Columbine takes away Pomona’s chance to run 5A Jeffco table

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 11/2/21

ARVADA— Columbine junior Rocky Shields ripped away a possible undefeated Class 5A Jeffco League run for Pomona on Oct. 28. The No. 9-ranked Rebels led the Panthers 13-6 early in the fourth …

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Columbine takes away Pomona’s chance to run 5A Jeffco table

Posted

ARVADA— Columbine junior Rocky Shields ripped away a possible undefeated Class 5A Jeffco League run for Pomona on Oct. 28.

The No. 9-ranked Rebels led the Panthers 13-6 early in the fourth quarter. It looked like Pomona senior running back Chase Muller was going to score on an 11-yard touchdown run to potentially tie things up. 

“It was one of those things where they were running away from my side,”said Shields, a two-way lineman.“You can’t give up on a play. It’s about effort and pursuit. That’s what I did. I was at the right play at the right time to make the play.”

Shields ripped at the ball as Muller was about the get into the end zone. The ball came loose and Columbine senior Grayson Headrick recovered the ball on the Rebels’2-yard line.

Columbine (7-3, 3-2 in league) took over with 8:49 left in the fourth quarter. The Rebels went on a 15-play, 98-yard drive that was capped off with a 1-yard touchdown plunge by sophomore James Cillessen with less that 2 minutes to play to seal a 20-6 victory for the Rebels.

“That is Rebel Ball at its finest,”Shield said of Columbine 98-yard touchdown drive to make it a 2-touchdown game.“That is what we work on and preach.”

Pomona (6-4, 4-1) actually already wrapped up the conference title last week. Four straight league victories over Lakewood, Ralston Valley, Arvada West and Mullen combined with a little help when rival Ralston Valley defeated Columbine last week allowed the Panthers to clinch the league title before Thursday’s late-afternoon tilt at North Area Athletic Complex.

“Those two turnovers were killers,”Pomona coach Nathan Johnson said after the Panthers’4-game win streak came to an end.“I respect the heck out of (Columbine’s) offense. When you make mistakes like that and are negative in the turnover margin it’s tough.”

The only two scores in the second halfwasa Columbine field goal by senior Wes Jones and the touchdown run by Cillessen. Both scores came after Pomona turnovers.

Columbine opened the game with a bang. On the first play from scrimmage sophomore Josh Snyder had a 53-yard touchdown run sprinting past the Rebels’sideline.

“I was just thinking run, run, run,”Snyder said.“It was awesome to hit them right off the bat.”

The Rebels were shorthanded with senior running back/linebacker Seth Cromwell sidelined with an injury. 

“We weren’t sure what the outcome would be,”Snyder said about playing without the Rebels’leading rusher.“We just worked our best and the outcome with 20-6.”

It was a huge bounce-back win for the Rebels, who had lost three of the past five games before winning the regular-season finale.

“We were pretty down. Last week kind of scared us a little bit. We didn’t know who were really are,”Columbine coach Andy Lowry said.“We practiced harder. We practiced with more focus. They guys played their butts off tonight against a really physical football team.”

Pomona’s lone score of the game came on a 1-yard touchdown run by Noah Epley with 4:49 left in the second quarter to cut Columbine’sleadto 10-6. The loss forced the Panthers to play in the opening round of the 5A state tournament this week.

“Five weeks ago a lot of people thought we were down and out. I think when our team realizes their backs are against thewallthey get pretty feisty and a controlled desperate,”Johnson said.“I can’t wait to see the bracket come out.”

Columbine and Pomona saw their road in the 24-team 5A state tournament bracket when it was released Sunday, Oct. 31. The top 8-seeded teams receive a first-round bye and both Jeffco teams were just outside the top-8. 

Columbine is seeded No. 9 and will host No. 24 Far Northeast Warriors on either Thursday or Friday at Jeffco Stadium. The Warriors were actually the 5A state champions during the Spring 2021 season.

Pomona is the No. 10 seed and will host No. 23 Castle View on the NAAC. 

Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.

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