LAKEWOOD — Chatfield will play for a state football championship title for the first time in 20 years Saturday, Dec. 4, at Empower Field at Mile High.
The No. 7-seeded Chargers shutout No. 3 Pine Creek in the second half in a come-from-behind 28-21 victory Saturday afternoon at Jeffco Stadium. Chatfield (10-3 record) took the lead for the first time all game on a 2-yard touchdown run by senior Jake Marschall with 33 seconds left in the Class 4A state semifinal game.
“We knew what we wanted to do and what was looking good out there,” Marschall said of the final scoring drive. “Our line was killing it. Our coaches were great with the play calls. We got it done.”
Sophomore quarterback Jake Jones had a huge 3-down and long conversion with a 36-yard pass to freshman Brock Narva early during the 12-play, 71-yard scoring drive that started with 7:43 left in the fourth quarter and the game tied 21-21.
Narva actually got the ball back for the Chargers when it looked like Pine Creek (10-3) would be going in for the go-head drive midway through the fourth quarter. Narva stripped Pine Creek sophomore Mason Miller just as he crossed Chatfield’s 30-yard line.
“I was thinking strip the whole time,” Narva said of the timely forced turnover. “I got ahold of it and ripped as hard as I could. We knew we needed a stop there and I knew I could make a play.”
On the final play of the game Pine Creek freshman quarterback Cam Cooper connected with senior Zion Hill, but Chatfield junior Dakota Balderston tackled Hill near midfield and the Chargers’ student section stormed the field after the final horn sounded.
“This is a dream come true,” Chatfield coach Bret McGatlin said of playing for a state championship next week. “You always hope during your career that you’ll have the opportunity. I bought a Mile High poster a long time ago when the high school title games started being played there.”
It had been 20 years since Chatfield has advanced to the state football title game. The Chargers, then guided by legendary coach Dave Logan, won the 5A state championship back in 2001. It was the first football title in the school’s history.
Chatfield faces undefeated Erie (13-0) in the 4A title game at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at Empower Field at Mile High. No. 5 Erie upset top-seeded Montrose with a pair of late touchdowns and a 2-point conversion in the final minutes to take a 29-28 victory in the other 4A semifinal Saturday afternoon.
“The job isn’t done yet,” Chatfield junior Mason Lowe said. “One more week.”
Lowe was key in both of the Chargers’ first-half touchdowns. Lowe broke off a 40-yard touchdown run in the final seconds of the first quarter to tie things up 7-7. Lowe had a 45-yard run late in the second quarter that got Chatfield to Pine Creek’s 5-yard line. Marschall would score on a 1-yard run a few plays later to tie the game up 14-14 with 2:04 left before halftime.
Pine Creek answered with a quick 5-play drive that was capped off by a 3-yard touchdown run by sophomore Cannon Budge to give the Eagles a 21-14 lead at halftime.
Hill found the end zone twice in the first half for the Eagles. Hill had a 1-yard touchdown run to finish off an opening 12-play, 80 yard scoring drive for Pine Creek. Hill had a 26-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
It was the second meeting between the Chargers and Eagles this season. Pine Creek took a 28-22 victory over Chatfield back on Sept. 24 in Colorado Springs. The Eagles leaned on Hill and senior quarterback Josiah Roy who combined for more than 300 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns.
Roy suffered an injury in last week’s state quarterfinal victory and didn’t play much in the loss to Chatfield.
It was the first of three regular-season losses for the Chargers, who were riddled with injuries during the season. Chatfield was without Lowe for more than a month because of a broken bone in his foot. Lowe missed the Pine Creek game.
“I had a lot of faith in my boys even when I was out that we could get the job done,” Lowe said. “We came out here and proved it.”
Pine Creek has been a dominate force for a decade. The Eagles have played in five 4A state titles games, winning four championship trophies over an eight-year span.
“We are just going to keep that chip on our shoulder as the No. 7 seed,” Marschall said moving into the 4A title game next Saturday. “We are just going to put our heads down and keep working hard.”
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.