COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Ask any Discovery Canyon football player the score of last year's Palmer Ridge game.
They remember. 42-0. The Thunder, averaging more than 40 points a game in 2018, suddenly shut out by the eventual 3A state champs. After that fateful November day, a chip on the shoulder of many upperclassmen grew.
"Last year they gave it to us pretty good," Discovery Canyon senior running back Christian Call said. "It was tough to see the beating they put on us. This year it's finally time for them to see what it's like."
The Thunder and Bears both share an identical 8-1 record, winning all four league games on their schedule. Palmer Ridge,after back-to-back state titles, will be leaving the 3A classification (and consequentially, the Central league) in 2020. Head Coach Shawn Mitchell has led talented Thunder teams in the past, and knows his players have reason to play with revenge on their mind.
"A lot of these guys had a chance to play as juniors last year, and that [loss] leaves a bad taste in your mouth," Mitchell said Wednesday at practice. "Nobody likes to have that kind of beating on them.
"[Palmer Ridge] had an answer for everything we were doing. We have to have the answer this year."
Palmer Ridge and Discovery Canyon are separated by just a quick, 15 minute trip up I-25. Naturally, many players on both sides of the ball grew up playing sports together before branching off to their respective schools. Which means bragging rights, as well as a league title, is on the line.
"They've been having a lot of success," Call said, joking about the rival Bears. "I think it's time for them to come down a little bit."
The Bears and Thunder will meet at D-20 Stadium Thursday at 6:00 p.m. The winner of the game will be crowned 3A Central league champions.