Lakewood football claws past Jeffco rival Bear Creek

Lakewood senior Ezekiel Sundberg (3) rushed for almost 150 yards and threw a pair of touchdowns Thursday against rival Bear Creek. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

LAKEWOOD — Lakewood’s one-two quarterback punch is working out so far this season.

Senior Ezekiel Sundberg and junior Pierce Holley shared the signal-caller roles against Jeffco rival Bear Creek on Thursday night at Jeffco Stadium. Everything worked out with the Tigers (2-0 record) grabbing a 28-14 victory.

“I personally think having those two (quarterbacks) is amazing,” Lakewood junior Kegan Hufford said. “It changes the defense and makes them think. We are confidence in both of our quarterback and our offensive line.”

Sundberg gave the Bear Creek’s defense headaches all night. The athletic quarterback had 15 carries for 145 yards. He had five runs over 20-plus yards. Sundberg also threw for 138 yards and two touchdowns.

Bear Creek's Deonte Webb (26) squares up to tackle Lakewood's Dylan Ladd. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“He (Sundberg) is a super athletic quarterback,” Bear Creek coach Zach Morris said and added Sundberg reminds him of the Bears’ starting quarterback Walker Rumsey from last year. “We’ve got young kids who go in trying to tackle high and didn’t take the proper angle on him. That’s what happens.”

Holley, more of a pocket passer, was effective through the air going 13-of-16 for 127 yards.

Bear Creek trailed 14-0 at halftime in its homecoming game, but came out with a purpose in the second half. Junior George Martinez had a 72-yard kickoff return to start the second half. Junior quarterback Isaiah Romero scored from 20 yards out to cut the Tigers’ lead in half early in the third quarter.

A sack of Sundberg by senior Dylan Young on the ensuing drive on a fourth-down play gave the Bears the ball in good field position. A 40-yard run by Martinez set up an eventual 4-yard touchdown run by the junior running back to even the game at 14-14 with 5:04 left in the third quarter.

“We just needed to keep gaining yards toward the end zone, one by one,” Hufford said of the Tigers’ mentally after Bear Creek tied it up. “I think we did that.”

Lakewood had an impressive 11 plays, 90-yard touchdown drive capped off by Hufford’s second touchdown run of the game with 11:24 left in the fourth quarter. Holley was the quarterback on the key drive that saw the Tigers dig out of a 2nd-and-27 yards to go. Holley had big pass plays to seniors Luke Carlson and Blake Cowden to get the key first down.

Lakewood's Weston Lee (23) runs back on interception Thursday night. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Hufford, also the Tigers’ starting safety, was filling in at running back because of injury. He finished with 11 carries for 54 yards and touchdown runs of 10 and 7 yards.

“Kegan is just a football player,” Lakewood coach Jeff Braun said. “He is a big strong kid and has figured out how to play the game. He is a special kid.”

Sundberg iced the game after Lakewood’s defense forced a 3-and-out after the Tigers regained the lead. The senior connected with senior Rex Desso for a 19-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter to put the Tigers up 28-14.

“Offensive line was blocking well. It was a team effort,” Sundberg said and added he doesn’t mind splitting time at quarterback with Holley. “We are putting the pieces together to get it done.”

The Tigers were coming off a historically memorable finish last week. Sundberg’s pick-6 on the final play of the game against Arvada West broke a 29-29 tie to give the Tigers a 35-26 victory.

Bear Creek junior Dillon Monk finds some running room. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“It’s a good old-fashion Jeffco rivalry,” Braun said of back-to-back wins over Jeffco schools. “We just happened to be a little bit better conditioned then they are and it went our way.”

Lakewood has the potential to move to 3-0 on the season when it faces Hinkley in the Tigers’ homecoming game at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, at Jeffco Stadium. Hinkley lost its season opener 56-20 against Mountain Range last week. The Thunderbirds host Thornton tomorrow night at Aurora Public Schools Stadium.

Bear Creek (0-2) has the tall task of facing Columbine (2-0 record) next Friday night at Jeffco Stadium in the Rebels’ homecoming. Columbine is coming off a bye week and is ranked No. 4 in the current CHSAANow.com 5A rankings.

“We are playing 17 to 18 junior and sophomore starters for us. We’ll have some growing pains,” Morris said. “We’ll keep grinding and battling. We’ll keep getting better.”

Lakewood senior Rex Desso (15) attempts to make a diving catch behind Bear Creek's Ethan George. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)