The last two Montezuma Titans seasons ended in heartbreak at the hands of the Aztec Tigers.
The Titans were bounced by the Tigers from the first round of the Four Corners Young American Football League playoffs as third graders in 2014. And last season as fourth graders, the Titans fell to the Tigers in the YAFL Super Bowl.
That trend ended Saturday.
Playing in the fifth grade division this year, the Titans finished the regular season with a 6-1 record, with their only loss coming at the hands of the familiar Aztec team.
And after two playoff wins, they were set to face the Tigers once again, this time in the 2016 YAFL Super Bowl.
The Tigers jumped out to an early 13-0 lead on Saturday, and it appeared that they may crush the Titans’ spirits once more.
“I think it’s a mental thing,” said head coach Jarrod Wyatt. “We’d lost to those guys four times in a row, but we fought back and kept staying in there and finally turned the tide.”
Wyatt said that a big play on the Titans’ second possession sparked the team.
Trailing 13-0 and facing a 4th & 3 from around the Tigers 40-yard line, the Titans decided to go for it, and Jonathan Purkat broke away for a touchdown run to get the Titans on the board.
“Right there, they started believing we could play with those guys and we could beat them,” said Wyatt. “We just had to keep hammering away.”
After trailing 13-0, the Titans ripped off 24 consecutive points and held the Tigers scoreless to get their revenge and win the 2016 YAFL Super Bowl 24-13.
“They know what it felt like last year to work their butts off but then be so close and lose that big game,” said Wyatt. “This year they really wanted it, and the kids had the heart and they stayed in that game and fought through it all the way. I think it shows a lot about the kids and who they are and what they’re about.”