LAKEWOOD — The newly tagged No. 1 football team in Class 4A didn’t have an issue with the new weight on its shoulders Thursday night.
Dakota Ridge — top-ranked 4A team in the CHSAANow.com rankings this week after moving past defending state champion Pine Creek in the polls — stayed perfect on the season with a 42-0 victory over Standley Lake at Jeffco Stadium.
“When Pine Creek walks on the field they assume they are the best team on the field. We’ve got to get to that point with this group,” Dakota Ridge coach Ron Woitalewicz said. “We should be the big dog on the field right now and they kind of embraced that this week. We know we are going to get everyone’s best shot with that (No. 1) target.”
Dakota Ridge (3-0, 2-0 in 4A Jeffco League) has now outscored its first three opponents 155-26.
“We have full belief in ourselves, full belief in our coaches,” Dakota Ridge senior Charlie Offerdahl said. “We know our capabilities. We have a lot going for ourselves this year. We are going to take it all the way.”
The Eagles actually fumbled on their opening drive, but was sharp offensively after the miscue. Dakota Ridge scored touchdowns on its next four drives to take a commanding 28-0 lead.
“It was definitely slick. We had to have two hands every time,” Offerdahl said of weather conditions that included freezing rain. “I give the credit to our offensive line. Great job up front. Everything works around them.”
Dakota Ridge sophomore Noah Triplett opened up the scoring with a 62-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter.
“Credit to the youngster, Noah,” Offerdahl said of the sophomore running back. “He can play. The more weapons we have the better.”
After a Standley Lake turnover, Dakota Ridge quarterback Ben Gultig hooked up with senior Colin Stuhr for a 29-yard touchdown.
“What I was really impressed with was how Ben (Gultig) threw the ball early on with the wet ball and it was cold and windy,” Woitalewicz said.
The Eagles capitalized on another Gator turnover to set up a third touchdown. Senior Steve Reyes rumbled in from 7 yards out on the first play from scrimmage in the second quarter and Offerdahl ran in a 2-point conversion to give Dakota Ridge a 21-0 lead in a driving rain with 11:55 left in the second quarter.
Offerdahl put Dakota Ridge up 28-0 minutes later on a 35-yard touchdown run. The senior capped off the scoring in the first half with a 15-yard touchdown, his seventh touchdown on the season.
“As long as we have 44 (Offerdahl) we are going to have a chance to be in the game,” Woitalewicz said. “That’s three straight games with a pick on defense for him. Every time he touches the ball on offense something dynamic can happen. He is a pretty special player.”
The senior standout intercepted a pass from Standley Lake quarterback Jake Worm on the opening drive of the second half. Following a 34-yard pass from Gultig to senior Mason Galbreath that set the Eagles up in the red-zone, Offerdahl scored his third touchdown of the night on a 10-yard scamper into the end zone.
The eighth touchdown of the season for Offerdahl induced a running clock for the remainder of the game with Dakota Ridge’s 42-0 lead.
Standley Lake (2-1, 1-1) threatened to end the shutout bid in the final minutes, but a goal-line stand gave the Eagles their first shutout of the season.
Dakota Ridge is scheduled to be back in action next Friday night at Trailblazer Stadium in Lakewood. The Eagles face Wheat Ridge (0-3, 0-2) in another 4A Jeffco conference battle.
Standley Lake will try to get back in the win column when the Gators face Bear Creek (0-2, 0-1) on Oct. 30 at the North Area Athletic Complex in Arvada.