Coming into the 56th annual Cannon game, the confidence of both the Pueblo South Colts and Pueblo East Eagles was about as high as it could be for the two teams. Both entered the game without a loss. The Eagles were 2-0 after their first two games, and the Colts were 1-0 after beating Ponderosa 35-0 last Friday.
On Friday they turned their attention to each other with the Colts outlasting the Eagles 34-20 in what felt like a 12 round fight.
For three and a half quarters, the Colts and Eagles battled back and forth until Colts’ senior quarterback Nate Spinuzzi hit junior tight end Isaiah Pannunizo with a 20 yard touchdown pass to extend their lead to 14 points. It was too big a lead for the Eagles to try and overcome.
Spinuzzi, who is known as a throwing quarterback, really struggled on the night, completing only 9 of 21 pass attempts for 107 yards. He had two interceptions and the one, late touchdown pass to Pannunzio. From the start of the game, Spinuzzi and the Colts’ passing game were off.
Colts head coach Ryan Goddard recognized the problem, and as the game went on, he leaned on Spinuzzi’s running game more. Spinuzzi had a 100 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 16 carries, with one touchdown for 21 yards on fourth down. The Colts pushed ahead 14-7 with 58 seconds left in the first half and never looked back.
At halftime, the Colts had all of the momentum, but that didn’t last long. The East Eagles came roaring out to open the half with a 35 yard run by their quarterback Daniel Martin, who also had a big day on the ground, rushing for 135 yards on 16 carries. The run by Martin was all the Eagles needed to get them energized. After the big run, they marched down the field and Martin made another big run with a 16 yard touchdown to cap off the Eagles’ 80 yard drive.
Even with the touchdown, the Eagles still trailed. Instead of electing to go for the extra point, Eagles head coach David Ramirez decided to try carrying that momentum and go for two to taking the lead. Martin kept the ball on a sweep to the right side, but the Colts were ready and stopped him short, giving all the momentum back to the Colts.
Using that momentum, the Colts scored twice in the third quarter to take a 26-13 lead to start the fourth.
Like true east-siders, the Eagles didn’t quit. They charged down the field and scored on a two-yard touchdown run by Martin early in the fourth quarter, cutting the Colts’ lead to six with just over eight minutes left.
The Eagles needed a defensive stop, but the Colts scored again in less than three minutes on Spinuzzi’s best throw of the night to Pannunzio, sealing the victory.
This is the second straight Cannon game victory for the Pueblo South Colts as they handed their archrivals, the Pueblo East Eagles, their first loss of the season.