LAKEWOOD — The Columbine Rebels play football with the subtlety of a jackhammer.
Columbine pounds the ball and eats the clock, chewing up yardage while shortening the game. And when the Rebels are running the ball well, it turns every possession into a must-score affair for their opponents.
That was the case on Friday evening when Columbine executed its game plan with aplomb, controlling the tempo of the contest while knocking off previously undefeated Fairview 35-14.
The Rebels (5-1 overall, 1-0 Mt. Cameron League) ran for over 300 yards on the ground and limited the explosive Knights (5-1, 0-1) to six possessions total. With Columbine, ranked No. 9 in Class 5A, scoring on every one of its drives that didn't end a half, Fairview coach Tom McCartney knew his team was going to have to try to put points on the board each time it had the ball.
"That's how we felt," said McCartney, whose fifth-ranked team lost for the first time this season. "We could've maybe taken some points there with some field goals, but we felt like we needed to keep scoring touchdowns.
"We tried but we felt short today."
The Knights did pass on a pair of field goal attempts, including one on the first possession of the second half when the game was still in doubt. But McCartney was right in that trading three points for seven wouldn't have done Fairview much good.
Behind the running of Tanner Hollens and Connor Snow, the Rebels wore out the Knights, dominating the time of possession on an almost three-to-one basis.
Columbine couldn't have scripted a better start to the game. Using it's patented running attack, the Rebels took the opening possession and methodically drove down the field, going 80 yards in 12 plays. Hollens punched it in from 2 yards out, capping a drive that took 6 minutes, 45 seconds off the clock.
Fairview responded with a long drive of its own, but turned the ball over on downs at the Columbine 19. That set up the Rebels second marathon drive of the day, 81 yards in 10 plays, with QB Logan Dearment taking it in from 5 yards out to push the lead to 13-0 with 7:45 left in the half.
And then they threatened to blow the game wide open after the Knights fumbled the ball away two plays later near midfield. Columbine marched right back down the field, this time getting a 6-yard TD pass from Dearment to Andrew Terrazas on fourth down to push the lead to 21-0 with 1:07 left in the second quarter.
But Fairview didn't roll over, and put together a nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive in 63 seconds to get back in the contest. Aiden Atkinson completed five passes on the drive, including a 25-yard strike to Miles Morton on fourth-and-10, and the 7-yard scoring toss to Mariano Kemp, who slipped a tackle at the 2 before getting in the end zone with 4.9 seconds left.
The Knights took the opening drive of the second half deep into Columbine territory, and looked to have scored when Atkinson hit a receiver in the end zone on first and 10 from the 23. But the ball popped free as he rolled over a defender in the end zone for an incompletion, and Fairview eventually turned the ball over on downs three plays later.
"You get knocked down, you have to get back up," McCartney said. "It's a football lesson, it's a life lesson. They knocked us down, but we've got a lot more football left, so we have to get the next one."
Fairview will look to get back on track when it hosts ThunderRidge next Friday at 7 p.m.
John Rosa: 303-473-1315, email@example.com
Columbine 35, Fairview 14
At Jeffco StadiumFairview (5-1, 0-1)0707—14
Columbine (5-1, 1-0)714014—35
Columbine — Tanner Hollens 2 run (Logan Dearment kick).
Columbine — Dearment 5 run (kick fail). Columbine — Andrew Terrazas 5 pass from Dearment (Terrazas from Dearment pass). Fairview — Mariano Kemp 7 pass from Aiden Atkinson (Tevye SchuettPelz-Rohl kick).
Columbine — Dearment 1 run (Dearment kick). Columbine — Conner Snow 9 run (Dearment kick). Fairview — Kemp 1 run (Tevye SchuettPelz-Rohl kick).
RUSHING — Fiarview: Mariano Kemp 7-23, Jake Sheerin 2-7, Aidan Atkinson 2-1, Jacob Fenton 1-0. Columbine: Conner Snow 20-114, Tanner Hollens 16-106, Andrew Terrazas 4-43, Logan Dearment 10-42, Ted Mullin 3-17.
PASSING — Fairview: Atkinson 21-35-0-219. Columbine: Dearmont 2-2-0-33.
RECEIVING — Fairview: Jake Sheerin 7-73, Bryce Dejardins 4-25, Kemp 4-25, Matt Greenwald 3-59, Miles Melton 3-44, Tevye SchuettPelz-Rohl 1-22. Columbine: Terrazas 1-6, Snow 1-27.