ARVADA – Tried, tried and true worked for Columbine in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
Using their power ground game, the Rebels defeated Arvada West 38-21 at the North Area Athletic Complex on Thursday night. Columbine avenged a last-second, 24-21 loss to A-West earlier in the season.
“We are healthy now,” said coach Andy Lowry. “The first time we played them, we shot ourselves in the foot, but now we are healthy. It’s no excuse, but we were beaten for like three or four weeks straight. ,
Senior running back Seth Cromwell ran his way for 157 yards on 26 carries with three touchdowns. His junior backfield partner Tyree Hayes-Trust added 103 yards on 23 carries.
“We dominated, so give credit to the guys in front,” said Cromwell, who is finally recovering from an ankle injury.
The Rebels (9-3) advance to next week’s quarterfinals where they will face the winner of Friday night’s game between top seed Valor Christian and No. 16 Fort Collins. Before the arrival of Covid-19, Columbine reached the 5A quarterfinals every year between 2015-19.
Arvada West’s offense, at least initially, had its moments behind the gleam of new quarterback Vince Vigil’s talent. But the Wildcats rarely had possession of the ball after the first quarter. Columbine’s clock-eating ground game, combined with three Vigil interceptions, saw off.
A patented no-frills drive gave the Rebels a 21-14 lead at halftime and gave them control for the rest of the game.
Sliding open large holes along his offensive line, the Rebels covered 80 yards in 13 plays, with all yards hitting the ground. Cromwell and Hayes-Trustee alternately busted the A-West defense. Cromwell ran the ball seven times for 52 yards, including a 3-yard TD plunge. Hayes-Trusty had six carries for 28 yards.
“This kind of drive takes a lot of heart and a lot of stamina and our guys threw them throughout the game,” Cromwell said.
From the start of the third quarter to the middle of the fourth, Columbine had 33 plays for the Wildcats, just four.
“Our offense tonight was a good defense,” quipped Lowry.
The A-West scored the first TD of the game in the end zone from Vigil to Drew Martinez on a 27-yard pass on the opening drive. Vigil made his QB debut for the injured Ethan Cook.
Columbine counterattacked to take a 14-7 first-quarter lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by Cromwell and a 26-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Brock Zanetel, who cut James Sileson in the middle of the A-West defense. Found it
The Wildcats tied the game at 14-all on the first drive of the second quarter on a 26-yard run by Cade Russell. The main game of the 59-yard drive was a 21-yard pass from Vigil to Ein Lee.
But it was a high-water mark for the Wildcats, who finished their season 8–3 and made a return to the playoffs winning just two games combined in the previous two seasons.