LAKEWOOD — It was unconventional, but D’Evelyn’s football coach Jeremy Bennett had no problem walking off Trailblazer Stadium late Friday night with a 16-15 victory.
“We’ll take it. It’s different, but I’ll take it,” Bennett said after his Jaguars, No. 4 in the CHSAANow.com Class 2A rankings, rallied with 10 points in the final 7 minutes, 20 seconds to defeat 3A’s Green Mountain by a single point.
D’Evelyn had a come-from-behind victory last week again Sterling. This time around the Jaguars (2-0 record) didn’t even need an offensive touchdown in the final quarter to rally from being down 15-6 with less than nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Green Mountain (1-1) took a 9-point lead when senior quarterback Dylan Jacob hooked up with senior Justin Booher for a 5-yard touchdown pass with 8:58 left in the fourth quarter. Senior Ben Schlieper bulled his way into the end zone for the 2-point conversion.
“Green Mountain did a great job today. That’s a much improved team. (Green Mountain coach) Matt Pees is doing a great job,” Bennett said. “I knew it was going to be a battle.”
D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School and Green Mountain High School are separated by less than six miles. However, Friday’s showdown was the first varsity football game between the two Jeffco schools.
Fittingly, there was plenty of drama in the final quarter.
D’Evelyn’s rally started with a great punt by D’Evelyn sophomore Noah Miles that pinned Green Mountain back on its own 3-yard line with 7:26 left to play.
On the next play, Green Mountain junior Cade Casterline wasn’t able to get a clean handle on a pitch and fumbled it into the end zone. D’Evelyn junior Jack Vannice recovered the ball in the end zone for a Jaguar touchdown.
“It was awesome. Being able to get a touchdown was amazing. I just saw it on the ground and went straight to it,” Vannice said. “We were hoping for a safety of course, but what happened was even better.”
The defensive touchdown and extra point cut the Rams’ lead to 15-13. Green Mountain went 3-and-out on its next offensive possession. D’Evelyn took over on the 50-yard line with 6:11 remaining.
Back-to-back runs of 29 and 16 yards by D’Evelyn sophomore Luca McIntyre put the Jaguars into field goal range. Junior Cullen Flynn split the uprights from 21 yards out with 3:45 left to give D’Evelyn its first lead of the night and send the Jaguars’ homecoming crowd home happy.
“It’s something we practice every day,” said Flynn of the eventual game-winning field goal. “Good snap, good hold and I do the easy part. I just knew I had to drive my foot through it.”
Green Mountain wasn’t able to get a first down to answer D’Evelyn’s go-ahead score. Vannice was in on a sack of Jacob that turned the ball over on downs and allowed the Jaguars to run out the clock.
“It did slip away,” Pees said. “We knew D’Evelyn was a well-coached team and they would fight to the end. We were trying to do what we could to close it out. It’s a tough one to swallow, but we are ready to move on to Golden.”
Green Mountain plays its homecoming game next week against another Jeffco school, Golden (1-1). The Rams and Demons will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at Jeffco Stadium.
“All our dreams are still ahead of us,” Pees said. “We can still win a conference championship and that is what our ultimate goal is. This is a great learning experience.”
D’Evelyn hits the road for the first time this season. The Jaguars should get a good test from The Classical Academy, ranked No. 5 in this week’s 2A football rankings. TCA is a charter school from Colorado Springs.