Three weeks ago, Ian Fletcher sat in the bleachers in the Pine Creek gym as the school honored its boys’ soccer team, fresh off its stunning Nov. 9 state-championship victory over Rock Canyon.
The year before, Fletcher played on the soccer team, but probably never imagined that the Eagles would ascend to such heights.
Still, he tried to enjoy the moment. After all, his ride as the kicker on the football team was just beginning.
The former two-sport athlete had his moment in the sun with his football comrades Tuesday, three days after his Eagles whitewashed Montrose, 49-14 in the 4A state championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Fletcher made all seven extra points, part of a season in which the senior made 36 of 38 extra points.
“I love the guys on the soccer team, of course,” Fletcher said Tuesday morning. “If I was going to have one last sports season at Pine Creek, this is the group of guys I wanted to be with. It was a tough decision after playing both sports during my junior year. And yeah, there was definitely some crap I got, people asking if I regretted not playing soccer now.”
Fletcher was part of a Broncos-type offense that makes its living scoring touchdowns, not field goals. Oddly enough, Pine Creek went the entire season without Fletcher kicking one field goal. On his only attempt, way back in Week 1 on Aug. 29, he lined up for a potential game-winning field goal try of 25 yards in a 14-14 game against Fountain-Fort Carson.
The snap slipped through his holder’s hands, and Fletcher never got the kick away. As it turned out, the Eagles’ defense held on the ensuing possession, and its offense produced the winning score with 1:11 left. A safety in the final minute added to the 23-14 win.
“There were some times we thought about kicking field goals,” Fletcher said. “Our offense was good enough to punch it in on fourth down. I’m glad I ended up here.”
So, too, was soccer coach Ben Corley, even if that meant missing Fletcher’s personality and talent from his squad.
“He wanted to focus on perfecting his kicking, and it worked out great,” Corley said. “I’m glad he was able to experience winning state, too.”
- Kevin Carmody