Editor’s note: After the latest issue of Mile High Sports Magazine went to press, LaCrue led the Eagles to the Class 4A state football championship. The online version of the story has been updated to reflect that win.

Fresh off helping the Broomfield Eagles claim the Class 5A state baseball championship, Cole LaCrue was sitting on a plane when a fairly obvious thought crossed his mind.

Winning a title in football would be great, too.

The plane he was on was taking him to Texas, the holy land of high school football in America. He was heading to a camp where he would showcase his skills in hopes of coming out of his senior year with big-time football scholarship.

More on that later.

He had decided that he had a more important short-term goal in mind. Broomfield hadn’t won a state football title since 1984. Coming off a 5-6 year, they didn’t exactly head into the 2022 season as championship favorites. Heck, no one would’ve even identified the Eagles as championship contenders.

The Eagles played 14 games through the course of the 2022 season, winning every single one of them including the state championship game.. They entered the 4A playoffs as the No. 2 seed and yet, somehow, LaCrue felt like pundits were still discounting their chances of making a title run.

“I still think we’re underrated,” LaCrue said. “I still think people are going to doubt us and still people are going say stuff about us. Our motto this whole year is when we’re just going to shock the world.”

LaCrue has been a big reason for that. After winning a state baseball title, he gathered his football guys and he got to work. The results have been undeniable and a big reason why the Broomfield quarterback is the Mile High Sports High School Athlete of the Year.

It’s always tough to look at the landscape of a sport like football and identify one kid who checks all the boxes of this award, especially when looking at a position as high-profile as quarterback. The thing is, LaCrue can’t really be labeled as a quarterback. Sure, it’s the position that he plays, but on the field he’s more of a playmaker than anything.

(Doug Ottewill/Mile High Sports)

“Our offense is a balanced offense,” LaCrue said. “We’re primarily a run team and when I’m getting the ball in my hands, I know I have to make a play. I’m a gamer and I’m a winner. A playmaker is how I describe myself.”

There are a few ways to confirm that declaration. For print magazine purposes, it’s easy to point to stats. LaCrue has threw for 2,647 yards and 26 touchdowns and was picked off just six times.

He adds another 808 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns. In a highly publicized game against area rival Erie, LaCrue scored four rushing touchdowns. In another big game against Dakota Ridge, he ran for 148 yards and three scores.

When things got tight against a tough Heritage team, he threw for 250 yards and a touchdown to lead his Eagles to a 17-14 win to cap an undefeated regular season.

He wasn’t quite as good in the 4A quarterfinal rematch against Heritage as he threw for just 198 yards and ran for nine. But he didn’t have to be as good. The rest of the team balled out and helped Broomfield come away with a 46-0 win, a victory that included three pick sixes. That was a win that had seeds planted in the summer and the preseason when LaCrue helped rally the team and get the players into workouts so they could develop into winners come playoff time.

“Cole’s a big part of bringing those younger players along this past offseason through the weight room, through summer seven-on-seven and those types of things,” coach Blair Hubbard said. “So, I think his leadership and bringing those younger guys up to maturity is a thing that’s really helped us this season.”

And it certainly hasn’t been a one-off deal. What has made LaCrue special for his team and for high school football in Colorado is that he was a natural winner from the moment he stepped on the field.

Dating back to his sophomore year, he found himself in a tough spot but rather than worry or complain, he just played his style of football and set the tone for what his career would be for the next two years.

“The very first game that he played for us his sophomore year, we were in a situation where he was competing with another older player for the starting position,” Hubbard said. “And I told them that I was going to start the older player, he would play the first quarter and Cole, you’re going to play the second quarter as a sophomore.

“We were down by two touchdowns and Cole came in and he wasn’t nervous. He wasn’t panicked. The moment wasn’t too big for him, and he brought us back from behind. So I saw that competitiveness, that desire to excel from day one.”

It’s a desire that LaCrue puts on display on a regular basis. He has learned in his time as quarterback of the Eagles and as a state championship baseball player that results don’t just happen. Playing a sport for the sake of playing a sport can be fun. But one’s ability on the field and the ability of a team to collectively win is rewarding.

Whatever he does in the weightroom, or however dominant his statistical achievement might be, there’s a toughness to LaCrue that con only be illustrated by what he’s done since Nov. 29, 2020. That might seem like an arbitrary date, but it’s most certainly not. That’s the date his 46-year-old father, Joe, passed away from complications of COVID. Joe was placed on a ventilator on Nov. 20; Cole, then just a sophomore, played in the first round of the state playoffs the very next day. His Eagles put up a good fight against Loveland, who ultimately went on to win the 4A title.

