ENGLEWOOD — To say Dakota Ridge’s offense was impressive Saturday would be a gross understatement.
The top-seeded Eagles (7-0) scored — 10 touchdowns and two field goals — on all 12 offensive possessions in the Class 4A state quarterfinal game against No. 8 Montrose at Randy Penn Stadium on the campus of Englewood High School.
“That is credit to our kids and our offensive coordinator Jeremiah Behrendsen,” Dakota Ridge coach Ron Woitalewicz said of the Eagles’ putting up 76 points in a 76-34 win. “We knew we could throw the ball on them. I didn’t know we would have that much success.”
According to ColoradoPreps.com, Dakota Ridge’s 76 points is the fourth highest team total in an 11-man playoff game in Colorado high school football history.
“We’ve always had the ability to do this,” Dakota Ridge senior quarterback Ben Gultig said as the scoreboard still showed the 76-34 final score. “Our offensive line is what has to carry us through every game. They are the foundation of this team.”
Gultig got it all started with a 53-yard touchdown run on the opening drive. It started the Eagles on putting up three touchdowns less than 5 minutes into the game.
“We script those first few plays,” Woitalewicz said. “We thought they were going to key on Charlie (Offerdahl). We thought we could pull a couple of quarterback counters out and get a big play early.”
Dakota Ridge senior Charlie Offerdahl, who verbally committed to the University of Colorado on Nov. 11, actually had a fairly quite game on the stat sheet. Offerdahl had a 2-yard touchdown run for the second score after Dakota Ridge’s defense forced it first of four Montrose turnovers.
“Part of it was getting those turnovers early and working with some short field,” Dakota Ridge coach Ron Woitalewicz said. “Our offense is hard to stop when you give them 80 yards to go. You give them 35 yards to go and it’s going to be really difficult to stop them.”
Gultig tossed his first of three touchdown passes to senior Mason Galbreath with 7:19 left in the first quarter to push the lead to 21-0. Dakota Ridge seniors Colin Stuhr and Dakota Williams had fumble recoveries to set up the Eagles’ second and third touchdowns.
“All week we were preparing for that dive and hard pounding running offense,” Stuhr said. “After we scored 21 points quick we just wanted to keep it rolling. We were scoring any way we wanted to.”
Galbreath caught a second touchdown late in the second quarter and senior Cavica Wilkerson had a touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter that pushed the Eagles’ lead to 70-34.
Dakota Ridge racked up seven touchdown on the ground. Sophomore Noah Triplett had a trio of touchdown runs. Gultig, Offerdahl, senior Max Hart and junior Dante Capoulungo each found the end zone one on the ground.
“We are definitely unique because we sub a lot of guys in and out,” Gultig said. “There is not a weak link on this team.”
Montrose (4-3) did put up five touchdowns in the loss and actually cut the Eagles’ lead to 31-21 just before halftime. However, senior kicker Tilo Pena kicked a 46-yard field goal as time expired before halftime to keep the offense scoring streak going for the Eagles. Pena also kicked a 27-yard field goal in the second quarter.
“Our kids had the attitude that we are the No. 1 seed for a reason,” Woitalewicz said. “Let’s go out and show people why.”
Dakota Ridge will likely be back at Englewood High School next week for a 4A state semifinal game against No. 4 Loveland. The Indians (7-0) defeated No. 5 Broomfield 28-7 on Friday night in another quarterfinal game.
The Eagles played their home game Saturday at Englewood High School so spectators would be allowed to watch the game in person. Currently, Jefferson County Public Health has an ordnance that doesn’t allow fans at CHSAA sporting events in Jeffco due to rising COVID-19 cases in the county.
“The fans definitely helped,” Gultig said. “I think this is a good field for us.”
Dakota Ridge is seeking its first football state championship. The Eagles made the 4A title game in 2004, but lost to ThunderRidge.
Memories of watching Broomfield kick a last-second field goal nearly a year ago to hand Dakota Ridge a heartbreaking 17-15 loss in the 4A semifinals are still fresh for the Eagles.
“We really wanted to play Broomfield next week for that revenge tour,” Stuhr said. “We’ve got Loveland next week and we have to focus on them.”