Columbine remains undefeated after a narrow win against Arapahoe
On Sept. 15th, two undefeated teams, the Arapahoe Warriors and the Columbine Rebels, clashed on the field at LPS Stadium, ending in a victory for the Rebels, scoring 31 points to the Warriors 29.
This was a tough battle that lasted until the final seconds. The game started out with the Rebels taking the early lead in the first quarter with two passing touchdowns to receivers #20 running back Mason Moreno and #9 back James Basinger.
Needing to show some fighting spirit, Warrior’s #8 Charlie Eckhardt sprinted down their field to return the kickoff for a touchdown, which ignited the fans with astonished cheering.
After the game, Eckhardt, when asked about how that kickoff return felt, directly said with a smile that “it felt good.” Continuing, he said, “I felt that we needed a play. We came off of a slow start — 14 to 0. I just wanted to make something happen, and there was a hole. It got open. I got free”.
The last quarter of the first half showed both teams struggling to put points on the board. On one drive, the Rebels finessed the ball to 1 yard line but were put to a halt on a 4th down push for a touchdown by the Warriors defense. Conversely, the Warriors worked their way down the field, pushing the Rebels back to within five yards of their end zone, only to stall out on 4th down. The first half ended with a score of Rebels 14, Warriors 7.
The second half is when this game genuinely ramped up the excitement level in the stadium. A total of five touchdowns were completed, including one by Warrior’s #11 quarterback, Michael Moynihan, on a QB sneak play.
The following players, in sequential order, scored a touchdown for their team in the second half: Warrior #17 receiver Andrew Smart, Rebel #9 back James Basinger, Warrior #8 receiver Charlie Eckhardt, and Rebel #44 tight end Hunter Hamilton. As you can read, this was a quintessential back-and-forth football match—a real one-upper.
And yet, that was only the start of the climb to see who could be at the top when the time ran out. After the Warriors’ QB sneak for a touchdown late in the 4th quarter, Arapahoe opted for the two-point conversion in order to put themselves ahead by a single point.
Completing that conversion was Warrior #17, receiver Andrew Smart. Once again, igniting the home crowd into a frenzy that gave way to the emotions of clinching a win.
However, the Rebels were not ready to let their undefeated season go away just yet. After being pushed up against a 4th down and a hard place by the Warrior defense, the Rebels completed a pass, giving them a first down with only a few seconds left in the match.
The Rebels coach called for the field goal kicker, #29 Julian Ruiz, who completed a roughly 35-yard field goal that soared victoriously through the uprights. Not a single person at the game breathed during the flight of that final kick. The thunderous rushing of the field and clamorous cheers from the Rebels and their fans tore through the air, sounding their unambiguously cliched arrival at the top as the scoreboard’s timer zeroed out.
After the game, Coach Andy Lowry for the Rebels remains humble and is keeping his nose to the grindstone with his team’s winning streak.
“It’s only four weeks into the season. This is a great win for our guys. They played their [tails] off”,” Lowry said.
And, after celebrating with his team, Rebel QB Reeve Holliday spoke on the exciting win.
“It was a great team win,” Holliday said. “Julian sealed the deal for us, but it’s always about us. A lot of guys made great plays today, and you can’t thank them enough for that”.
When asked about this tough loss and what it means for the rest of the season, coach Tyler Brayton said, “It means we need to play better. Any time you go toe-to-toe with a quality opponent like Columbine, we have a ton of respect for them; there’s just less room for any margin of error. Our kids battled really well and played really hard. At the end of the day, they just made a few more plays than we did”.