By James Bartolo
This Friday night will be another historic night in Pueblo high school football history.
Starting at 7 p.m., the Pueblo East Eagles and South Colts will duel in “The Cannon Game” at Dutch Clark Stadium for the 58th consecutive year.
The Eagles may have kept the coveted cannon painted East Eagle gold for the past two years and have possessed the Colorado High School Sports Association (CHSSA) 3A State Title for the past three, but this year they are enter this week with a 0-4 record.
To East’s credit, however, the teams on their schedule have been anything but walks in the park.
This season the Eagles have suffered their losses on the road against Longmont, to a pair of undefeated teams in the Pueblo West Cyclones and Canon City Tigers, and in a 35-34 overtime rematch of last year’s State Title game against Discovery Canon.
Despite their slow start this season, the team still looks promising. Senior defensive end Jon Lujan has recorded a sack in three of his first four games, junior Kain Medrano has 254 receiving yards with five touchdowns, and junior quarterback Luc Andrada has already thrown for 681 yards.
“We expect Luc to be the best leader he can be on and off the field.” East Head Coach Andrew Watts said of Andrada, who has the team’s starting job for the second consecutive year.
With the South Colts, the Eagles may face one of their strongest opponents yet, but Watts is confident in his team.
“Against South, we just need to execute to the best of our abilities for four quarters.” Watts said.
The 4A South Colts’ have gotten off to an impressive start for the 2017 season. They started their season with a pair of blowouts by shutting out Wheat Ridge 42-0 and Pueblo Centennial 35-0.
The Colts’ first and only defeat thus far came during week three in double overtime against Pueblo West. Despite the loss, South quarterback Zach Cozzolino threw 5 of his season total 17 touchdown passes in that game, with four of them being to wide receiver Marcell Barbee.
The week after allowing 55 against Pueblo West, the South Colt defense was able to recover by allowing just seven points in a 49-7 win over Coronado.
The Colts are led by a core of seniors including Cozzolino, Barbee, running back Steve Brock, and wide receiver Thomas Pannunzio.
“We have really good children who have worked extremely hard at improving and creating a culture. They really believe in the things we are doing.” South Head Coach Ryan Goddard said.
Will this be the year that South repaints the cannon black? Or will the Eagles secure the cannon and their first win of the season Friday night?