Those young volunteers throwing mini-footballs to fans after every Legend score could have left at halftime Oct. 10 during the Titans' Pioneer League contest against Heritage.
Legend provided souvenirs for many fans at Sports Authority Stadium in Parker during the first half, taking a 37-7 halftime lead, but then had to hold on for a 37-29 triumph over Heritage.
“It was very much a tale of two halves,” said Legend coach Rob Doyle. “Everything went just as we planned in the first half.
“We just mentally didn't come out as focused as we should have in the second half. They got some great opportunities and took advantage of them. They got some turnovers in the second half. We were kind of hanging on.”
Heritage capitalized on two turnovers, ran off 22 consecutive points and was driving for the possible tying points in the final two minutes.
However, Sam Beyer recovered an Eagles fumble after a completed pass at the Titan 9-yard line with 1:08 to play to preserve the Legend victory.
“We had a one-word halftime talk and it was called guts,” said Heritage coach Mike Griebel. “We came out and showed it in the second half. If it would have been 40 minutes of that it would have been a different outcome.
“We didn't get it done the first half. That's a good team and we got too far behind. I was proud how hard our kids fought in the second half. We gave ourselves a chance at the end.”
In the first half, the Titans came out passing and built a commanding advantage.
“We like to go deep,” explained Doyle. “We thought we could go vertical and it worked for us the first half. The second half we were just off a little bit on some of those things.”
Legend's junior quarterback Peyton Remy threw three touchdowns passes and ran for two others. He wound up completing 14 of 23 passes for 298 yards. He did throw two interceptions in the second half.
“The first half went really well,” recalled Remy. “We knew exactly what they were going to do defensively and we took advantage of it. Our mental focus was way off in the second half. We were just content with what we had. Thank God we came out on top.”
Elijah Cherrington caught three passes for 133 yards, including an 87-yard TD reception. He also had a 51-yard punt that was downed at the Eagles 1-yard line that eventually led to a safety.
Heritage ran 43 plays compared to 16 for the Titans in the second half but Legend's defense bent but didn't break.
“Our defense was out there the whole second half,” said Doyle. “They played great. You are going to be tired when you are out there the whole time. We were happy with our defense.”
Pioneer League tackles leader Keagan Anderson paced the Titans' defense with 18 total tackles.
Legend, 5-2 overall, moved into a second place tie behind Fountain Fort Carson in the Pioneer League with a 3-1 record. The Titans have games remaining against Rock Canyon (Oct. 18) and Castle View (Oct. 25).
“This is our first time to have five wins in the regular season,” pointed out Doyle. “It keeps us in the hunt. We're right in there. If Fountain Fort Carson losses, we'll be right there.”
Heritage, 3-4 overall, fell to 2-2 in the league with remaining games at home against Castle View Oct. 18 and Oct. 24 versus Fountain Fort Carson.
Senior running back Rob Sublette rushed for 153 yards on 24 carries and scored once for the Eagles against Legend. Freshman quarterback Mikey Griebel also contributed to Heritage's ground attack with 56 yards.