For the first time in its short history, Pueblo West High School is a state champion.
Chaz Vaughan ran for one score and threw a touchdown pass with 27 seconds left Saturday as Pueblo West won its first state football championship with a 21-14 victory over Monarch in the Class 4A title game at Invesco Field at Mile High.
On third-and-1 from the Monarch 11-yard line, Vaughan rolled to his left and threw a bullet to Bo Martinez, who caught the ball and fell to the turf in the back of the end zone.
The play, one of only five passes sixth-seeded Pueblo West (12-2) attempted in the game, capped an impressive 62-yard, 11-play drive that began with 5:10 remaining.
Pueblo West, which finished 5-5 last year, won the state championship in only its second year competing in Class 4A. The Cyclones, who never won a playoff game before this season, also became the first school from the Pueblo area to appear in the classification's title game.
Monarch (12-2), the No. 9 seed from Louisville near Boulder, appeared in the championship for the first time since winning the 4A crown in 2002.
Vaughan finished with 33 yards on 3-of-5 passing and one touchdown. He also had 8 carries for 32 yards and one TD.
Monarch tailback Cale Soole led the game in rushing with 141 yards on 33 carries.
The Coyotes had just clawed back into the contest before Pueblo West's game-winning drive.
Monarch, which held its only lead (3-0) midway through the first quarter, tied the game at 14-14 on a 5-yard run by Sean Fox and a 2-point conversion on a pass from Derek DiCarlo to Nicolas Rothschild with 5:24 to play.
The Monarch score capped a 13-play, 61-yard drive that came after Pueblo West muffed a punt at its 41-yard line with 10:44 left.
The Cyclones offense, which had controlled the tempo most of the way, then managed to move the ball methodically down the field for the win.
Monarch appeared to have the momentum at the start of the game, taking the opening kickoff and driving to the Pueblo West 14-yard line in 12 plays.
But Pueblo West held its ground, limiting the Coyotes to a 31-yard Erik Henry field goal that gave Monarch a 3-0 lead with 7:03 remaining in the first quarter.
Monarch's defense was also stellar initially, allowing Pueblo West to gain only 13 yards before it had had to punt.
Everything changed three plays later when Soole fumbled at the Monarch 32-yard line.
Pueblo West capitalized, scoring on Vaughan's five-yard run that gave the Cyclones a 7-3 lead with 20 seconds to play in the period.
Monarch then went on a long drive, moving the ball from its 17-yard line to the Pueblo West 26.
But the Cyclones defense came up big on a fourth-and-1 play, and Pueblo West took over on downs with 5:49 to play in the first half.
Joe Torres finished Pueblo West's ensuing 74-yard, 16-play drive with a 2-yard run that gave the Cyclones a 14-3 advantage.
Monarch's Henry converted a 38-yard field goal as time expired, and the Coyotes trailed 14-6 at the half.
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