LAKEWOOD — Chatfield freshman Mason Lowe did enough late Friday afternoon to hopefully get himself on the Chargers’ varsity football roster next week.
“He (Lowe) is a special kid,” Chatfield coach Bret McGatlin said. “We have been waiting with him and letting him play freshman games. You’ll see him a lot.”
Lowe’s #16 jersey was nowhere to be found on the roster, but he found himself in the end zone early in the fourth quarter on a 58-yard halfback touchdown pass from senior Daniel Nickels to give Chatfield a 14-3 lead over Golden.
“He (Lowe) has been practice with varsity the last couple of weeks,” said Nickels, who added he had full confidence throwing the pass to a freshman who was playing in just is second varsity game. “He has proved himself.”
Chatfield — No. 4 in the CHSAANow.com Class 4A rankings — went on to win 21-3 against the gritty Golden squad that came in on a five-game winning streak. Golden got a late touchdown run by senior Nate Freeman to clinch the win.
“I told our kids that we are a good team and they are a good team,” Golden coach Jared Yannacito said. “It was going to come down to execution and little things. (Chatfield) executed and did the little things a little bit better.”
Golden (5-2, 1-1 in 4A Jeffco League) put the first points on the board with a 14-play drive in the first quarter that chewed up nearly eight minutes off the clock. Senior Matt Elliott eventually kicked a 29-yard field goal with 1:22 left in the first quarter to give the Demons a 3-0 lead.
The drive featured a holding call on Chatfield on fourth-down that kept the drive alive for the Demons. Golden also converted another fourth-down with a run by quarterback Joey Mancuso.
“We had a few penalties early on, but our pursuit to the ball and positive attitude after a bad play is key,” Chatfield senior linebacker Colin Simcox said. “We’re a good group together.”
The Chargers’ defense didn’t allow the Demons to score for the rest of the game. Golden turned the ball over on downs three times, missed a 50-yard field and a hit from Chatfield senior Jorge Auran created a fumble that Simcox recovered in the final minutes to wrap up the win.
“We’ve told the defense that we’ll be leaning on your guys all year,” McGatlin said. “I’m proud of them.”
Chatfield (6-1, 2-0) took the lead late in the first quarter on a long drive of its own. The Chargers drove 73 yards for the first touchdown of the game. The 15-play scoring drive featured a fake punt where sophomore Jacob Marschall run 13 yards up the middle for the on a fourth-and-3 play.
Marschall was the leading rusher for the Chargers with senior Malcolm Boyd out with an injury. Senior quarterback Jake Wells finished off the scoring drive with a 9-yard touchdown run with just over a minute before halftime.
“Injuries always hurt, but those guys came out and showed they are worth varsity minutes,” Nickels said of the young players stepping up for the Chargers.
Chatfield turns its attention to a huge conference showdown against rival Dakota Ridge (6-1, 2-0). The Chargers versus Eagles showdown is 6 pm Thursday, Oct. 24, at Jeffco Stadium next week. The winner will be the lone undefeated team in 4A Jeffco League play and firmly in the driver’s seat to win the conference title.
“We need to have a good week of practice. No messing around,” Simcox said. “It’s our Dakota Week. We have to win it because whoever wins that game will likely be league champs.”
Dakota Ridge just escaped Stocker Stadium on the Western Slope with a victory Thursday night. The Eagles edged Grand Junction 13-12.
“It’s a rivalry game and will be a packed house for sure. Those are the kind of games you look forward to,” McGatlin said. “I respect Coach (Ron) Woitalewicz a ton and that program.”
McGatlin also gave a lot of credit to Yannacito for turning the Demons’ football program around since the Pomona graduate and former Panthers’ assistant coach took over Golden’s football program.
“Coach Yannacito is a great coach. He has done some amazing things,” McGatlin said. “Three years ago before Jared came over when we played them it 50-0 at halftime. Now they play hard and compete.”
Golden faces rival Wheat Ridge next Friday night at the North Area Athletic Complex. The game will be critical for the Demons and Farmers when it comes to RPI points and aspirations to make the 16-team 4A state tournament field.
“I’m extremely proud of my team and my boys when it comes to home much tougher and stronger they are getting,” Yannacito said. “To be in a game like this… I’m excited about where they are going.”