Football: Columbine rolls into 5A state quarterfinals

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 11/15/21

ARVADA — Columbine senior Seth Cromwell didn’t want his high school football season or career to end Thursday, Nov. 11, at the North Area Athletic Complex. “You just have to play with a chip on …

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Football: Columbine rolls into 5A state quarterfinals


ARVADA — Columbine senior Seth Cromwell didn’t want his high school football season or career to end Thursday, Nov. 11, at the North Area Athletic Complex.

“You just have to play with a chip on your shoulder,” Cromwell said after his 3-touchdown performance powered the No. 9-seeded Rebels to a 38-21 victory over No. 8 Arvada West. “I don’t want to go home to be honest. It’s too early to go home. I want that championship trophy over my head. That’s what I play for.”

Columbine (9-3 record) led 21-14 at halftime on the same field that A-West (8-3) mounted a second-half rally during Class 5A Jeffco League play earlier in the season. The Wildcats trailed by 10 points at halftime, but rallied to win 24-21 after shutting out the Rebels in the second half back on Oct. 1.

There would be no repeat of that during the second-round playoff game. The Rebels ran 33 offensive plays to the Wildcats’ 3 plays and a punt from the start of the third quarter until midway through the fourth quarter.

“I like that. We play a lot better defense when we have the ball,” Columbine coach Andy Lowry said of the Rebels’ massive time of possession advantage in the second half.

Columbine managed just a 25-yard field goal by senior Wes Jones, but it was enough to extend the Rebels’ lead to 24-14.

“We took a lot of time off the clock and made them tired,” Cromwell said of the second half. “That is what we do at Columbine. Run it down their throats and keep running it and running it.”

Cromwell scored on a 14-yard touchdown with 3:52 left in the fourth quarter after A-West turned the ball over on downs. Columbine quarterback Brock Zanetell scored on a 2-yard touchdown after the Rebels’ third interception on the night.

A-West senior Cade Russell scored the final touchdown of the night to make the score 38-21.

Columbine had to wait to see who its gets in the quarterfinals. No. 16 Fort Collins faced No. 1 Valor Christian on Friday, Nov. 12, in Highlands Ranch. That winner got the Rebels in the next round.

“We’ll definitely be there,” Jones said of the Fort Collins/Valor game Friday night. “We’ll be scouting it out seeing what we need to do.”

Valor crushed the Lambkins 52-2 in the round of 16 game. The Eagles host Columbine at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at Valor Christian High School.

A-West got off to a quick start with a nice 80-yard scoring drive highlighted by a couple of huge pass completions by freshman quarterback Vince Vigil. The freshman who started for the injured junior Ethan Cook, had a 31-yard hook-up with senior Ean Lee. Vigil finished the drive with a 27-yard touchdown pass to senior Drew Martinez with 6:59 left in the first quarter.

“When we came in on that first drive and did everything we needed to do I was pretty happy with that,” A-West coach Brad Pyatt said. “Credit to (Columbine). They had a great game plan.”

Columbine answered in a hurry with a big kickoff return by sophomore Josh Snyder that got the Rebels down to A-West’s 4-yard line. Cromwell punched in his first of two short touchdown runs of the first half to get the game tied at 7-7.

An interception by senior Wes Jones set up the Rebels’ second score. Zanetell hit sophomore James Cillessen for a 26-yard touchdown pass on a 4th-down play to push Columbine up 14-7 late in the second quarter.

A-West tied things up with a 26-yard touchdown run by Russell in the opening minutes of the second quarter to tie things up 14-14. However, Cromwell scored his second touchdown with 4:41 left in the first half to give the Rebels a 21-14 lead.

“This is a special group with what we’ve done in a year’s time,” Pyatt said of his team that had regular-season wins over Columbine and Ralston Valley. “This group of seniors has put us back on the map.”

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


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