LAKEWOOD — Trey Towndrow has never met Andy Stueven, but the Green Mountain quarterback finds himself in the same position Stueven had the Rams’ football program 20 years ago.
“That is really cool. Twenty years later we are in the same spot,” Towndrow said of being told the similarities between him and Stueven, who could burn teams with his legs or arm. “I definitely wanted to be a dual threat. That creates so much offense for us being able to run from the quarterback position and being able to throw it too.”
Prep football fans in Colorado who were around in 1999 couldn’t forget the Green Mountain team that steamrolled to the Class 4A state championship.
Legendary coach Don McGatlin guided the Rams to a remarkable postseason run. Green Mountain outscored its four playoff opponents 181-34 on the way to hoisting the state trophy at Jeffco Stadium days after a snowstorm blanketed the Denver Metro Area. Sound familiar?
Twenty years later, Green Mountain attempts to return to its first state championship game since 1999. No. 8-seeded Rams face No. 4 Palmer Ridge in a Class 3A semifinal at 4 p.m. Saturday at Jeffco Stadium after more than a foot of snow buried the stadium earlier in the week.
“I think a big part of what we are trying to do here at Green Mountain is build an undeniable belief that we can get it done against anybody and anywhere,” Green Mountain coach Jesse German said after the Rams’ Wednesday practice. “We are just going to do whatever we can to be our best everyday, every week.”
Towndrow has become one of the best two-way players in the state. Offensively, the senior has rushed for 1,114 yards and also thrown for nearly 2,000 yards while accounting for 29 touchdowns.
Defensively, Towndrow is the last line of defense from his safety position with five interceptions on the season.
“I think most nights he is one of the top three athletes on the field if not the top athlete on the field and that is offense, defense and special teams,” German said of Towndrow. “He can run the ball. His vision is awesome and he can throw the ball. He is a great leader.”
The victory over top-seeded Mead —biggest upset in any classification this postseason — allowed the Rams to return to Jeffco Stadium to host Saturday’s state semifinal and a shot at advancing to the 3A title game Saturday, Dec. 7, at Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl on the campus of Colorado State University-Pueblo.
“It’s awesome,” Towndrow said of getting the chance to play at Jeffco Stadium. “I didn’t know we would have that opportunity after beating the No. 1 seed. Being at home is awesome.”
Standing in the way of Green Mountain’s first trip back to a football state title game in 20 years is Palmer Ridge and junior quarterback Luke McAllister, who just verbally committed to Colorado State University on Nov. 20.
McAllister has thrown for 2,233 yards and 24 touchdowns. The Bears also have one of the top running backs in the state in senior Raef Ruel, who has racked up nearly 1,500 yards on the ground and 27 touchdowns.
“The best way to do that is keep them off the field,” German said of trying to slowdown the highest scoring offense in 3A this season that averages more than 47 points per game. “We look forward to playing against a great offense.”
Green Mountain seniors Matt Schlieper, Will Banks and Brad Golgart will be key upfront to make McAllister uncomfortable in the pocket. The three have combined for 15.5 sacks on the season.
“We just have to trust our game plan and everyone does their job,” Schlieper said of the best way to slowdown Palmer Ridge’s offense. “If we do that we are going to shut those kids down.”
Green Mountain’s rise under its second-year head coach has been impressive. German guided the Rams to their first playoff victory last season since 2004. Advancing to the semifinals for the first time since Stueven, a punishing running attack and dominating defense is another sign that the Rams are back.
“It’s a surreal sort of thing,” Schlieper said. “We still have a season to finish. It’s fun. We just want to keep on playing another week. That has been the mindset since we started the playoffs.”