LAKEWOOD — Columbine senior Logan DeArment might have been a master magician in a past life.
The one sure thing about the Rebels’ starting quarterback, he has mastered the art of the ball fake. DeArment had a pair of first-half touchdown runs Friday night at Jeffco Stadium where he hid the football on his back hip and strolled into the end zone untouched.
“That’s one of our big plays here,” DeArment said of the quarterback option. “I’ve been working on it since freshman year. I happen to be very good at it and it helps in these situations.”
DeArment was masterful as the No. 2-seeded and undefeated Rebels (11-0 record) strolled to a 49-7 victory over No. 15 Highlands Ranch in the second round of the Class 5A state football tournament. The two-year starting quarterback ran for three touchdowns and had touchdown passes to Nehemiah Nua and Tanner Hollens as the Rebels built up a 36-7 lead early in the second half.
DeArment was also in charge of the Rebels’ kicking duties and started at safety on defense in the Rebels’ playoff opener.
“He is just a great football player. He didn’t get a pick I don’t think. He needs to do that next week,” Columbine coach Andy Lowry joked.
DeArment put the icing on the cake with a 76-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to extend the Rebels’ lead to 42-7.
“I got yelled about because I actually made the wrong read on the first play,” DeArment said of his final touchdown run. “Tanner (Hollens) had a great seal block on the backside and I ran scared like I always do. I don’t want to get caught.”
The win advanced the Rebels (11-0 record) into next week’s state quarterfinals.
Columbine will have a conference rematch ahead. The Rebels face the winner of Arvada West and Pomona in the next round. The No. 10 Wildcats and No. 7 Panthers square off in a rivalry showdown at noon tomorrow (Saturday, Nov. 10) at the North Area Athletic Complex.
“They (Arvada West or Pomona) are going to give us a fight,” DeArment said. “Every game in the playoffs is a dogfight.”
Rebels defeated both A-West and Pomona on their way to the 5A Metro West League title.
“It doesn’t matter,” Columbine senior defensive lineman Ben Earnest said of facing either A-West or Pomona for a second time. “The train it rolling, so it doesn’t matter.”
While DeArment was the catalyst Friday night, the Rebels’ defense did its fair share. However, they weren’t able to accomplish something that has eluded Columbine’s defense — a shutout victory.
“We were not happy at all,” Earnest said about Highlands Ranch’s lone score that came in the second quarter. “Our goal was a shutout. We haven’t had one all season and wanted to get one.”
It looked like the Falcons would grab some moment with a second scoring drive just before halftime, but Highlands Ranch was denied thanks to a pair of timely sacks by Earnest and fellow senior Cody Ramming after the Falcons got into Rebel territory.
Ultimately, time ran out on Highlands Ranch and Columbine held a commanding 29-7 lead at halftime.
“It was kind of bend but don’t break for the defense and our offense put some points on the board,” Lowry said. “We live for another week.”
Friday’s night playoff game was a rematch of a non-league game nearly two months ago at Shea Stadium. The Rebels took a 41-16 road victory.
The Falcons (4-8) made the playoffs thanks to a strong strength of schedule that helped Highlands Ranch in the RPI standings. In fact, Highland Ranch and Lakewood entered the postseason with identical 3-7 records — worst in the 24-team field — but both the Falcons and Tigers got first-round victories over teams with .500 regular-season records.