LAKEWOOD — The question Friday night at Jeffco Stadium was straightforward: Which team would bounce back after suffering their first loss of the season?
Dakota Ridge junior running back Jeremy Lujan showed he didn’t want anything to do with a two-game losing streak. Lujan had a monster game with 321 yards rushing on 25 carries and added five catches for 56 yards in the Eagles’ 38-14 victory against Wheat Ridge, who was saddled with its second straight loss.
“All week he (Lujan) was kind of in a grumpy mood. I didn’t know if he was worried because he didn’t get a lot of yards last week, if he was just down, hurt or just focused,” Dakota Ridge coach Ron Woitalewicz said. “After that first run we knew he was pretty focused on what he wanted to do tonight.”
On the second play from scrimmage Lujan broke off a 64-yard touchdown run. He added scoring runs of five and 27 yards before halftime to give the Eagles a 21-0 advantage at the break.
“I was just really focused this week. I wanted to come out here and have a big game,” Lujan said. “It’s been hard the first couple of weeks on offense for me.”
Defending 4A state champion and top-ranked Pine Creek pounded Dakota Ridge 31-3 last Saturday. Lujan had just 56 yards on the ground in the loss. Wheat Ridge didn’t fair much better last week against Pueblo South, ranked No. 2 in this week’s CHSAANow.com 4A football poll. The Farmers were handed a 37-20 loss in their homecoming game.
Despite the losses, Wheat Ridge (No. 9) and Dakota Ridge (No. 8) stayed in the 4A’s top-10 rankings before heading into the non-league game Friday night.
“We had a good week of practice. I’m really proud of our kids and coaches for bouncing back against a really good Wheat Ridge team,” Woitalewicz said. “I’m proud of our kids on how they responded.”
The Farmers showed some life in the second half scoring on their opening drive. Senior Jordan Jones scored on a 4-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter to get Wheat Ridge on the board. Jones had another impressive game with 23 carries for 181 yards, but the night belonged to Lujan.
Dakota Ridge’s junior tailback ripped off an 81-yard run for his fourth touchdown of the night on the first play from scrimmage after the score by Jones.
“He is a dynamic player,” Woitalewicz said of Lujan. “He was awesome tonight.”
Lujan credited his offensive line for more than doubling his yards on the ground this season in just one game.
“Our offensive line was doing everything they could tonight. Without them we wouldn’t be anything on offense,” Lujan said. “We knew we had to bounce back tonight. Everything just kind of went our way tonight.”
The Eagles finished out their scoring with 26-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Adam Clary to senior Jack Cavallaro late in the third quarter. Dakota Ridge added a 36-yard field goal by Zack Barwick.
Dakota Ridge will get a good test against Standley Lake next Friday night. That game will be played at Broomfield High School’s stadium. The Gators have won two straight after starting the season 0-2.
Wheat Ridge senior Anthony McGinnis capped off the Farmers’ scoring with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough to get the win.
Wheat Ridge’s next game will be 4 p.m. Friday at Jeffco Stadium against Green Mountain (1-3).