ARVADA — Standley Lake football has been chomping at the bit for a playoff appearance for several years.
The Gators’ 32-7 victory over George Washington on Friday night at the North Area Athletic Complex pretty much sealed the deal on Standley Lake (8-2, 4-1 in Class 4A Mountain League) getting a postseason bid.
“It’s crazy. We’ve been trying to meet the expectations of what the coaches want from us,” Standley Lake senior Logan Heeren said. “We aren’t really a big team, but we are a blue-collar team. We play as hard as possible.”
Standley Lake entered Week 10 action sitting at No. 12 in the all important RPI standings. The Gators finished second to Fruita Monument (10-0, 5-0) in the 4A Mountain League. While the Wildcats grab the automatic bid, Standley Lake has made a strong case on the field to make the state tournament for the first time since 2013.
“It’s good. It’s nice to be back where we’d like to be every year,” Standley Lake coach Don Morse said. “It will be a good experience for them. We are young so to at least get this (playoffs) taste in their mouth. Depending on the match-up, hopefully go out and compete with somebody.”
The Gators’ two losses this season have come against Fruita and 5A’s Arvada West. Fruita will likely grab one of the top seeds in the 4A state tournament. A-West looks to be a shoo-in to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2010 after a 7-3 record.
“We just want this playoff game and put up a fight,” Heeren said.
After back-to-back .500 seasons, the Gators will no doubt be seeded in the 16-team Class 4A football state tournament when brackets are reveled Sunday, Nov. 5, on CHSAANow.com.
Standley Lake jumped out to a 19-0 halftime lead over George Washington (2-8, 1-4). Junior quarterback Anthony France threw first-half touchdown passes to Heeren (12 yards) and junior Tyler Williams (32 yards) to open up a 13-0 lead.
“I might of bobbled it and then got popped,” Heeren said of his touchdown catch. “I got into the end zone so it was all worth it.”
Junior Brady Kizer scored on a 6-yard touchdown run in the closing minutes before halftime to take a 19-0 lead into the locker room.
The one negative of the first half was Standley Lake’s leading rusher Ty Webber suffered a leg injury on his first carry. Morse had to go to running back by committee with Webber out.
“It was rough,” Heeren said of Webber getting injured on his first carry. “You can’t get down or get scared. You just have to play.”
George Washington showed some fight in the second half. The Patriots pulled off a long touchdown pass from quarterback Jaydon Green to junior Andreas Kasum to cut the Gators’ lead to 19-7 early in the third quarter.
Standley Lake answered on the final play of the third quarter with a long touchdown run by senior Draven Rabideau to give the Gators a 25-7 cushion headed to the final quarter. Rabideau sealed the win with a 9-yard touchdown run in the final two minutes to make the final score 32-7.