Comeback cats: Jaguars win opener over Falcons

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Rock Canyon junior quarterback Ryan Hommel sparked a three-touchdown comeback in the Jaguars’ Aug. 30 season-opening victory over Highlands Ranch at Shea Stadium.

The Jaguars can tote the confidence in their ability to respond from a deficit into the rest of the season after rallying to pull out a 24-21 victory over the Falcons in front of a standing-room crowd.

“I think we can always say we are never out of it,” said Brian Lamb, who earned his first victory as Rock Canyon’s new head coach. “We are always going to fight to the end and keep playing. We will hopefully be in good enough shape to win the fourth quarter and that’s what it is all about.”

Rock Canyon trailed 21-3 with 5:59 left in the third quarter but Hommel got untracked to spark the three-touchdown rally to pull out the win with 15-yard TD pass to Jack Lamb with 36.9 seconds remaining in the game.

John Riley’s 2-point conversion run gave Rock Canyon a 3-point lead after the Jaguars failed on a conversion attempt after second touchdown.

Highlands Ranch could not get past its own 40-yard line in the waning seconds.

Rock Canyon’s winning 67-yard touchdown drive took only 47 seconds and Hommel connected on two of three passes for 26 yards and scrambled twice for 19 yards including one run for 15 yards on a third-and-three play.

Hommel completed 12 of 28 passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns. Under heavy pressure from the Falcons’ defense, he hit on only one of 11 pass attempts early in the game.

“That’s part of being a quarterback,” said Hommel who passed for 1,462 yards during his sophomore campaign. “You have to do anything you can to help the team win. We knew we were down 20 points but we could come back. This will do a lot for us the rest of the season.”

Rock Canyon hosts Arvada West on Sept. 5 while Highlands Ranch entertains Ponderosa on Sept. 6 at Shea Stadium.

Highlands Ranch played a bunch of young players in going 2-8 last season but the Falcons looked like a team that benefitted from gaining experience until appearing to wear down late in the game.

Falcons junior quarterback Keaton Thames completed seven of 12 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns. At least two of his incompletions were passes he intentionally threw away. He also rushed for a touchdown as he was involved in all three of his team’s touchdowns.

Thames’ 74-yard TD strike to Eric Dynes in the third quarter appeared to give the Falcons a comfortable 18-point lead.

“I still had confidence,” said Lamb. “I knew we were making plays. We just had to shore up our mistakes. We made many mistakes in the kicking game and we definitely have things to work on.

“I felt we kept up the pressure and we slowly wore them down and started to gas them a little bit in the run game and finally in our pass game they couldn’t rush our quarterback as quick. We were able to get some passes off.”

Lamb replaced Tom Lynch as Rock Canyon football coach last March and said it “felt great” to get his first Jaguars win under his belt.

“We’re a young team with new systems,” he said. “We started from scratch almost like coaching freshman football. The kids have really worked hard, wanting to improve, wanting to get better, wanting to embrace what we want to teach them.”

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