COLORADO SPRINGS — In only Week 2, Chatfield had to think outside the box a little bit to find success on the football field.
So rather then counting on a running attack and driving the ball methodically down the field, the Chargers decided to rely on big plays. The gamble certainly paid off as they came away with a 52-42 win over Rampart on Saturday at District 20 Stadium.
“The big plays were huge for us," Chatfield coach Bret McGatlin said. "We had two one-play drives to ice them at the end of the game. I don’t think we could’ve driven our normal offense and scored on those guys because they were so physical up front. They took us out of our game plan. We were able to do some other stuff that worked for us, but we couldn’t run our bread and butter stuff.”
The Class 4A No. 7-ranked Rams (1-1 overall) had just cut the lead to 38-35 in the fourth quarter. A defensive stop would give Rampart another chance to take the lead and with the way the Rams ran the ball on Saturday, there was a solid chance they would score again.
So Hunter Barnes decided to strike and snuff any chance of defensive stop. He broke for 81 yards to put the Chargers (2-0) up 45-35 with just over six minutes remaining. The Rampart offense stalled on the next drive and was forced to punt the ball away. On the next offensive play for Chatfield, quarterback Zach Yanda found Barnes down the sideline for a 64-yard touchdown pass to put the finishing touches on the second win of the year.
But it was anything but easy.
Rampart's physicality caused problems for the fifth-ranked Chargers from the start. The offensive line opened holes all day, allowing both Chris Yoo and Colin Phillips to run for over 100 yards on the day.
Yoo led all rushers on the day with 32 carries for 196 yards and two touchdowns. Phillips ended the day with 121 yards and a touchdown.
The ground game kept Rampart within striking distance all day, but two interceptions turned into touchdowns. One with less than two minutes left in the first half, putting Chatfield up 17-14. The Chargers held on to the lead the rest of the day.
“We produced well," Rampart coach Rob Royer said. "We struggled throwing the ball which is frustrating.”
It was Yanda who grabbed both interceptions for Chatfield. But even with the huge momentum swing at the end of the first half, Royer felt his boys responded well after halftime and just made a few costly errors at the wrong time.
“I think our kids answered the bell on that," Royer said. "We just had some breakdowns on offense, defense and special teams. When you’re playing a great team like that, you can’t make mistakes.”
And those mistakes can't be made when players like Yanda and Barnes can capitalize on them. Yanda finished his day going 15-for-21 for 292 yards and two touchdowns to go along with the two interceptions on the defensive side of the ball. He also had a 33-yard touchdown run.
“I’m just trying to do the best for my team on both sides of the ball, Yanda said. "I have to give it up to my guys up front and the defense really came through at the end.”
Both teams will hit the road next week with the Chargers heading to Brighton and Rampart going to Monarch.