PUEBLO – The Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl is less than two miles from Pueblo East’s campus. The Eagles have played regular season games at CSU-Pueblo’s stadium in 2017 and before.
So when CHSAA announced the ThunderBowl would be a permanent “neutral site” stadium for the 3A football state title games, East was licking their chops.
“Not that we didn’t have motivation before but us knowing that we would be one of the top teams in the state gave us more motivation to be able to play this game at home,” said East head coach Andy Watts.
The East Eagles (11-2) will try for their fourth state title in five years against the defending 3A champs Palmer Ridge Bears (11-2). Kick off set for 1pm.
“They call it a neutral site but this is a home game for Pueblo East,” said Ty Evans, Palmer Ridge senior quarterback. “And I don’t think I’m ruffling any feathers when I say that – it’s kind of obvious. We’ve always come into every game and felt like we are the most hated people in the stands. It’s worked for us up to this point.”
Since 2015, the Eagles have played four times at the Thunder Bowl and they like to say they’re undefeated there (they are, 4-0) but a title game takes the pressure to perform up a notch.
“I think our fan base will be loud and electric here,” East quarterback Luc Andrada said. “It definitely means something to us and it’s awesome having it here in our backyard.”
This will be a rematch from week 3 of the Friday Football Fever regular season when East topped Palmer Ridge 28-21 at Don Breese Stadium in Monument. The Eagle defense picked Evans off five times and limited him to 171 yards in the air.