Wheat Ridge football wins 2OT thriller against Arvada West

LAKEWOOD — Rocco Tate could run for City of Wheat Ridge mayor and probably win in the upcoming November elections.

The Wheat Ridge junior running back/linebacker scored four touchdowns through the fourth quarter and two overtime periods late Friday night at Jeffco Stadium. The Farmers rallied from a 14-0 deficit against Arvada West to take an improbable 28-27 victory in double-overtime.

Wheat Ridge senior Max Christensen (9) runs downfield during the first half Friday night at Jeffco Stadium. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“I told the kids before the game that every year there is a defining moment,” Wheat Ridge coach Stacy Coryell said. “I told them, ‘Let’s make this one the defining moment.’ I’m so proud of them.”

Tate had touchdown runs of 5 and 6 yards in the fourth quarter that erased the Wildcats’ 14-0 lead. The junior ran in a 2-point conversion on the second touchdown to make up for a missed PAT.

“It was a great team win,” Tate said. “We finished hard. It all started with our hogs up front to make those touchdowns.”

Both of Tate’s overtime touchdowns came on fourth down from the 1-yard line. Junior kicker Matthias Endland made both of the PATs. The second extra-point kick by Endland sealed the victory and sent the Farmers’ sideline into a frenzy.

Coryell said the Farmers focused on running behind the left side of Wheat Ridge offensive line with senior Soren Howard and junior Chris Smith inside the 10-yard line.

Arvada West junior Evan Hurlburt gets a pass away before Wheat Ridge's Soren Howard (50) or Jack Micheal (44) can get to the Wildcat quarterback. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

A-West (0-4 record) had a pair of touchdown passes from junior Evan Nuhfer in the overtime period, but a missed extra point after the Wildcats’ second touchdown came back to bite A-West.

“I always have faith in my team,” Tate said. “I know our defense will come out and shine.”

A-West was in control for three quarters. A promising drive by Wheat Ridge came to a sudden halt with an interception by junior Brady Laugen. The Wildcats took over on their own 22-yard line.

Hurlburt went to work for A-West. He connected with senior Nick Nuher on passes of 7, 11 and 15 yards. The big pass plays as the clock whined down were plays to Sebastian Lindeblad. The senior receiver had a 35-yard catch to get the Wildcats down to the Farmers’ 25-yard line.

Hurlburt hit Lindeblad for a 10-yard touchdown with 17 seconds left before halftime to give the Wildcats a 14-0 lead going into halftime.

Arvada West senior Oliver Petelo (30) finds some running room against Wheat Ridge. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

A-West struggled on offense in the second half and a bad snap on a punt with under five minutes to play in the fourth quarter set Wheat Ridge up on A-West’s 41-yard line.

Coryell compared the victory over A-West to the Farmers winning a conference title back in 2015 with a big win over Denver South.

Wheat Ridge (2-1) has two more non-league games against Centaurus and Liberty before starting 4A Jeffco League play against Chatfield on Oct. 10 at Trailblazer Stadium in Lakewood.

A-West has one final non-league game before heading into the tough 5A Metro West League play. The Wildcats are at the North Area Athletic Complex next Friday night where they face-off against No. 7 Eaglecrest.

It will be the first of four 5A ranked teams A-West will square off against over the next six weeks before the end of the regular season.