No. 4 Pomona kicks last-second field goal to defeat No. 6 Ralston Valley

ARVADA — Pomona senior Joevannie Rosales made the biggest field goal in recent memory for the Panthers on Friday night at the North Area Athletic Complex.

The soccer player turned kicker for Pomona — No. 4 in the Class 5A football rankings — booted a 40-yard field goal as time expired to give the Panthers a 17-14 victory over rival and No. 6 Ralston Valley.

Ralston Valley junior quarterback Zach Friedman (7) gets off a pass despite pressure from Pomona junior Deion Maes. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“I had all the confidence in the world. He (Rosales) has the talent to do it,” Pomona coach Jay Madden said seconds after Rosales was mobbed by teammates after hitting the game-winning field goal. “He has only been playing football for 20 days. He wouldn’t even be playing football if there was a soccer season.”

Rosales led Pomona’s boys soccer team with 14 goals last Fall as a junior. With the COVID-19 pandemic moving boys soccer to the spring, Rosales decided to try his hand at kicking a football this season.

“He was kicking in PE class one day. I told him he at least has to try it,” Madden said of Rosales. “Now he does this in the biggest rivalry game in Jeffco, maybe the whole state. That was awesome.”

The final kick had plenty of distance and drew off the right upright, just like Rosales had planned.

“It was scary,” Rosales said about first coming out to play football. “It took a little while to getting used to. Now, I feel pretty good. I could get better.”

Pomona (3-0, 2-0 in 5A Jeffco) was just good enough to get past Ralston Valley (2-1, 1-1). The Panthers never trailed after taking a 7-0 lead at halftime on a 2-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Jack Pospisil, but the Mustangs finally ended a 10-quarter scoreless streak for Pomona’s defense.

Ralston Valley tied things up 7-7 after junior Luke Resendez intercepted Pospisil to give the Mustangs great field position on Pomona’s 27-yard line midway through the third quarter. Junior quarterback Zach Friedman scored on a 2-yard run to tie things at 7-7.

“It’s alway a battle against RV,” Pomona junior running back/linebacker Chase Muller said. “We made some big plays in the second half. That is what really won us the game.”

Ralston Valley senior Tyler Roybal fights for yardage against Pomona's defense during the first half Friday at the North Area Athletic Complex. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Muller capped off a 10-play, 80-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to close out the third quarter and put Pomona up 14-7.

Ralston Valley answered again with Friedman hitting senior Devin McNearny with a 53-yard pass to get the Mustangs into Pomona territory. Friedman connected with senior Charlie Carlston on a 14-yard touchdown pass with 4:49 left in the fourth quarter to knock the game at 14-14.

It looked like the rivalry game would be headed into overtime, but Pomona’s offense converted on three separate third-downs to keep the eventual game-winning drive alive. Senior AJ Zamora had a big 12-yard run where he was able to get out of bounce to stop the clock and conserve a timeout.

Pospisil had a huge 12-yard completion to junior Isaiah Alvarez to get into field goal range.

“Our kids deserved to win this game,” Madden said after the emotional victory.

Pomona ended a 2-game losing streak against Ralston Valley with the win. The Mustangs shut out the Panthers last year during Ralston Valley’s run to the 5A state semifinals.

Pomona is scheduled to be back at NAAC on Saturday, Oct. 31, to face another rival in Arvada West (1-2, 0-2). The Wildcats lost a close one at Mullen on Friday night, 20-17.

Ralston Valley has Lakewood (0-3, 0-2) next up. The Mustangs host the Tigers at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, at NAAC.

Pomona senior Ben Cruz (24) rips off a 35-yard run during the second quarter to set up the Panthers' first touchdown Friday night against rival Ralston Valley. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)