LAKEWOOD — The streak is over in the biggest football rivalry in South Jeffco.
Chatfield, ranked No. 3 in the CHSAANow.com Class 4A football poll, defeated rival Columbine for the first time since 2009. The Chargers took a 35-14 victory over the Rebels, No. 4 in 5A, on Friday night at Jeffco Stadium.
“In our community this means so much to us. When you lose for seven straight years this is what happens,” Chatfield coach Brett McGatlin said. “A lot of people doubted us. Even people in our community doubted we could win this game.”
Columbine (3-1 record) had a 7-game winning streak against Chatfield (3-1). It was the second time McGatlin has coached the Chargers to a win over the Rebels during his 12 years at the helm of Chatfield football program.
“Our senior leadership wanted this as bad as the group did in 2009,” McGatlin said of the difference this year. “We knew we couldn’t just show up on a Friday night and win this game. We had to work all off-season long.”
A pair of long pass plays by Chatfield made a huge difference in the game. Senior quarterback Colton Arne hit senior Keland Rumsey for a 44-yard touchdown pass in the opening minutes of the second quarter to regain the lead — 13-7 — for the Chargers.
“We knew if we could have some big plays we were going to win the game,” Arne said. “We had a good game plan and our guys played great.”
After the Chatfield defense stopped Columbine on its opening drive in the second half, Arne hit senior Cole Ingersoll for a 46-yard pass play and a 15-yard roughing the passer was tacked on. Senior running back Ben Frenette score on the next play from 14 yards out to extend the lead to 21-7 midway through the third quarter.
“Columbine is so good at not giving up the big play. We made those plays tonight,” McGatlin said. “I knew I had to take some shots. If we played conservative they were going to shut us down. We had to take our shots.”
Columbine answered converting a Chatfield turnover into its second touchdown of the night. Junior quarterback Logan DeArment scored from 1-yard out with under a minute to play in the third quarter, but it would be the last score for the Rebels.
“We were trying to limit them to big plays and rally to the ball,” DeArment said. “We just couldn’t stop them. They are a good football team.”
It didn’t help the Rebels’ cause that two-way player Ted Mullin went out in the first half with an injury and didn’t return to the field. Mullin actually gave Columbine a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter with a 9-yard touchdown run.
The ball bounced the Chargers’ way in the fourth quarter. Even when Frenette fumbled near Columbine’s 5-yard line, teammate Josh Swinney was able to recover the ball in the end zone for a touchdown to extend the lead to 28-14.
Chatfield punched in another short touchdown run for the final score to end the losing streak against Columbine.
“For four years we’ve busted our butts,” Frenette said of the seniors. “A lot of people stepped up this year. We have a lot of good leaders this year. We have a lot of good guys coming together to get this win.”
Frenette said it was “absolutely” the biggest victory of his prep career.
For Columbine, a loss early in the season has worked as motivation in the past. Lakewood upset the Rebels several years ago early in the season. Columbine went on to regroup and win the 5A state championship that year.
“They just dominated us all around the football today,” DeArment admitted. “We just didn’t come ready. We need to come back and use this next week to get better.”
Columbine is on the road against Denver East next week at All-City Field. Chatfield hosts Widefield next Friday night at Jeffco Stadium.
“We just have to stay intense, stay up and focus on our ultimate goal — a state championship,” Arne said.