it took the Trojans just two plays to score, including a 9-yard touchdown pass from Eric Donnell to Jarren Sly. It gave F-FC a 7-0 advantage about 30 seconds into the game.

The Spartans tied it up at 7-7 early in the second quarter, thanks to a 10-play drive that started in the first and ended with a 1-yard score by Julian Cooks.

Donnell then had an 82-yard kick return, which eventually set up a 24-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Elliott and put the Trojans ahead 14-7. Doherty's Gage Vanaman tied it up with an 8-yard score before Donnell connected with Elliott again on a 30-yard touchdown to give the Trojans a 21-14 halftime lead.

It was a back-and-forth game until the pivotal blocked kick.

Donnell later scored a late fourth-quarter touchdown.

"It's a definitive win for us," Novotny said, "especially after some adversities with injuries and different things. I'm proud of the kids."