LAKEWOOD — Two years ago, Golden football coach Jared Yannacito guided the Demons into the postseason for the first time since 2002.
Now his third season at the helm of Golden’s football program, the Pomona High School graduate and former offensive coordinator under Pomona head coach Jay Madden has the Demons on the brink of another playoff appearance.
“Getting to the playoffs is great, but let’s get to the playoffs and get a win,” Yannacito said after a 10-0 shutout victory over Bear Creek on Thursday night at Jeffco Stadium. “That would be big for us.”
Golden (7-2, 3-1 in Class 4A Jeffco League) has won 7-of-8 game after losing its opener in Florida. The Demons were No. 12 in the 4A RPI standings and shouldn’t slip much after the victory against Bear Creek (1-8, 0-4).
The Demons close out their regular season against No. 6 Dakota Ridge (7-1, 3-0) at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, at the North Area Athletic Complex in Arvada. If Golden can score an upset against the Eagles, the Demons would actually create a three-way tie for the conference championship between No. 8 Chatfield (6-2, 2-1), Dakota Ridge and Golden.
“Playing a team like Dakota Ridge that is a top-10 program, those are games that always gets you excited,” Yannacito said of the Demons’ regular-season finale next week. “It’s always fun to be the underdog and give it your best shot against those guys.”
Golden and Bear Creek were in a defensive struggle in the first half. The only points came on a 22-yard field goal by Golden senior Matt Elliott in the final seconds of the first half. The kick gave the Demons a 3-0 lead at the break.
“Our defense was playing lights out all night. We kind of let them take it,” Yannacito said the after the Demons picked up their first shutout victory of the season. “We have to execute better offensively, but in the day we win as a team. However we have to get it done is the goal.”
The Demons finally got a little more breathing room thanks to their defense that set up Golden’s longest play from scrimmage on the night.
Golden junior Cambell Thompson sacked Bear Creek quarterback Jazel Riley back on the Bears’ own 6-yard line on third down. Bear Creek was forced to punt for the sixth time on the night.
“It was a hard fight out there. We just kept working and kept fighting,” Thompson said. “We do our job and we trust the offense will do their job.”
The Demons took over in great field position on Bear Creek’s 35-yard line. Golden junior quarterback Joey Mancuso didn’t waste anytime capitalizing on the field position. Mancuso hit junior Adam Feasel with a pass on the first play of the drive, Feasel was able to slip a Bear Creek defender and sprint into the end zone for the 35-yard touchdown catch and run.
“QB (Mancuso) gave me a chance and I made a play,” Feasel said of the lone touchdown with 8:45 left in the fourth quarter on the frigid night. “In a close game like this you need to make one breakaway play.”
Golden kept the shutout in tack when sophomore Dalton Summers intercepted Riley on what was the Bears’ best scoring chance of the game.
“We feel great. We’ve got some momentum going into the playoffs hopefully,” Feasel said. “We are excited.”
Bear Creek finishes out its season against Chatfield at 7 p.m. next Friday at Jeffco Stadium.