Dakota Ridge opens league play with win over Bear Creek

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 10/4/21

LAKEWOOD — A pair of touchdowns 49 seconds apart allowed Dakota Ridge to get some early separation from Bear Creek on Friday, Oct. 1, at Jeffco Stadium. “We did some research this week and over …

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Dakota Ridge opens league play with win over Bear Creek

Posted

LAKEWOOD — A pair of touchdowns 49 seconds apart allowed Dakota Ridge to get some early separation from Bear Creek on Friday, Oct. 1, at Jeffco Stadium.

“We did some research this week and over the last seven years when we score a defensive touchdown we are now 24-0,” Dakota Ridge coach Ron Woitalewicz said. “We just have to score defensive touchdowns and we won’t get beat.”

The Eagles — No. 3 in the CHSAANow.com Class 4A football rankings — took the opening drive 60 yards for an eventual 5-yard touchdown run by junior Noah Triplett. Less than a minute later, senior linebacker Matthew Orr intercepted a pass over the middle by Bear Creek quarterback Jaedon Minter and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.

The quick 14-0 lead started Dakota Ridge on the path to a 52-13 victory for its homecoming game and 4A Metro League 1 opener.

“I was a little confused at first too,” Orr said of his interception. “I caught it and didn’t hear anything.”

Orr strolled into the end zone untouched for the defensive score.

“We kind of had a key and indicators in certain formations where 18 (Blake McOmober) lined up and where Bear Creek would run that play,” Woitalewicz said. “He (Orr) said he recognized the motion.”

Triplett scored on another 5-yard touchdown run a minute in to the second quarter that pushed the Eagles’ lead to 21-0. It was the junior running back’s 17 touchdown on the season.

It was the Dante Capolungo show on Dakota Ridge’s next scoring drive. The electric receiver/defensive back had a short catch from quarterback Adam Graves, but Capolungo was flagged for hurdling a defender near the end zone that pushed the Eagles back 15 yards.

“I told Dante the track coaches have him run the 100 and 200 for a reason,” Woitalewicz joked. “He is not a hurdler. I told him to just run fast. Leave the hurdling to someone else.”

Capolungo did atone for the flag later on the drive scoring on a jet sweep 16-yard run to put Dakota Ridge up 28-0. Junior kicker Landon Giebler added a 23-yard field goal late in the first half to extend the lead to 31-0 at halftime.

“They don’t let me high jump either so I had to break it out here,” Capolungo said with a big smile.

Bear Creek did strike first in the second half. The Bears had their best drive of the night going the length of the field in just over four minutes. Senior Ryan Segovia scored on a 5-yard touchdown run to get Bear Creek on the board and get some distance from a possible 40-point hole and possibility of a running clock.

“(Bear Creek coach Matt Steinfeldt) has done such a great job. They are so much better,” Woitalewicz said. “If you would have told me this would happen (running clock) I would have said not a chance.”

However, Dakota Ridge answered with a 68-yard touchdown bomb from Graves to Capolungo on the next drive to get the score to 38-7. Capolungo found his way into the end zone for the third time on the night with a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown with 2:40 left in the third quarter.

“What a great senior homecoming for him,” Woitalewicz said of Capolungo.

Capolungo nearly doubled his touchdowns on the season. He had four touchdowns — one receiving, one rushing and two kickoff returns — coming into the game.

“That was a big goal of mine. The last couple of games I’ve had to make things happen on special teams,” Capolungo said. “Finding the end zone has been a big goal of mine and tonight we executed.”

Graves induced the 40-point running clock on the final play of the third quarter. The senior quarterback got into the scoring act with a 10-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 52-7. It was Dakota Ridge’s third touchdown over the span of 4 minutes to close out the third quarter.

Minter did connect with junior Aaron Nash for a 26-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to make the final score 52-13.

Dakota Ridge heads up north at the North Area Athletic Complex Oct. 7 for a 4 p.m. kickoff against Standley Lake (2-4, 0-1) to continue conference play.

“This was a huge win for us against a good team and rival like Bear Creek,” Capolungo said. “To get a dominating win to start league is going to lead us in the right direction.”

Bear Creek also has a 4 p.m. game Oct. 7. The Bears square off against Chatfield (5-1, 1-0) at Jeffco Stadium.

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

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