The Paonia Eagles are Class 1A State Champions in football after beating out Centauri 32-24 on Saturday at Paonia Town Park.
The Paonia Eagles football team experienced transformation this season, going from an average team with an average record in 2012, to hosting the Class 1A championship game on Saturday.
The Eagles posted a 10-game winning streak on their way to a 12-1 ecord, upsetting rivals Hotchkiss and the defending state champion Cedaredge Bruins along the way. In the state semifinal game, Paonia trounced the #1 ranked Buena Vista Demons.
After giving away a run in the top of the first and allowing a second run in the top of the second, Paonia got down to business Tuesday night. The Eagles hit three homeruns and 12 RBIs to defeat visiting Nucla, 16-5, in game one of a non-conference double header.
In local high school sports, there's a long-standing tradition of celebrating state champions with a parade through town. On Wednesday, Paonia was honored for earning a second consecutive state title in wrestling.
At the Pepsi Center in Denver last week, Paonia had more wrestlers medal than most teams brought to the tournament. Head coach Andy Pipher worked his way through the weight classes Wednesday, surrounded by his team and from atop Paonia's Ladder One fire truck.
The state wrestling championship is just five weeks away. And while you'd have to travel to the Front Range to see those games, KVNF’s Tamie Meck reports that there are several opportunities in the coming days to see some of the best wrestlers in the state close to home.