Unified Football takes narrow win


Karen Manley

Members of the Unified team huddle on the sideline.

Isabella Mahal

On Wednesday October 3, the Fossil Ridge High School Unified Flag Football team took the field against Fort Collins High School at the Lambkins stadium. They took the 36-29 win in the last seven seconds of the game, and Fossil exhibited fantastic teamwork throughout the night.

Fossil began the game with possession of the ball, and freshman Ryan Schaefer put the Sabercats in scoring position, with a breakaway run that brought the ball to the twenty yard line. Then, freshman Jackson Maybon dodged the defenders to score the first touchdown of the night, and freshman Cooper McCollum received the extra point, to give Fossil the early 8-0 lead.

Unified Flag Football is scored a bit differently than tackle football. Each touchdown is worth seven points initially, and the team can gain an eighth point by moving the ball ten yards in one down, similarly to a two-point conversion in tackle football. There aren’t any field goals or safeties.

The Lambkins answered Fossil quickly, putting up seven points with a touchdown with seven minutes to go in the first half. However, Fossil battled, and senior quarterback David Van Skiver teamed up with senior receiver Robert Stone to execute a perfect touchdown pass and give Fossil a 15-7 lead. Just before the half concluded, Collins managed one more touchdown run. Despite junior defender David Knuckey’s best efforts, the lead going into halftime was only narrowly held by Fossil, 15-14. 

Karen Manley
Senior Robert Stone runs the football for Fossil.

During halftime, both teams set their rivalry aside to hype up the crowd with a joint cheer. Performing the classic “Let me see your alligator” cheer, the Unified cheer teams got the fans in the bleachers involved in supporting the sport.

As the second, twenty minute half resumed, the Lambkins came out strongly and seized a lapse in Fossil defense to score eight points, taking a 22-15 lead. Fossil’s Knuckey, however, almost immediately answered this with a touchdown run of his own, which tied the score at 22-22 with seven minutes to go in the game.

In the last four minutes, the game was neck and neck. The Lambkins added one more touchdown to the scoreboard, and Knuckey once again came through for the Sabercats with seven points, so the scoreboard showed 29-29 with a minute and a half remaining. The energy on the field was noticeably escalated in those last moments, as Fossil took the field with the ball at their own ten yard line. The clock wound down to show just seven seconds, and sophomore Jaden “JP” Parker broke away from the defense to run the length of the field and score one final touchdown, giving Fossil the win.

After the game, Parker expressed that scoring the final touchdown of the game, “felt amazing. It felt so clutch.” He enjoys playing for the Unified team because of the “camaraderie, and the competitiveness, and playing for my school.” He plans to play Unified Basketball when the season begins this January.

Knuckey, meanwhile, scored two touchdowns and made some key defensive plays during the game. He explained that he “loves hanging out with everybody and scoring points.” He believes that Fossil is going to perform “extremely awesomely” in the remaining games of the season. The Sabercats will be taking the field this Saturday, October 6, at Fossil for the regional tournament, so make sure to come support your team.