LAKEWOOD — Columbine wrapped up the Class 5A Metro West League title and automatic postseason berth Friday night in impressive fashion.
The Rebels, undefeated and ranked No. 3 in the CHSAANow.com Class 5A football poll, dominated defending 5A state champion No. 4 Pomona 35-13 at Jeffco Stadium.
The head-to-head meetings between the Rebels and Panthers has been a bit one-sided over the past four years. Pomona had a 4-1 record, including playoff victories in 2015 and 2014 to end Columbine’s season.
“We talked about it a little bit,” Columbine senior quarterback Logan DeArment said of the Rebels’ struggles recently against Pomona. “I knew it in the back of my head.”
The lone win for Columbine came during the regular season in 2015. The two didn’t meet last season when Pomona won the 5A state championship.
“It feels great,” Columbine junior Luke Folsom said of the Rebels improving to 9-0. “It’s what was supposed to happen in our minds. We just need to keep getting better every week and see where it goes.”
Columbine (9-0, 4-0 in league) took care of business in familiar fashion. The Rebels’ rushing attack pounded away early and often. DeArment pulled of the perfect ball fake to score untouched on a 14-yard touchdown on the Rebels’ opening drive.
After junior Tanner Hollens intercepted Pomona senior quarterback Riley Welsch deep in Columbine territory, the Rebels drove 97 yards on 17 plays. Hollens finished off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.
Hollens and Folsom both intercepted Welsch to set up Columbine’s scoring drive in the first half to help give the Rebels a 14-0 lead at halftime.
“Our defense played great not giving up anything in the first half,” Columbine coach Andy Lowry said.
Columbine kept pounding away in the second half. Junior Adam Harrington got into the scoring action with a 57-yard touchdown run on the Rebels’ opening drive of the second half. After a three-and-out by Pomona (6-3, 3-1), Columbine went 52 yards on 11 plays. Hollens found the end zone for a second time on a 1-yard run to give the Rebels a 28-0 lead late in the third quarter.
DeArment finished of Columbine’s scoring with a 48-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter.
“It feels great, but obviously we aren’t done yet,” DeArment said. “We have tons to improve on and that’s a good thing.”
Pomona got touchdown runs by senior Dominic Bettini and Welsch in the fourth quarter to prevent from getting shut out.
“That’s a great football right there,” Pomona coach Jay Madden said of Columbine. “We need to be 100 percent healthy and not make mistakes to have a chance.”
Madden unfortunately has a long list of key players out with injuries. On the defensive side, senior lineman MJ Allen and junior linebacker Sanjay Strickland didn’t play Friday.
Senior receiver Billy Pospisil — Washington State University-commit who just went over the 3,000-yard career receiving milestone — was in a sling Friday night. A left shoulder injury against Mullen last week ended Pospisil’s season.
Starting running back Therious Robison — three-time individual state wrestling champion — hasn’t played due to injury since conference play began in Week 6. Robison should be back for the Panthers. Senior playmaker Colten Mueller has also been suffering from an injury.
“Pomona is a very good football team, but they have about half their starters out right now,” Lowry said. “I know that isn’t the whole Pomona football group. They are missing some good football players.”
The focus now for the Panthers is Ralston Valley (6-2, 2-1) next Friday night at the North Area Athletic Complex.
“It’s rivalry week. Ralston Valley is going play as hard as they have played all year and do different stuff on offense and mix it up,” Madden said. “Hopefully some of our injured guys will be back next week.”
Columbine has a chance to end its regular season undefeated if it defeats Arvada West (6-3, 2-2) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, at Jeffco Stadium.
“We have a pretty good Arvada West team coming up on a short week,” Lowry said while giving praise to A-West’s potent offense led by quarterback Johnny Krutsch and receiver Chris McEahern. “They beat up on Mullen last night. We have our work cutout for us. We have to finish our 10-game schedule out first.”