ARVADA — The different between rival high schools separated by 3.5 miles was about 18 inches Oct. 13 at the North Area Athletic Complex.
Ralston Valley junior quarterback AJ Jergensen plowed into the end zone from less than a yard out on the …
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ARVADA — The different between rival high schools separated by 3.5 miles was about 18 inches Oct. 13 at the North Area Athletic Complex.Ralston Valley junior quarterback AJ Jergensen plowed into the end zone from less than a yard out on the final play against rival Arvada West for a 20-14 victory for the Mustangs.“(Jergensen) came over and I asked if he could get it,” Ralston Valley coach Matt Loyd said when asked why he attempt a field goal with 2 seconds left on the clock. “(Jergensen) said he could get it. I said OK and go for it.”Jergensen’s touchdown broke a 14-14 tie and extended the Mustangs’ all-time record against the Wildcats to 8-0. The rivalry started in 2010 when Ralston Valley made the move up to Class 5A.“If we lost, I couldn’t tell you what would have happened with our team,” Ralston Valley senior Jake Nishida said of the thought of being the first team to possibility lose to A-West. “It was good to keep the streak going.”Nishida played a huge roll in the final outcome. He intercepted A-West junior quarterback Johnny Krutsch with under 30 seconds to play and ran the pick back to the Wildcats’ 30-yard line.“That was probably the play of the game,” Loyd said of Nishida’s interception. “It’s probably overtime or (A-West) gets another chance to throw one down field. Huge, huge play.”With 20 seconds to play, Jergensen had pass plays to junior Brad Roberts and senior Jake Jones to move the Mustangs down to the 2-yard line. Roberts nearly got in to the end zone, but was ruled down inside the 1-yard line.Ralston Valley took a timeout with 2 seconds remaining and decided to put the game into the hands of Jergensen and the offensive line.“We wanted to come out and make a statement. Obviously the game was a lot closer than we wanted it to be,” Jergensen said. “We just wanted to put it in and get it done.”Ralston Valley (4-3, 2-0 in Mt. Wilson League) started the season slowly with an 0-3 start and its fourth game schedule for Washington was cancelled because of the wildfires in the northwest.The Mustangs have bounced back with four straight wins now. It started with a road trip to California to face East Bakersfield. Ralston Valley then knocked off Class 4A’s No. 3 Pine Creek. A shutout victory over Castle View in both teams’ conference opener kept the momentum going.“It’s a good win for us, but it’s just another game those,” Loyd said. “When you start out 0-3 you have to win some games in a row. We are doing that now.”A-West (5-2, 1-1) had its 5-game winning streak snapped. Both of the Wildcats’ losses have come on the last play of the game. Lakewood defeated A-West with a pick-6 on the final play to break a tie in the Wildcats’ opener.“We moved the ball all night. There was a lot of penalties that hurt us,” A-West coach Brad Pyatt said. “I’m extremely proud of my kids. We are going to be fine. Our goal is to make the playoffs. We hit a speed bump, but we’ll be fine.”Krutsch had a pair of touchdown passes to junior Chris McEahern that accounted for A-West’s scores.Roberts had a solid game after battling through an ankle injury for the past handful of weeks. Roberts had a 9-yard touchdown run and Jergensen connected with senior Cole Mercer to account for two of Ralston Valley’s touchdowns.Dennis Pleuss is a communications specialist for Jeffco Public Schools with a focus on athletics and activities. For more Jeffco coverage, go online at CHSAANow.com/Jeffco.
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