BY: Brad Cochi/

The reigning 8-man football state champions were prepared for a challenge on Saturday in the semifinals of the state playoffs.

Facing a likewise unbeaten team in Simla, it was clear the No. 1 Haxtun Bulldogs were facing one of their toughest opponents to date despite playing a gauntlet of ranked opponents that included a Class 1A team. The fourth-seeded Simla Cubs delivered that challenge, and then some.

In arguably the upset of the state playoffs, the Cubs grabbed and early lead and held it until the end of a 27-20 and a win over a dominant Haxtun team that appeared destined to head back to the state championship game.

"I'm super proud of the kids and the coaches," Simla head coach David guy said on the Scoreboard Show. "The coaches put together a good plan. The kids just flat executed it better than I could have ever dreams. Credit to Haxtun. Class kids. Class coaches. I mean, they are something else. Sometimes it's a one-in-a-hundred shot and you gotta take your shot. I guess today it was that one time."

The loss snapped a 26-game win streak for Haxtun and sent Simla back to the 8-man title game for the first time since 1995. The Cubs last won the title in 1985 when the Simla football team when won five championships in six years from 1980-85. 

Between Haxtun and Simla, the two teams outscored their first-round and quarterfinals opponents by a combined 167 points.

The Haxtun football team is still sixth all-time with eight state championships, including the title they claim with a 40-0 victory over Mancos in last year’s championship game. It was Haxtun's first state title since 2004.

No. 2 Dove Creek will face No. 4 Simla in the state championship game next Friday at the CSU-Pueblo Thunderbowl.