Chatfield boys soccer remains in 3-way tie in race for 5A Jeffco title

LAKEWOOD — Columbine nearly put a huge damper on rival Chatfield’s aspirations to win the Class 5A Jeffco League boys soccer title.

The Chargers needed three unanswered goals after trailing for most of the first half to pull out a 3-1 victory Tuesday night at Lakewood Memorial Field.

“It’s kind of a bad habit we’ve picked up lately. We kind of start slow and have to find the game,” Chatfield coach Brock Blume said. “Luckily we were able to find a way to get back into the game and get a win. But teams in the future are going to make us pay if we aren’t careful.”

Chatfield senior Noah Haddad (4) battles with Columbine junior Carson Watz (14) during the first half Tuesday at Lakewood Memorial Field. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Chatfield (10-3 record, 5-1 in league) controls its own destiny in winning the league title with two conference games remaining.

Chatfield finishes off its league schedule against Ralston Valley (5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12) and rival Dakota Ridge (7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17). The game against Ralston Valley at the North Area Athletic Complex will likely decided the conference championship.

“We’ll be in their house up at NAAC. We’ll try to find a win,” Blume said. “We’ve had a lot of good battles with RV over the years. We’re excited about it.”

Arvada West, Chatfield and Ralston Valley all sit with 5-1 conference records with two league games remaining for all three teams. Since Chatfield already took a 5-1 win over A-West, the Chargers could lock up the 5A Jeffco title with a victory over Ralston Valley and taking care of business against Dakota Ridge next week.

Ralston Valley could spoil Chatfield’s league title hopes and actually help out rival A-West. The Wildcats defeated Ralston Valley head-to-head, so A-West has the tiebreaker over the Mustangs if Ralston Valley and A-West finish tied atop the league.

Chatfield has the inside track to win the Class 5A Jeffco League boys soccer title. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

The Chargers’ lone league loss came in a conference opener against Valor Christian. The Eagles took a 2-1 overtime victory in Highlands Ranch.

Chatfield was No. 15 in the RPI standings coming into Tuesday's game, so winning out would likely give the Chargers a home playoff game in the opening round of the 5A state tournament that begins Thursday, Oct. 25.

Columbine got on the scoreboard early on a cold night at Lakewood Memorial. Junior Carson Watz converted a turnover in the Chargers’ end for the opening goal in the 8th minute. However, Chatfield got a goal by junior Jack Cichuniec just before halftime to knot the game at 1-1 at the break.

“You always like to score in that last frame of the first half,” Blume said of Cichuniec’s goal. “It kind of sent a message that we weren’t out of it.”

Chatfield senior Benji Bulkhalter-Castro (6) attempt to turn upfield on Columbine sophomore Nathaniel Lee (7) on Tuesday night at Lakewood Memorial Field. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

The brother combination — Ben and Nate Cabot — gave the Chargers their first lead in the 49th minute. Nate, a sophomore, took a corner kick and fed it right to Nate, a senior, who headed it past Columbine goalie Peter Bielefeld.

“I was expecting it,” Ben said of his younger brother Nate sending the corner kick his way. “I knew he would get me the ball.”

Chatfield got an insurance goal late by senior Kevin Peterson, who was able to heal kick a pass from Ben Cabot into the back of the net to extend the lead to 3-1 in the 78th minute.

“I was happy with the energy and the work rate. I thought we played well enough to get a result,” Columbine coach Zach Miller said. “I’m proud of them. We gave Chatfield everything they could handle. We would have liked a better result.”

Columbine (3-8-1, 1-5) closes out its season against Valor (Oct. 12), Pomona (Oct. 17) and Horizon (Oct. 20). The Rebels sat at No. 55 in the RPI rankings coming into Tuesday’s game, so jumping into the top-32 and a playoff spot is unlikely.

Chatfield senior Noah Haddad, middle, is flanked by Columbine seniors Austin Skeffington (13) and Connor Watz (16) during the Class 5A Jeffco League game Tuesday. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)