Erie Football Season Ends with Hopes For The Next

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Ian McGuire, Writer

As the 2022-2023 Football season comes to an end, there are lots of memorable moments to look back on. Although Erie started the season with a record of only two and four, the Tigers rallied back with a seven game winning streak, which set them up with a shot at the playoffs. The resilience of this team was unmatched, as many within the program pointed out.

“We didn’t become a team, we became more of a family or brotherhood towards the end of the season, I think that’s why we were so successful,” says Erie’s quarterback, Blake Barnett. Barnett, a three-star recruit, is highly acclaimed coming off of his junior season. He has scholarship offers from CU, CSU, Kansas, Kansas State, Washington, and Oregon State. Even with this star power on the team, Erie fell short of the state championship game after a loss at Broomfield in the semi finals. 

“I thought it was a good season, ugly way to end it, though… That’s definitely one you lose sleep over,” he added painfully. After a close fought game, a trip to the state championship was on the line with Erie at the opposing one yard line. Down 32-36 with thirteen seconds left in the game, Barnett took the snap under center and went for a QB sneak. Although he had the initial push to power into the end zone, a Broomfield defender punched the ball out of Barnett’s grasp at the half-yard line. Broomfield recovered, then took a knee to run out the clock and end the game. 

“Being one yard away, that definitely hurts,” reflects Barnett. This last loss isn’t what defined the Tigers’ season, though. 

“I think that earlier this year, there were a lot of people that doubted us, and we were able to prove ourselves and what we’re capable of,” a senior on the team, Joey Watts says. 

More than anything, this season represents the fight and resilience of the team. After week six, while sitting at two wins and four losses, the team and Head Coach Jeff Giger knew that some changes had to be made. A couple of these changes were moving freshman coach Jordan Graff to defensive coordinator, and creating special packages to play to the strengths of the offense. These changes proved effective, as they took Erie to the semifinals for the second year in a row. 

This year, there was lots of young talent within the program, and many promising players set to develop into next year. The Freshman football team had a great season, and a few guys even moved up to varsity, including safety and running back Braylon Toliver. Not to mention, Blake Barnett will be returning for a big senior season. 

“We can make it back, I think we’ll make it back and win the semi-final and then we’ll go back to state and win it all,” Barnett added confidently. 

There’s a competitive fire in this team to look out for next year. And in case there was any doubt about that, Barnett says, three crucial words: “We’re not done.”