No. 1 Columbine football plows through cold and snow

LAKEWOOD — From 80 degrees and sunny to 26 degrees at kickoff … welcome to high school football weather in Colorado.

The dramatic change in weather in the span of 24 hours sure didn’t effect the top-ranked Class 5A football team in the state. Columbine remained undefeated with a 42-18 victory over Lakewood on Thursday night at Jeffco Stadium.

Columbine senior Tanner Hollens (6) throws out a stiff-arm on his way to a 44-yard touchdown run in the first quarter Thursday at Jeffco Stadium. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“It was cold, but we were prepared and ready to go,” Columbine senior Braeden Hollens said.

Columbine jumped out to a lightning quick 28-0 lead before the end of the first quarter. Senior running back Adam Harrington had a 37-yard touchdown run to conclude a 3-play, 50-yard scoring drive on the Rebels’ opening possession.

The Rebels’ defense — which recorded nine plays for minus yardage for Lakewood in the first half — got into the scoring act with an interception by Hogan that he returned for a touchdown with 7:54 left in the first quarter.

“That was awesome,” Hogan said of his pick-6. “It really gave us momentum into the offense. It helped us out.”

Columbine’s defense sacked Lakewood quarterback Jason Duong five times in the first half.

“They are playing great,” Columbine coach Andy Lowry said of his defense. “We’ve got some team speed.”

Harrington struck again with a 4-yard touchdown run. The short touchdown run was set up by a 26-yard pass play from quarterback Jadon Holliday to senior Osirus Smith.

Senior Tanner Hollens did the scoring for the Rebels for the remainder of the half. Hollens found the end zone on three straight Columbine possessions to end the first half. He scored his 14th rushing touchdown of the season on a 44-yard run that pushed the lead to 28-0 with 2:16 left in the first quarter.

Lakewood senior Keondre Beauty (1) is pursued by Columbine seniors Justin Lohrenz (17) and Stephen Hughes (44) during the first quarter Thursday at Jeffco Stadium. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“Lowry has been preaching all week, ‘Five yards and a cloud of dust.’ And if we break one, we break one,” Hollens said.

Hollens was back in the end zone on an 18-yard run early in the second quarter. The Rebels induced a running clock with a 42-0 lead midway through the second quarter on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Columbine back-up quarterback Brock Zanetell to Hollens.

“Every game we preach, ‘Let’s get a running clock so we can get out of here,’” said Hollens, who along with the rest of the Rebels’ starters could cozy up to the heaters on the sidelines for the speedy second half with the running clock.

Lakewood got on the scoreboard before halftime with a 38-yard touchdown run by Connor Land. The Tigers scored the two touchdowns in the second half. A 3-yard touchdown run by Robert Martinez-Chavez late in the third quarter and 11-yard touchdown pass from Duong to senior Keondre Beauty just before time expired to make the final score 42-18.

Lakewood (4-3, 0-2) has dropped three straight after a strong 4-0 start. The Tigers are back at Jeffco Stadium next Thursday night in search of their first conference victory facing Arvada West (0-7, 0-2).

The Rebels (7-0, 2-0 in 5A Metro West League) has now outscored their first seven opponents 300-71. However, the road definitely gets significantly tougher for Columbine over the next two weeks.

“We are going to be tested here the next couple of weeks,” Lowry said.

Columbine hosts No. 5 Ralston Valley (6-0, 1-0) at 7:30 pm next Friday, Oct. 18, at Jeffco Stadium.

“(Ralston Valley) is a really great team. I’ve been playing against those guys since I was in the second-grade,” Hogan said. “I’ve been watching a lot of film on them. They look really good and have some great players.”

Ralston Valley has been just as impressive as Columbine. The Mustangs have outscored their opponents 265-53 through six games. The Mustangs are at Mullen on Friday night before preparing for Columbine.

“They are an amazing team,” Hollens said of Ralston Valley. “People sleep on them. They are a great team. They have great athletes every year. It’s going to be a grind. It’s going to be a dogfight for sure.”

The following week the Rebels square-off against No. 8 Pomona (4-3, 2-0) at the North Area Athletic Complex in Arvada.

Columbine senior Braeden Hogan (32) races toward the end zone during a pick-6 for the Rebels against Lakewood on Thursday night at Jeffco Stadium. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)