No. 2 Columbine takes care of business in home opener versus A-West

LAKEWOOD — Columbine junior Wes Jones is the Rebels’ latest multiple dimensional player.

The junior had a rushing touchdown, receiving touchdown and interception on defense — not to mention handling some of the kicking duties — Friday night at Jeffco Stadium.

“I’m just going to do whatever I can because we are kind of short on seniors this year,” Jones said after carrying a heavy load in the Rebels’ home opener. “Coaches have been talking to all the underclassmen that we need to step it up. I’ve taken that to heart.”

Columbine junior Seth Cromwell (34) breaks free for a 73-yard touchdown run in the first quarter Friday at Jeffco Stadium. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Jones helped lead Columbine — No. 2 in the Class 5A rankings — to a 34-10 victory over Arvada West in a 5A Jeffco League opener.

“He (Jones) is one of the top athletes on our team,” Columbine coach Andy Lowry said. “He can run, jump and catch. He can do everything. We are trying to get him into some situations and find guys who are playmakers. That’s our biggest challenge.”

Columbine graduated a ton of seniors from last year’s 5A state runner-up squad. The new pieces in the Rebels’ well-oiled machine has Columbine (2-0, 1-0 in league) undefeated so far this season.

Columbine junior Seth Cromwell got the Rebels’ ground attack going early. The junior fullback scored on a 73-yard touchdown run on Columbine’s second play from scrimmage to give the Rebels’ a 7-0 lead with 8:46 left in the first quarter. Cromwell already had five rushing touchdowns on the season.

“I just busted it out,” Cromwell said of his long touchdown run.

Senior Isaiah Miller finished off a 12-play, 78-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter to put Columbine ahead 14-0.

A-West did mount a nice long drive, but had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by sophomore Ethan Kerstiens in the second quarter. Columbine answered late in the second quarter capitalizing on a short field after an A-West punt.

Cromwell scored his second touchdown of the first half with an 11-yard touchdown run with 17 seconds left before halftime to give the Rebels a 20-3 lead at halftime after a missed PAT.

“Seth is a really great fullback for us. He does a lot of the work for us,” Jones said. “He is a really good power player and lays out a lot of good blocks. He really opens the field open.”

Columbine junior Dominic Esquibel (10) zeroes in on Arvada West quarterback Evan Hurlburt during the Class 5A Jeffco League opener. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Jones opened the fourth quarter with a 1-yard dive into the end zone. His interception of Arvada West senior quarterback Evan Hurlburt led eventually to Miller’s touchdown run in the first quarter.

“He is a stud,” Cromwell said of Jones.

Jones finished off the Rebels’ scoring with a 42-yard touchdown catch from Columbine junior quarterback Brock Zanetell early in the fourth quarter to put the Rebels up 34-3. A-West scored a late touchdown on a 19-yard touchdown catch by sophomore Andrew Martinez to make the final score 34-10.

Columbine is back at Jeffco Stadium next week. The Rebels face Lakewood (0-2, 0-1) on Friday, Oct. 23. The Tigers were shut out 42-0 Thursday night by No. 4 Pomona in another Jeffco League opener.

“Our guys are young,” Lowry said of the missed execution against A-West that featured several penalties. “We just have to be patient with them.”

The Rebels toughest test in conference play will come in the final two games of the scheduled regular season. Columbine faces Ralston Valley on Nov. 6 and squares off against Pomona on Nov. 12.

“Our team will be more molded together,” Cromwell said of facing Ralston Valley and Pomona late in the regular season.

A-West stays on the road next week. The Wildcats head to Mullen to face the Mustangs (0-1, 0-1). Mullen suffered a 21-3 loss Thursday night to No. 5 Ralston Valley (2-0, 1-0).

A-West has surpassed its win total after last season’s 0-10 record of 2019. Coach Brad Pyatt had guided the Wildcats to three straight winning seasons prior to last year, including a pair of postseason appearances in 2017 and 2018.

Arvada West senior quarterback Evan Hurlburt (16) gets some protection from his offensive line before getting off a pass against Columbine on Friday night at Jeffco Stadium. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)