Eighth-ranked Arapahoe was poised to escape with another slim win. Only, no one told Lakewood.
The Tigers' Anthony Brown returned a punt 48 yards to Arapahoe's 7-yard-line with under two minutes to play. Quarterback Casey Nicholls scored what turned out to be the winning touchdown on a sneak two plays later in a 46-39 upset.
Arapahoe needed overtime to beat Mullen last week. This week, the Warriors rallied from a 32-23 halftime deficit to take a 39-32 lead. But Lakewood dialed up a wide receiver pass to Tevin Lucas on third-and-17 to tie the game at 39 with 6:50 to play. The Tigers forced Arapahoe to punt on the ensuing drive, setting up Brown's big return.
Lakewood improves to 2-5 this season, while Arapahoe falls to 5-2.
Elsewhere in 5A, No. 10 Cherokee Trail shook off some first-half rust to rally and beat Grandview 21-7. The Cougars trailed 7-0 at the break.
"We're happy with how we played in second half,"coach Monte Thelen told ColoradoPreps.com’s Built Ford Tough Scoreboard Show on Friday night. "Beating Grandview at any time is a great achievement for us, so we feel good about our performance, especially in the second half tonight."
Cameron Smith rushed 22 times for 132 yards and two scores for Cherokee Trail. Quarterback Aric Johnson was 9-of-18 with 121 yards passing.
Cherokee Trail turned the ball over three times in the first half, and also had a touchdown called back due to a penalty.
"We're really happy with how our defense played the entire game to be honest with you, because we put them in a number of negative situations in the first half," Thelen said. "They were able to come through. We just felt like if we could calm down and play our game in the second half that we could definitely get back into the game. We were fortunate to be able to do that."
In 4A, No. 6 Falcon rebounded from a tough loss last week to Pine Creek to come back and top Ponderosa, 24-14. The Falcons scored the game's final 24 points.
"What was interesting is that it was like a reciprocal of our game last week with Pine Creek," co-head coach Brian Green told the Scoreboard Show. "We were up at half and Pine Creek came storming back. We kind of followed their same formula to victory this week.
"It was really just coming out and making plays. We made some good defensive plays that put us in position to score and kind of capture the momentum early in the third quarter and never looked back after that."
Running back Kalen Ballage carried the ball 21 times for 68 yards and a touchdown. Justin Barron also had a rushing score, but the game turned on Dylan Cutkomp's 51-yard interception return for a touchdown.
"That one put us on top, and we just carried that wave of momentum to the finish line," Green said.
Eighth-ranked Mead stayed unbeaten in the 3A ranks with a 41-14 win over Northridge. Quarterback Griffin Nelson was 19-of-28 for 195 yards and two scores, while the Mavericks also racked up 415 yards and four scores on the ground.
"I was really proud of the fact that we rushed the ball really well tonight," coach Jason Klatt told the Scoreboard Show. "And Griffin was just a real leader tonight. He hung in there and threw a bunch of key completions that kept drives alive and it was just a great all-around win."
Mead is now 6-0, but isn't worried about any outside pressures.
"That's been a big question that we didn't really know how that was going to go, but we have a senior-led group that is very resilient," Klatt said. "They've bought into what we're telling them and they are beginning to be mentally tough to where we don't listen to that stuff and we're not concerned about outside stuff and Wild Card points and all that stuff. The only thing that we can control is our attitude and our effort. That's what we're doing right now."
Holy Family, ranked No. 6 in 3A, needed a stop of a two-point conversion to season a 20-19 win at Erie.
"They had a great drive, they put together a couple of plays, and they went for the two-point conversion," coach Mike Gabriel told the Scoreboard Show. "It came down to I think about the 1-inch line, but we kept them out of the end zone."
Holy Family is 3-0 since a crushing 45-14 loss to Silver Creek on Sept. 20.
"I think Silver Creek kind of revealed some stuff to us as a staff that we needed to work harder in practice and challenge the kids more in practice and just get after it a little more," Gabriel said. "We've changed things, and the kids have responded. We're starting to see the results."
In all, Week 7 has belonged to the ranked teams. Ranked teams are 43-4 against unranked opponents across all classifications through Friday's games.