LAKEWOOD — Columbine winning its first-round Class 5A state playoff game Friday, Nov. 5, wasn’t shocking. The Rebels scoring all five of their first-half touchdown through the air was very …
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LAKEWOOD — Columbine winning its first-round Class 5A state playoff game Friday, Nov. 5, wasn’t shocking.
The Rebels scoring all five of their first-half touchdown through the air was very unexpected. No. 9-seeded Columbine cruised to a 56-0 victory over the No. 24 Far Northeast to advance to the round of 16.
“I’ve coached a lot of games, but I don’t remember one like this,” Columbine coach Andy Lowry said of not one of the Rebels’ eight touchdowns on the night coming on the ground.
Columbine quarterback Brock Zanetell had a trio of touchdown passes in the first half. He added a fourth touchdown in the third quarter to nearly double his touchdown passes on the season.
“We always have it in. We are always ready,” Zanetell said of the passing game. “Coach Lowry made some great calls. When he calls those we are ready to execute.”
Zanetell had touchdown passes to sophomore James Cillessen (11-yards) and senior Seth Cromwell (19-yards) only a 1:30 apart in the first quarter to open up a 14-0 lead. The senior quarterback connected with senior Wes Jones for a 6-yard touchdown in the opening minutes of the second quarter to push the lead to 21-0.
“They (Far Northeast) has some big bodies. Good football players and physical kids,” Lowry said of calling for short touchdown passes to finish off drives. “Thats part of our offense. We have to be able to do that when teams stack the box.”
The defense did its part with seniors Chris Archuletta and Jones each with interceptions that they ran back for touchdowns in the second quarter to give Columbine a commanding 35-0 lead at halftime.
“A lot of if was with practice this week,” said Jones, who finished with three touchdowns on the night. “We came out with a different mentality. We have had a bunch of team meeting going over what our mentality needs to be. We showed that tonight and we’ll carry that throughout the playoffs hopefully.”
Columbine sophomore Josh Snyder waisted no time pushing the game to a running clock in the third quarter. Snyder returned the opening second-half kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown to induce the 40-point mercy rule with the Rebels’ leading 42-0.
The Warriors (5-6) were coming off winning the 5A state title during the Spring 2021 season. Far Northeast defeated Boulder 34-0 in the title game held May 15 in Pueblo.
“We knew if we played hard, played fast and got off to a quick start we would be able to pull away,” Zanetell said. “If we play our game we are as good as anybody.”
The Rebels square-off against Jeffco League foe Arvada West in the second round of the state tournament at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, at the North Area Athletic Complex. The No. 8 Wildcats edged Columbine 24-21 in their conference game back on Oct. 1 at the NAAC. The Rebels led 21-10 at halftime.
“(A-West) played harder than we did in the second half,” Lowry said talking about the first meeting. “We made a lot mistakes with special teams. We laid an egg offensively in the second half. We did have a lot of secondary guys out that game. Hopefully we’ll be healthy.”
After earning a first-round bye, A-West (8-2) will host Columbine at the NAAC, but likely will be without starting junior quarterback Ethan Cook that suffered an injury in the Wildcats’ regular-season finale win over Ralston Valley.
“It doesn’t matter who their quarterback is,” Zanetell said. “We are going to focus on us and make sure we put our best foot forward. Get some revenge.”
The loss to A-West was only the second time in more than two decades that Columbine had suffered a loss to the Wildcats.
“We are coming in hungry,” Jones said of the rematch. “Losing to them was one of the hardest losses we’ve ever taken at Columbine. We’ll be ready for A-West and whatever they’ll throw at us.”
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.
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