LAKEWOOD — By ground or by air, it didn’t matter which way Columbine’s football team found its way into the end zone Thursday night at Jeffco Stadium.
The Rebels, No. 3 ranked in this week’s Class 5A CHSAANow.com poll, used two first-half touchdown passes from senior quarterback Mikey Griebel to junior Ted Mullin and a 2-yard scoring run by senior Tim Mullin to jump on 4A’s No. 1 Chatfield. Columbine (3-1) raced out to a 21-0 lead at halftime on the way to a 28-7 victory in the south-Jeffco rivalry game.
“I don’t really care if Chatfield is 5A or 4A, that is always going to be a good football program,” said Griebel, who also ran for a 1-yard touchdown run to ice the game in the fourth quarter. “We came in ready to roll tonight.”
Ted Mullin caught touchdown passes of 6 and 12 yards in the final three minutes of the first half to open up a 21-point lead at halftime. The older Mullin brother, Tim, started the scoring capping off a 12-play, 80-yard drive on the opening possession of the game.
“If it wasn’t for the Columbine run game I wouldn’t be able to go up and get those,” Mullin said of his touchdown catches. “Having a player like Mikey really puts the defense on their toes and allows for other guys to step in when they need to.”
Columbine’s defense was outstanding in the first half, allowing just three Chatfield first downs before halftime. The Chargers (3-1) had scored more than 50 points in their first three games.
“It took a lot of work to stop them on defense,” Columbine senior defensive end Bradley Kinzer said. “We played our assignments and if we do that it gets the job done.”
Chatfield came up with its most impressive drive of the game with a 96-yard drive that ended in a 1-yard touchdown run by Chatfield junior quarterback Colton Arne in the third quarter. The touchdown came after an interception by Chatfield junior Keland Rumsey.
However, Columbine answered with a signature scoring drive to seal the victory.
“It’s kind of what the doctor ordered,” Columbine coach Andy Lowry said of the Rebels’ 70-yard, 16-play scoring drive that ate up more than 10 minutes of the second half.
Ted Mullin nearly caught his third touchdown off the night, but the Rebels had no problem settling for a 1-yard touchdown run by Griebel with 6:37 left in the fourth quarter.
Griebel has three passing and five rushing touchdowns on the season, but gave a ton of credit to his offensive line when it came to the offensive success Thursday night.
“We kept preaching about putting the nail in the coffin,” Ted Mullin said. “That 10 minute drive and putting points on the board in the end really sealed the deal for us.”
Chatfield drove down inside Columbine’s 20-yard line in the final minutes thanks to a 52-yard run by senior Dalton Keene, but the Chargers eventually turned the ball over on downs.
“This isn’t the end of our season. We had three goals to the season — beat Columbine, make the playoffs and make it to state,” Keene said. “This was just one goal. We have a long season ahead of us.”
Chatfield’s last victory over its rival was back in 2009. The Chargers edged the Rebels 16-13. Columbine has now won seven straight in the south-Jeffco rivalry game.
Both Chatfield and Columbine have one final non-league game remaining before heading into conference play.
The Chargers head to Colorado Springs next week to face Widefield at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30. Chatfield then turns its attention toward play in the 4A Plains League that begins Oct. 7 at Jeffco Stadium against Golden.
“We can’t put our heads down after this,” Keene said. “We’ll regroup and hit it next week.”
The Rebels finish off non-league play hosting Denver East at 6 p.m. Sept. 29, at Jeffco Stadium. Columbine has the task of playing in one of the toughest 5A conferences — the Mt. Cameron League — that features three current 5A top-10 ranked teams in Columbine, Mullen and Fairview.
“Fairview and Mullen are going to be similar games to this,” Kinzer said. “We are definitely looking forward to those two and where we are going as a team.”
Conference play won’t be a picnic for the Rebels. Columbine starts with road games against No. 8 Fairview (Oct. 6) and No. 2 Mullen (Oct. 13).