ARVADA — The roller-coaster ride of regular season for Ralston Valley football ended Thursday night at the North Area Athletic Complex.
The Mustangs defeated Rocky Mountain 34-9 to conclude a 6-4 record, 4-1 in Class 5A Mt. Wilson League. The victory pretty much guaranteed a post-season berth for Ralston Valley after the Mustangs won 6 of 7 games to close the regular season.
“We’ve gotten our act together these last few weeks,” Ralston Valley junior quarterback AJ Jergensen said. “We are really confident going into playoffs.”
Ralston Valley started the season 0-3 with losses to Columbine, Fountain-Fort Carson and Pomona. The Mustangs turned things around with five straight wins and nearly defeated Eaglecrest (9-0, 5-0). The Raptors needed a last-second field goal to grab a 17-15 victory last week.
“We don’t really care where we play. We just have to play to the best of our abilities,” Ralston Valley senior receiver Jake Jones said about the playoffs. “We’ve almost beat some really good teams. Now it’s time to beat some good teams.”
It’s now a waiting game to see where Ralston Valley will be for the 5A 16-team state tournament.
“We are going to be a good team on the road, a high-seeded team,” Ralston Valley coach Matt Loyd said. “We’ll give it our best shot.”
The Mustangs could finish in a 3-way tie depending on the result in the lone CHSAANow.com 5A poll top-10 Week 10 match-up — No. 10 Arvada West versus No. 2 Eaglecrest on Friday at NAAC. If A-West hands the Raptors their first loss of the season the Mt. Wilson League will finish in a three-way tie for the league champion, which earns an automatic bid to the state tournament.
Ralston Valley, No. 13 in the RPI standings heading into play this week, would also get it if it stays in the top-16.
“We’ve had some bumps in the road, but it’s a completely different atmosphere now at school, with the fans, everything,” Jones said.
Ralston Valley took control early Thursday night at NAAC scoring touchdowns on its first four offensive possessions. Jergensen had a trio of touchdown passes in the first half. Jones (5 yards), along with juniors Calvin Hunt (19 yards) and Brad Roberts (18 yards) all had touchdown catches.
“It was fun to be able to get it done on the ground and through the air tonight,” Jergensen said of his first four-touchdown passing game of the season.
Roberts also scored on a 17-yard touchdown run to give the Mustangs a 28-3 lead at halftime.
Rocky Mountain’s lone points in the opening half was a 22-yard field goal by senior Maxwell Poduska after 21-unanswered points by the Mustangs to start the game. The Lobos (3-7) got a 1-yard touchdown run by junior Cameron Morrongiello late in the fourth quarter to make the final score 34-9.
The lone Mustang score of the second half came on Jergensen’s fourth touchdown pass. Hunt caught a wide receiver screen pass and took it to the house for a 27-yard touchdown.
Now, Ralston Valley waits until the 16-team 5A state tournament bracket is released on CHSAANow.com on Sunday.
“It’s been that way since workouts started this summer,” Jergensen said of the Mustangs dealing with adversity this season. “We’ve been getting ready for moments like this. We love to play on the road. We’ll give whoever we get a run for their money.”