Chatfield football survives scare against Wheat Ridge in 4A Jeffco opener

LAKEWOOD — One big offensive pass play and a defensive stop on the final play of the game Saturday afternoon allowed Chatfield to grab its first win of the season.

“It came down to that last play on the goal-line,” Chatfield coach Bret McGatlin said after the Chargers (1-1, 1-0 in 4A Jeffco League) hung on for a 10-3 victory over Wheat Ridge. “I credit our kids for not giving up.”

Wheat Ridge senior Sam McDonough (3) and Chatfield senior Jake Turner (7) can't make a catch as the ball hit the ground. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Wheat Ridge (0-2, 0-1) looked poised to score the game-tying touchdown in the final seconds. The Farmers drove from Chatfield’s 40-yard line in less than two minutes. Quarterback Dom Cross guided the Farmers down to the 2-yard line, but his pass intended for senior Sam McDonough on a play-action roll out fell incomplete as time expired.

“It’s a young team and if you can find ways to win it’s all we can ask for right now,” McGatlin said. “Wheat Ridge never gave up. They have a lot of guys who play both ways. That is a tough group.”

The Farmers took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter with a 37-yard field goal by sophomore Francisco Munoz. It would be the lone points Wheat Ridge would score.

Chatfield tied it up 3-3 with a field goal by junior Andre Haddad midway through the second quarter.

The offensive play of the game came just before halftime. Chatfield senior quarterback Ethan Delfino hooked up with sophomore Mason Lowe for a 57-yard touchdown with 3:53 left in the second quarter to give the Chargers a 10-3 lead.

“I was getting bracketed with triple coverage,” Lowe said of his 57-yard touchdown catch. “I saw the pass come over the middle. I tipped it with my left hand to myself and just took off from there.”

McGatlin wasn’t even sure if he would have the explosive sophomore on the field Saturday after Lowe suffered a minor leg injury during the week.

Wheat Ridge quarterback Dom Cross looks for running room as a flag is thrown during the first half Saturday at Jeffco Stadium. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“He (Lowe) is a special kid. We are going to have to ride him a little bit,” McGatlin said of Lowe playing some tailback and receiver on offense. “Ultimately we want to be a team that doesn’t have to rely on him so much.”

Lowe’s touchdown would be the final score of the game that featured several punts and marred by a bushel of penalty flags on both teams that stalled any offensive momentum for the Chargers or Farmers.

“That was crazy,” Lowe said of the scoreless second half. “I didn’t think my touchdown would be the difference in the game. It was a great team win. We needed it.”

Chatfield is back at Jeffco Stadium next Saturday to face Bear Creek (0-2, 0-1). Dakota Ridge (2-0, 1-0) and Standley Lake (2-0, 1-0) are the two undefeated team left in 4A Jeffco through Week 2. The No. 2 ranked Eagles have been impressive outscoring their first two opponents 113-26.

The Chargers are scheduled to face rival Dakota Ridge on the final week of the regular season on Nov. 13.

“Our hope is just find a way to win this next week,” McGatlin said looking ahead. “We need to get a lot better before we see them (Dakota Ridge).”

Wheat Ridge will be looking to pick up its first win of the season against rival Golden on Thursday, Oct. 22, at the North Area Athletic Complex. First-year head coach Nick Leonard, who moved from an assistant to the head coach just before Week 1, will try to keep the Demons (0-2, 0-1) winless.

Chatfield junior Jake Marschall (14) goes for a spin after getting hit by Wheat Ridge senior Dom Cross during the Class 4A Jeffco League game Saturday afternoon at Jeffco Stadium. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)