Golden scored 25-unanswered points late Friday afternoon at the North Area Athletic Complex to shock previously undefeated Ponderosa.
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“We talked about fighting through some adversity,” Golden coach Matt McDougal said after the 25-14 victory. “That beginning of the game is exactly what happened to us last year (versus Ponderosa). A lot of credit to the kids for hanging in there.”
The Mustangs (2-1 record) — ranked No. 4 in the Select Media Football Poll this week — took an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter with an opening 80-yard touchdown drive capped off with a 11-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Marcus Price to junior Max Mervin.
Three plays later senior Cayden Bille returned an interception back for a pick-6 to give Ponderosa a 14-0 lead with 5:57 left in the first quarter.
However, it was all Golden (2-1) from there on out. The Demons to their first score with a 3-yard touchdown run by senior Luc Chevalier with 4:04 left in the first half. Ponderosa turned the ball over on downs on the next drive and Chevalier kicked a 29-yard field goal with 11.3 second before halftime to cut the lead to 14-10.
Golden’s defensive forced four Ponderosa turnovers in the second half, which included a pair of interceptions by senior Jonathan Wheeler that led directly to scores.
“We have been emphasizing getting turnovers and stuff like that,” McDougal said. “We are finally starting to get some of them. Those are huge when your offensive is struggling a little bit. You need to get turnovers.”
Wheeler’s first pick gave the Demons the ball on Ponderosa’s 5-yard line with 6:49 left in the third quarter. Chevalier scored his second touchdown to give the Demons their first lead of 18-14.
Wheeler intercepted Price again midway through the fourth quarter and took it 35 yards to the end zone to push the lead to 25-14.
“We knew coming in that (Ponderosa) was going to take shots and throw the ball,” Wheeler said. “We knew the best way to win this game was force turnovers. I can only thank my defensive linemen and linebackers for getting pressure on the quarterback on that pick-6.”
Ponderosa drove inside Golden’s 20-yard line on the next drive, but junior Noah Limback got into the takeaway game. The two-way interior lineman chased down Ponderosa back-up quarterback Aurelio Marchiol, stripped the ball and then Limback jumped on the loose ball.
“Coming into that play I new we needed a stop to seal the game,” Limback said. “Everyone was giving all of their effort. We needed to make something happen.”
Limback had a number of tackles in the inside as the Demons were able to prevent Ponderosa from getting any kind of running game going.
“He (Limback) is playing both ways and a little bit of special teams still,” McDougal said of his two-way inside defensive/offensive lineman. “He is a just a straight effort kid.”
The win was the second straight for Golden after a disappointing 36-0 loss to Class 3A’s Green Mountain in Week 1.
“Going into Green Mountain I think we were a little cocky thinking they were a 3A team. They are a good team. Green Mountain has size and skill,” Wheeler said of the shutout loss to the Rams. “Silver Creek win was a little bounce back, but Pondo is dangerous. We bowed up in practice and did our jobs. We were ready to roll.”
Golden will roll over to All-City Stadium next Friday night to face Denver South (2-1).
“We have great kids and they play hard,” McDougal said. “They aren’t the biggest kids. They aren’t the strongest kids, but they give 100 percent effort.”
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.
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