LAKEWOOD — Wheat Ridge football coach Stacy Coryell is one of the few coaches who can give an impartial evaluation on the two top-ranked Class 4A football teams — Denver South and Chatfield.
“I think South is more physical,” Coryell said Saturday after his Farmers suffered a 50-0 loss to the CHSAANow.com’s No. 1-ranked and undefeated Rebels. “Chatfield is smoother and do what they do very well. It would be a good battle.”
Wheat Ridge (3-5, 2-1 in 4A Mountain League) saw No. 2 Chatfield a little more than a month ago. The Chargers put it on the Farmers in a 57-7 victory for the Chatfield at Jeffco Stadium.
Despite the 50-point loss to Denver South at Jeffco Stadium, Coryell believes the Farmers difficult schedule could play well in the new RPI system. Wheat Ridge’s tough schedule might very well get the Farmers into the postseason.
“Because we played such great teams we are still in the (playoff) hunt,” Coryell said. “Maybe 5-5 will get us in if South, Broomfield, Pueblo South, Chatfield and Dakota Ridge keep winning.”
The five teams that beat Wheat Ridge this season have a combined record of 32-8.
Denver South gave itself a one-game lead in the 4A Mountain League, along with likely be a top seed for the 16-team state tournament that begins in a few weeks.
“It’s very important,” Denver South senior Marcus Lindsay said of his team staying undefeated with two regular-season game remaining. “It helps with confidence and boost us up. It allows us to keep on rolling.”
Lindsay got the Rebels rolling Saturday afternoon. The tailback had 17 carries for 147 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. He had just one carry after halftime to finish with 159 yards rushing.
However, the first-half highlight wasn’t from Lindsay. Denver South senior Joe Arps stole the show in the early in the second quarter hauling in a tipped pass from Wheat Ridge quarterback Anthony Tate near midfield.
The defensive lineman sprinted 50 yards untouched for a South touchdown to put the Rebels ahead 20-0 with 9:08 left in the first half.
“I didn’t even know what was happening. I just put my hands up, the ball fell into my hands and started running,” said Arps, who also had a fumble recovering in the second half. “Once I caught the ball I knew I was going to score. I kept looking around and nobody was behind me.”
Denver South’s defense was dominate holding Wheat Ridge to less than 50 yards of total offense from scrimmage.
Wheat Ridge junior Payton Dietrich was nearing the 1,000-yard mark on the ground this season, but was held to 10 yards on 10 carries. Lindsay went over the 1,400-yard mark on the season and pushed his touchdown count to 18 on the season.
Lindsay described Wheat Ridge as South’s “biggest rivals.” The senior was also motivated from the Rebels losing to the Farmers a year ago.
“Most definitely,” Lindsay said when asked if the 35-34 overtime loss to Wheat Ridge last year was in the back of his mind. “We felt like they had a lot of luck in that game. This game we wanted to sure up our defense and make plays.”
Wheat Ridge had some momentum coming in riding a two-game winning streak after suffering three straight defeats heading into conference play.
“We are awfully young,” Coryell said after the game where the Farmers honored their eight seniors. “I’m not going to make excuses. We just didn’t show up to play today.”
Wheat Ridge closes out the regular season on the road against Thornton (noon Oct. 29) at Five Star Stadium before heading to the Western Slope for a conference game against Fruita Monument (6 p.m. Nov. 3) at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction.
Denver South, the lone undefeated 4A team, get another test from a Jeffco school at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at the North Area Athletic Complex. Standley Lake hosts the Rebels before Denver South wraps up its regular season at All-City Stadium against Thornton at 4 p.m. Nov. 4.
“Right now we are playing at a high level of football,” Lindsay said. “We are only going to continue to get better from here.”