No. 5 Ralston Valley shows off depth in win over 4A’s No. 2 Loveland

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 9/13/21

ARVADA — Ralston Valley’s defense proved it was up to the challenge Sept. 9 at the North Area Athletic Complex. Facing Loveland’s vaunted rushing attack that led the Red Wolves to the Class 4A …

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No. 5 Ralston Valley shows off depth in win over 4A’s No. 2 Loveland

Posted

ARVADA — Ralston Valley’s defense proved it was up to the challenge Sept. 9 at the North Area Athletic Complex.

Facing Loveland’s vaunted rushing attack that led the Red Wolves to the Class 4A state football championship last Fall, the Mustangs pitched a shutout for the first three quarters on the way to a 25-6 victory.

“Defensively I think our guys did a really good job sticking with going what they need to do for the defense,” Ralston Valley coach Matt Loyd said. “Loveland knows what they are running on offense and they do a really good job with it on their way to winning state championships.”

Loveland — No. 2 in the CHSAANow.com Class 4A rankings — ended the shutout bid midway through the fourth quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run by junior Trent Stephenson to end a 25-point run by Ralston Valley.

“It was a good battle,” Ralston Valley junior defensive end Gunner Schoepflin said. “Loveland has a couple good guys up front. Overall we did good. I’m really proud of my team tonight. It was a great effort tonight.”

Ralston Valley — No. 5 in the 5A rankings — improved to 3-0 on the season and held Loveland to its lowest scoring output since the Mustangs defeated the Red Wolves 42-6 back in 2019. The Mustangs showed off their depth on both sides of the football on the way to their third straight win of the season.

“We just made a conscious effort of everyone doing their own job,” Ralston Valley junior safety Jason Thome said. “It really paid off tonight.”

Offensively, the Mustangs used three different quarterback in the win. Senior Zach Friedman, sophomore Logan Madden and junior James Wochner all took snaps. Madden sparked Ralston Valley’s offense in the second quarter leading the Mustangs to their first score.

Madden connected with senior Bubba Harr for a 38-yard gain on his first varsity pass of his career. Madden finished off the drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to junior Josh Rillos on a fourth-down play with 20 seconds left in the first quarter.

Friedman engineered the Mustangs next scoring drive after Ralston Valley’s defense stop Loveland on a fourth-down play from Ralston Valley’s 45-yard line. Senior Steele Fredricks booted a 45-yard field goal to put the Mustangs up 11-0 with 3:58 left before halftime.

“If guys are good enough to play we want to give them chances to play,” Loyd said. “It’s not just at the quarterback position, that’s at every position.”

Loveland got things going offensively on the ensuing drive, but Thome intercepted Loveland sophomore quarterback Trey Olsen on another fourth-down attempt by the Red Wolves. Ralston Valley took a 11-0 lead into halftime after a last-second pass by Madden was ruled out of bounds.

“We were playing situational defense and I was just in the right place at the right time,” Thome said of his interception.

The third quarter was all Ralston Valley. Junior Diano Benallo scored on a 2-yard run on the Mustangs’ opening drive on the second half. Wochner then hit junior Brayden Schatz for a 30-yard touchdown with 5:04 left in the third quarter to push the lead to 25-0.

“It’s a great start. We are really looking to continue this,” Thome said. “It’s been a team effort. It’s not an individual effort.”

Ralston Valley heads right back into another top-10 battle next week. The Mustangs are on the road against No. 6 Grandview on Friday, Sept. 17, at Legacy Stadium.

“Grandview is a very good team. They beat Pomona and Pomona is a really good opponent too,” Schoepflin said. “Grandview has a lot of studs on that team. They week we are just going to have to get after it. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is. It’s all about us.”

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

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