LAKEWOOD — No. 3 Columbine football opened its Class 5A Metro West League play Friday at Jeffco Stadium with a convincing 42-13 victory over Mullen.
“It’s really exciting. This league is really good,” Columbine junior Justin Lohrenz said. “To be able to come out and smash Mullen is big for us.”
Lohrenz was all over the field on defense, offense and special teams. His biggest contribution came in the form of a blocked punt in the second quarter. The junior was able to get a hand of the punt from Mullen junior Wilson Yee.
“I saw the punter fumble it, so I ducked my shoulder into the punt protector and blocked it,” Lohrenz said of the special teams play that gave Columbine the ball on Mullen’s 10-yard line.
Columbine junior Tanner Hollens scored three players later to put the Rebels up 21-0 midway through the second quarter.
“It set the tempo and gave us the chance to score again,” Hollens said of the Rebels’ defense and special teams setting up short fields for the offense twice in the second quarter.
It was trademark Columbine-style offensively in the first half. The Rebels scored on its first four offensive drives, jumping out to a 28-0 lead.
“We’ll take the win,” Columbine coach Andy Lowry said. “I’m not sure if we played great tonight. We made some mistakes. We just did our work.”
The touchdown run by Hollens, along with a score on the ground by junior running back Braedan Hogan got the Rebels (6-0 record, 1-0 in league) going. Senior quarterback Logan DeArment tossed a 12-yard touchdown to senior Dean Hives.
DeArment did it himself on the Rebels’ fourth score of the opening half. He scrambled in for a 19-yard touchdown with a little over 4 minutes to play before halftime.
Mullen (3-3, 0-1) mounted its most successful drive of the first half with a 90-yard drive in 12 plays. Senior quarterback Dominic DePizzol capped off the drive with a 22-yard touchdown pass to senior Vaughnn Stitt with 12 seconds before halftime to prevent the Mustangs from getting shut out in the first half.
Hollens ended any Mullen hopes for a remarkable second-half comeback early in the third quarter. The junior sprinted into the end zone from 58 yards out on the second play from scrimmage after halftime to push the Rebels’ lead to 35-6.
“We went into halftime kind of getting chewed,” Hollens said about Mullen scoring late in the first half. “We just came out and succeeded, getting a touchdown right away.”
Junior Adam Harrington capped of a nice 12-play drive covering 57 yards late in the third quarter to extend Columbine’s lead to 42-6.
“It was not the cleanest game we’ve had all season, but we conquered it and came out with the win,” said Hollens, who finished with a dozen carries for 116 yards and a pair of touchdowns. “Our (offensive) line is really beat up right now. When we get them back we’ll be better then we’ve been.”
Mullen’s lone touchdown of the second half came on an 18-yard run by sophomore CJ Smith midway through the fourth quarter with Columbine’s backups on the field.
“The first one is out of the way,’ Lowry said of the tough conference that features not only the ranked Rebels, but defending 5A state champs No. 6 Pomona and No. 7 Ralston Valley.
Columbine returns to Jeffco Stadium next Friday to face Lakewood. That 5A Metro West game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
Mullen heads up to the North Area Athletic Complex in Arvada next Friday night to play Ralston Valley (5-1, 1-0). The Mustangs will be celebrating its homecoming and are coming off a dominating 42-13 victory last night against rival Arvada West.