Prep notebook: Palmer Ridge coach Lewis retires to spend more time with son, who has cancer

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Photo - Palmer Ridge took first place in state over Kent Denver 3-2 in a double overtime and shootout at All City Stadium in Denver on Thursday, October 26, 2017.  Photo by Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette
Palmer Ridge took first place in state over Kent Denver 3-2 in a double overtime and shootout at All City Stadium in Denver on Thursday, October 26, 2017. Photo by Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette

ñPaul Lewis is stepping down as the Palmer Ridge field hockey coach to spend more time with his son, who has cancer.

Lewis said his 17-year-old son Vaughn, diagnosed in July of 2014, has Stage 4 melanoma. The father said he wants more time with him during the school year.

“The medicine and things, the medical stuff, the coughing has been getting more and more,” Lewis said. “Need more time for sure.”

Lewis ended his successful 10-year tenure after the Bears won their first state championship in field hockey. Liz Phillips tallied the winner in the shootout to beat Kent Denver 3-2 on an icy Thursday at All-City Stadium.

Gold was the final hurdle for the Bears, who had come up just short in their previous six straight semifinals and three finals appearances.

“We’ve been close so many times,” Lewis said. “To finally get it was icing on the cake.”

Lewis said he will maintain his head position at USA Field Hockey and will stay with his club team, Club Lewy.

Air Academy football likely won't reach the playoffs, but the next best thing is now in reach.

The Kadets (5-4, 1-3 Southern League) could end the year with a winning record for the first time in nine years with a road win over Pueblo Centennial (1-8, 0-4) in the final week of the regular season.

Air Academy put itself in position with a 26-21 win over Mesa Ridge on “Senior Night” Friday.

“It’s huge, absolutely huge,” Air Academy coach Scott Grinde said. “Ending on a good note and having the opportunity to make some history, maybe not long-term history, but recent history, is a great accomplishment by these guys.”

DJ King threw for 244 yards and three touchdowns in the what could turn out to be a program-shifting win for the Kadets. Ju-wan Edgerton added 140 yards receiving and caught two TDs.

The Kadets led 21-0 at half and 26-7 in the fourth before holding on after a late Grizzlies rally. Mesa Ridge threw an incomplete pass in the end zone to end the game.

“I think the kids are starting to build that culture where they really love each other,” Grinde said. “They want to do it for each other.”

Air Academy has had eight losing seasons, including two winless campaigns, since it went 6-4 in 2008.

Cañon City is sitting in a good spot.

The Tigers improved to 8-1 on the year after Friday’s 48-7 win over Woodland Park and are currently slated fourth in the RPI playoff standings.

Prior to this, Cañon City missed the postseason in 2015 and 2016 with identical 4-6 records. Part of the reason for the improvement is a motivated senior class, coach Tom O’Rourke said.

“Our seniors have been great leaders for us and the upperclassmen have just followed them,” he said. “After losing so many close games last season I think it thickened their skin a little bit.”

Cañon City is behind Mead, Palmer Ridge and Roosevelt in the 3A playoff RPI standings. The Tigers will face Mitchell to end the regular season.

Did you see this? St. Mary’s football ended a 27-game losing streak with a 47-24 win over Lake County on Saturday.

The Pirates’ long line of defeats started with a 40-37 loss to Montezuma-Cortez in the first round of the postseason in 2014. Saturday’s win staved off a third straight winless season.