His talents are obvious, but perhaps it was the resolve that he displayed in the toughest of conditions that convinced Wisconsin to offer him a full-ride football scholarship. LaCrue committed to become a Badger this November, almost two years to the date his father passed away.

LaCrue is a high school senior and there is no doubt that he likes to have his fun while playing football and baseball.But it’s getting to the level where he plays now that has truly made his journey a rewarding one.

“Whenever someone tells me they need to see something [out of me] I just say, ‘okay’ and I get to work,” LaCrue said. “I’m not a guy that’s going to complain or brag that I do this, this or this. I’m a guy that says, ‘sounds good’ and I go put in the work. That way I can be better overall in bigger situations.”

And he’s been in plenty of big situations and has found a way to thrive in them. Broomfield went through the 2022 regular season undefeated and LaCrue was routinely featured in 9News Preps highlight packages. There have been more than a few standout quarterbacks in Colorado this year. But LaCrue is not a player who can get lost in that shuffle.

His play on the football field has helped him standout. When adding in a state baseball title, there is little doubt that he is the top athlete Colorado has seen in the last year.



Hadley Ashton
Erie, girls golf

(Dan Mohrmann/ColoradoPreps.com)

It wasn’t long ago that a freshman out of the Broomfield/Erie/Lafayette area won a state title and looked capable of becoming the first golfer – boy or girl – to become the first four-time champion. That girl was Hailey Schalk. Ashton is one of Schalk’s best friends and might be able to do what COVID-19 wouldn’t allow Schalk to do in 2020. Her win at Tiara Rado in Grand Junction was convincing and her game will only be getting better over the next three years. To make the individual win even better, her score paced the Tigers to a team victory at the 4A state tournament.

Lauren Betts
Grandview, girls basketball

There’s a reason that Betts was the No. 1 recruit in the nation, and she backed up those reasons by helping the Wolves win the Class 5A state title in March. She averaged a double-double and had four of them in her final five games of the year, all playoff games. The only game she didn’t get one was the state championship game against Valor Christian, but her 13 points and nine boards helped the Wolves get the win and capture the state title.

Daniel Cardenas
Pomona, wrestling

(Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

The state wrestling tournament returned to Ball Arena and with the return came a new member of the four-timer’s club. Cardenas needed just about three-and-a-half minutes to pin Douglas County’s Justin Kelchen to become the 30th four-time state champion in Colorado history. What made the win even sweeter for him and his school is that of all the four-time champions, this was the first one to ever do it while wearing a Pomona singlet.

Nathan Gold
Kent Denver, boys tennis

(Dan Mohrmann/ColoradoPreps.com)

Gold didn’t even have his driver’s license when he claimed his second No. 1 singles title at Pueblo City Park. Yet, he refused to take his foot off the gas. He won the championship final 6-0, 6-0 in a match that lasted a mere 45 minutes. “Nathan would have won a pro tournament today,” Niwot coach Aimee Hites said in amazement. Gold has established himself a top player not just in Colorado but in all of the USA. He is the top-ranked junior player in Colorado and is ranked 72nd in the country for his age bracket.

Cam Lowe
Lewis-Palmer, boys basketball

(Dan Mohrmann/ColoradoPreps.com)

In some ways, Joe Scott is one of the smartest basketball coaches in the state. Just across I-25 and a couple miles up the road, he found himself a hooper that figures to be a mainstay in Air Force’s rotation over the next four years. Lowe averaged 18 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists to help lead Lewis-Palmer to the 4A boys basketball championship last March. As his skill developed, so the did the desire of the Air Force Academy to keep him close to home. That goal was attained, and Lowe now suits up for Joe Scott and the Falcons.

Brooke Wilson
Valor Christian, cross country

(Dan Mohrmann/ColoradoPreps.com)

How long would it take you to run 3.1 miles? A fair bet would be north of 20 minutes which isn’t bad. Unless you’re Brooke Wilson. She crossed the finish line in 16 minutes, 59.2 seconds, a Class 5A course record at the Norris-Penrose Event Center. The Eagles came up short of the team championship, but they still ruled the day thanks to the Wilson’s run which now stands in a class of its own.