Manitou Springs outlasts St. Mary's

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It didn’t matter that the Manitou Springs football team faced a squad that hadn’t captured a win in three years.

Early in their season opener against St. Mary’s on Friday night, the Mustangs looked at the scoreboard and saw that they were down.

Nonetheless, the Mustangs prevailed — thanks to two unanswered touchdowns in a 14-7 win over the Pirates at Grace Center in Colorado Springs. Manitou Springs quarterback Cole Sienknecht threw 9-for-19 for 180 yards and two touchdowns while he rushed for 106 yards.

But the Pirates (1-0) finished knowing that night could have been different.
St. Mary’s (0-1) came out as if its past never happened. Quarterback Tyler Englert engineered a 12-play, 57-yard drive capped off by a 7-yard touchdown throw to Mason Pepper to give the Pirates a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.
“Any team that’s down would be a little worried, playing down and trying to catch up, but we stuck with what we had to do,” Sienknecht said. “We all stayed together as a family and backed each other up. We kept on fighting.”

Archuleta said, “They came out and smashed us in the mouth early and we had to try to respond and we did a little bit.”

It didn’t take long for the Mustangs to answer back. Sienknecht threw for two touchdowns in the second quarter — a 10-yard throw to Jace Gwynn and went for 57 yards to Jayden Omi. The latter play set up a successful two-point conversion.

“They’re going to win a few games, if not more than that, this year, because of the way those kids battled,” Manitou Springs coach Cory Archuleta said. “They’re very well coached.”