Football: Longmont’s Keegan Patterson dazzles in playoff win over Broomfield

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LONGMONT — Longmont quarterback Keegan Patterson totaled nearly 500 yards of total offense Friday night, but it was Broomfield QB Cole LaCrue with the ball in his hands in the final minute and the game still in the balance.

The Trojans defense made sure he wouldn’t spoil it.

Around midfield with a little over a minute remaining, LaCrue was sacked and his final throw was hurried as the No. 15 seed Trojans held on to beat No. 18 Broomfield, 25-22, in their opening round win in the Class 4A playoffs.

“We made some incredible plays when they had to be made on both sides of the ball,” Longmont coach Doug Johnson said.

Trailing 14-12 at half, Patterson used his legs to pick up a pair of key fourth-down conversions and the Trojans pushed their lead to two scores on Kale Derksen’s 1-yard rush with 6:37 remaining.

Broomfield responded with a quick TD connection from LaCrue to Blake Naranjo and added a two-point conversion to pull within three with 4:56 left.

Following a wayward Longmont punt attempt that ended up going for a pass completion short of the sticks, the Eagles’ final possession came with 1:19 remaining and no timeouts around their own 45.

A chance to tie or go ahead was thwarted.

“We got some really tough guys on our team,” Patterson said. “It starts up front with our O-line and our D-line, and our linebackers set the tone every week in practice. They set the tone of toughness and belief in us, and it builds off that and we believe we can beat anyone.”

And with Patterson helping lead the way, perhaps Longmont can.

The senior QB threw for roughly 311 yards, ran for 148 and scored three times.

His talent could be summed up in a single play.  While avoiding a heavy rush in the first half, he rolled to his right.

From there, he’d somehow escaped clean, stopped on a dime — ducked another oncoming tackler — before swiveling back left to hurl a pinpoint TD pass.

Poetry in commotion.

“I coach him pretty hard because he’s the guy,” Johnson said. “I’m always amazed. But I think my job right now is to push him because he’s got even more than he showed. But yeah, he’s the best quarterback I’ve ever coached.”

Following a strong start from Broomfield, the Trojans got on the board with a nine-play scoring drive. The finish saw Patterson — plays after finding Jack Moll for 44 yards — break one way, then the other, before hitting a wide-open Justice Lillie in the corner of the end zone for Lillie’s eighth TD reception of the season.

Patterson led them back down the field in the waning minutes before the break as his 2-yard TD run followed by a second consecutive failed two-point conversion trimmed the deficit to 14-12.

Before that, Broomfield opened the game with a 39-yard connection from LaCrue to Tristan Caudill that helped set up a 13-yard TD run from Kadin Quintana. LaCrue — who threw for roughly 174 yards and TD, and rushed for 64 and a score — added an 8-yard TD run to put the Eagles up 14-6.

The teams came into the postseason after facing each other in Week 2 — a game in which Longmont won 38-29 — and brought with them two of the best passing offenses in the classification, with Longmont ranked first and Broomfield third.

In reaching the postseason, meanwhile, each absorbed tough opening stretches only to rebound in strong finishes.

The Eagles, losing their first three games, started 1-4 before winning four of their last five games of the regular season to reach the playoffs for a sixth straight year.

The Trojans started 1-3, then won five straight to help secure an opening-round home game.

Longmont will be on the road in Round 2, facing No. 2 Dakota Ridge next week.

“We truly believe we can beat anyone in the state if we play well,” Patterson said. “We have to limit mistakes, limit costly mistakes, but as a team we are confident we can play with and beat anyone in the state.”