LAKEWOOD — A one-dimensional offense worked out just fine for Wheat Ridge’s football team Friday night at Jeffco Stadium.
The Farmers picked up their first win of the season keeping the ball on the ground almost exclusively in a 28-14 victory over Widefield.
“With a quarterback in there not that experienced throwing the ball we knew we definitely were going to have to pound out the run game,” said Wheat Ridge junior running back Nick VonFeldt, who led the way with 25 carries for 124 yards and three touchdowns. “We had two backs over 100 yards each. We owe that to our offensive line for sure.”
Wheat Ridge (1-1 record) ran 45 offensive plays from scrimmage against the visiting Gladiators (0-2) from Colorado Springs. The Farmers rushed the ball 43 times for 252 yards and four touchdowns. Rocco Tate had just six carries, but an 85-yard touchdown run in the second quarter helped the sophomore post 114 yards on the ground.
Wheat Ridge coach Stacy Coryell held out three-year starting quarterback Anthony Tate because of injury. The Farmers’ starting quarterback did dress, but Coryell wanted to keep him on the sideline this week to hopefully have him back 100 percent next week against Arvada West.
Junior Tristen Boggess got the start at quarterback. Boggess threw the ball just twice as VonFeldt and the younger Tate did their damage on the ground.
“He (VonFeldt) is our workhorse back there,” Coryell said of the junior running back. “We try to give him a break on defense, but he is our workhorse there too. He is just a great kid.”
VonFeldt’s final touchdown run with less than two minutes to play ended the second-half comeback attempt by Widefield after the Gladiators cut it to a one-score game.
“It felt good,” VonFeldt said of his third touchdown run where most of the offensive line helped push him into the end zone on the final few yards. “It felt like a team touchdown.”
Wheat Ridge’s defense forced three turnovers and tackled Widefield quarterback Treshawn Greene for a loss eight times. Juniors Max Christensen and Soren Howard were in the backfield going after Greene on several occasions.
“We got a little tired in the end there,” Coryell said of the Farmers’ defense that was stellar in the first half, but ended up allowing Widefield senior running back Frankie Ingraldi rack up 141 yards on 19 carries.
The Farmers took advantage of turnover for their first score. Wheat Ridge junior Jack Michel recovered a fumble by Widefield senior Nathan Broadbent. The Farmers took over on the Gladiators’ 14-yard line and scored three plays later on a 2-yard touchdown run by VonFeldt with 4:42 left in the first quarter.
Wheat Ridge’s second touchdown in the first half came on Rocco Tate’s 85-yard touchdown run. The Farmers faced a 3rd-and-9 from their own 15-yard line, but the sophomore was able to take a sweep to the left for the longest play from scrimmage in the game.
Wheat Ridge has a tough challenge next week. The Farmers face undefeated A-West (3-0) next Friday night up at the North Area Athletic Complex in Arvada. The Wildcats have feasted on their non-league opponents before getting into arguably the deepest conference in Class 5A — Metro West League.
The Farmers finish their non-conference schedule with games against Centaurus and Liberty. Wheat Ridge opens play in the 4A Jeffco League on Oct. 5 against Chatfield.
Widefield continues its non-league schedule on the road against Centaurus next Friday night.