There’s a special place in 1-3A football lore for Friday night games played between the Alpine Fightin’ Bucks and the Crane Golden Cranes. On Oct. 23, it wasn’t any different when the Bucks traveled to Crane for what was likely the game that would decide the eventual District champions.
The game was filled with back-and-forth big plays, momentous scoring swings, tragedy, and an end-of-the-game score for the win.
The game opened with Crane kicking off, and the Bucks getting a few yards in what might have been a good opening drive. A penalty set all of those hopes back, and the Bucks punted the ball. It was on this punt that the first lightning strike occurred as the Crane punt returner went 55 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was good, and Crane led early in the game.
Alpine came right back with a nice drive that lasted right at four minutes, and culminated in a nine-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jayden Canaba to Isaiah Nunez. Jarred Roggow added the point after, and the score was tied, 7-7.
Later in the second quarter, Canaba connected with Nunez again for a touchdown. This time the pass play went for 23 yards and the touchdown. The Fightin’ Bucks led 14-7, and kept that lead going into the locker room at halftime.
Crane stalled on their first possession of the second half, and punted. The Bucks didn’t waste any time when quarterback Jayden Canaba hit Brady Crump on an 88-yard touchdown pass to extend their lead to 21-7.
Crane converted a turnover and a punt into 14 quick points, and suddenly the game was tied, 21-21. Alpine came right back with 11 minutes to go in the game, and senior Allen Vargas took the ball into the end zone. The Jarred Roggow point after was good, and Alpine led, 28-21.
This would be the final lead of the night as the Bucks gave up 10 unanswered points, and lost in a tight game, 31-28.
Tragedy struck the entire Fightin’ Buck community at the end of the third quarter when Canaba suffered a season ending shoulder injury.
Canaba later told the Avalanche, “The team should just keep believing in themselves, and know that they’re good enough, and not let one game define them. We’re a really good team, and we have to just keep working and pushing.”
The Bucks return to Alpine to play their final home game of the season at Jackson Field against Odessa Compass charter school. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Senior Night.