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Shadow Ridge celebrates 1st playoff win in 15 years

How do you celebrate a playoff win 15 years in the making?

After Shadow Ridge finished off Durango, 38-7, in Friday night’s Class 4A state quarterfinals, blue smoke poured from the Mustangs’ home bleachers. Players got in formation for a celebratory chant. Coach Travis Foster knew what was coming next — dashing to the locker room to avoid a Gatorade bath.

“It was a great experience for the kids, and this is a big step for the program,” Foster said. “It’s something that we’ve been chasing for a long time. … But we’re not done. We need to keep grinding.”

The playoff win was Shadow Ridge’s first since Nov. 3, 2006 — a 31-19 victory over Sierra Vista. The Mustangs (8-2) won’t have to wait long for the chance to make it two in a row, as the Mustangs will visit Las Vegas High next Friday night.

The Mustangs’ offensive line paved the way on Friday, as Shadow Ridge racked up 290 rushing yards. The lion’s share of that work went to Jaquieze Holland, who rumbled for 138 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.

“I love running behind those guys,” Holland said. “They’re always opening up holes. It’s great because there’s always a pancake block, and I can just get open.”

Holland got his team on the board first with a 1-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, putting the Mustangs up 6-0.

Durango (5-5) responded roughly five minutes before halftime with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Maverik Cormier to Sterling Lewis, giving the Trailblazers a 7-6 lead. That didn’t last long, though. On the next drive, Shadow Ridge quarterback Coen Nicholas Coloma ran it in from 7 yards, giving the Mustangs a 13-7 halftime lead.

It was all Shadow Ridge after that.

Early in the third quarter, Holland took a pitch from Coloma, broke a couple tackles and bulldozed his way into the end zone to make it a 20-7 game. Holland scored his third touchdown three minutes later, this time from 11 yards out. Another rushing TD shortly before the end of the quarter by Caleb Fisher put the game out of reach.

Ryan Murphy added a 33-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter, finishing off Shadow Ridge’s second win over Durango this season. The Mustangs beat the Trailblazers 17-15 on Sept. 3.

Cormier finished 9-for-29 for 109 yards for Durango.

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