Lightning delayed the start of the ThunderRidge versus Chatfield football game by nearly 90 minutes Thursday night, but the Chargers didn’t short circuit once things got going.
In fact, Chatfield put up nine points in the opening 94 seconds to give the Chargers an early jolt on the way to a 38-14 victory over the Grizzlies.
“As soon as coaches told us to suit up it was game time,” Chatfield senior Jake Jones said of dealing with the weather delay. “Everyone on the team came out of the tunnel ready to go.”
Junior Caleb Espinosa blocked a ThunderRidge punt on the first possession to give Chatfield a 2-0 lead when the ball sailed out of the back of the end zone less than 90 seconds into the game. Senior Niguse Shelp gave the Chargers another special teams score 12 seconds later when he returned the free kick to the end zone to put Chatfield up 9-0.
“The biggest thing you have a delay or we were at Fairview last year when the lights went out in the middle of the game, you never know how teenagers are going to respond,” Chatfield coach Kris Rosholt said. “We build things into our summer practices to prepare us for adversity.”
Chatfield junior Andrew Astone kicked a 30-yard field goal for yet another special team score just before the end of the half to put give the Chargers a 12-0 lead.
Jones got Chatfield’s offense into the scoring act with a magician like 69-yard touchdown run with 9:52 left in the second quarter. Jones disappeared in a pack of players before reappearing and racing to the end zone.
“We called quarterback sneak. Our great linemen up there created a great wall for me to just hide behind them,” Jones said. “I saw a hole to the left and decided to take off.”
Jones tossed a 12-yard touchdown to senior Drew Rohlman to give Chatfield a 25-0 lead with 7:53 left before halftime. Senior Landon Mueller scored on a two-yard touchdown run in the final minutes before halftime to push the lead to 32-0.
Jones threw his second touchdown pass of the night with a one-yard pass to senior Charles Yanett on the opening drive of the second half. The play looked like it would be a disaster for Chatfield when a high snap wasn’t handled by Jones, but the senior quarterback raced to pick up the ball and fired it to Yanett.
“I just did my best to make a play,” Jones said of his touchdown pass to Yanett. “Great catch by Charlie diving on the outside.”
ThunderRidge prevented the shutout with a pair of fourth quarter touchdown runs by Evan Olds. The Grizzlies also recovered a pair of onside kicks that Rosholt wasn’t happy about.
“My message to my boys in the end is we have to play four quarters of football no matter the score, no matter our opponent,” Rosholt said. “We have to play four quarters of football.”
Chatfield has one more non-league game before heading into 5A Jeffco League play. The Chargers face cross-town rival Dakota Ridge at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, at Jeffco Stadium. Chatfield actually ended the Eagles ’4-game regular season winning streak against the Chargers last season with a 43-30 win. Chatfield did defeat Dakota Ridge in the 2021 4A state quarterfinals on the way to the Chargers winning their state title two seasons ago.
“Dakota is a big rivalry,” Jones said.
Dakota Ridge (2-1) has its homecoming game tomorrow night (Friday, Sept. 15) at Jeffco Stadium. The Eagles face Rampart (3-0) in a late 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.