LAKEWOOD - The Skyline Falcons had the ball at the Chatfield 44, fourth down and needing a single yard to keep the opening drive of their first playoff game in 18 years going.
Quarterback Nate McGregor handed to Jeremy Hollingsworth, a combination that has produced so much success this season. Except this time it didn't work. The Chargers stuffed him and the game had suddenly turned.
Four plays later Ben Frenette jogged into the end zone for the first of five Chatfield touchdowns in the first quarter and the route was on. After a nearly two-decade wait to get back to the postseason, the return was short-lived for the Falcons in a 61-22 loss in the 4A playoffs at Trailblazer Stadium on Friday night.
"I don't think it was us. We came out and we were flat," Skyline head coach Mike Silva said. "We're better than what we showed and it was unfortunate. It was unfortunate we didn't come out with our best effort. That's not taking anything away from them because they're as good as anyone in the state and they showed that tonight."
The No. 12 Falcons, a team that piled up yards and points all season, were outmatched by No. 5 Chatfield. Frenette ran for 111 yards, three touchdowns and five two-point conversions. The Chargers took control early and the outcome was never in doubt.
Hollingsworth, the leading rusher in the state coming in with 1,899 yards, ran for 14 yards on seven carries. Skyline (8-3) managed just 80 rushing yards and 227 of total offense. It was a surprising total for a team that led the state in yards (4,608) and averaged more than 50 points a game in the regular season.
"It stung a little bit especially knowing the offense we have," junior Kyle West said. "If we execute we have one of the better offenses in the state."
West was one of the lone bright spots. He scored on a 52-yard pass from McGregor in the second quarter and added a 36-yard touchdown on a sweep in the fourth. He caught all seven of McGregor's completions for 147 yards, but all of them came after Chatfield (10-1) was up by 40.
It wasn't just Frenette that hurt them. Receiver Keland Rumsey caught touchdown passes of 67 and 40 yards
"We started out with low energy but the second half we started to play like a team," West said. "It set in that this definitely could be our last game."
The Falcons played like it after falling behind by 54. West scored on a sweep, they then forced a safety and Jack Wathen returned the ensuing kick 69 yards for a touchdown.
But it was window dressing for a team with higher aspirations. Skyline was a down program for years but Silva has turned it around and posted consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1999. Friday's loss doesn't diminish the progress, but it hurts.
"All that's great and that's well documented but right now we're here and we didn't perform," Silva said. "Our expectation is try to be back here again and not have this kind of performance."
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Chatfield 61, Skyline 22
At Trailblazer StadiumSkyline (8-3)07015—22
Chatfield — Ben Frenette 19 run (Frenette run). Chatfield — Frenette 1 run (Frenette run). Chatfield — Frenette 11 run (Frenette run). Chatfield — Dawson Voth 6 pass from Colton Arne (Frenette run). Chatfield — Keland Rumsey 67 pass from Arne (Frenette run).
Skyline — Kyle West 52 pass from Nate McGregor (McGregor kick). Chatfield — Rumsey 40 pass from Zack Yanda (Charlie Wildermuth kick).
Chatfield — Cole Ingersoll 60 pass from Yanda (Wildermuth kick). Chatfield — Evan Nelson 7 run (Wildermuth kick).
Skyline — West 36 run (McGregor kick). Skyline — Safety, Logan Carlisle tackled in end zone. Skyline — Jack Wathen 69 kickoff return (kick failed).
RUSHING — Skyline: Kyle West 2-37, Moses Rivera 4-20, Nate McGregor 3-19, Jeremy Hollingsworth 7-14. Chatfield: Cole Ingersoll 3-113, Ben Frenette 9-111, Logan Carlisle 4-14, Evan Nelson 1-7, Logan Freerksen 1-3, Colton Arne 1-0, Hunter Barnes 1-(-9).
PASSING — Skyline: McGregor 7-18-2-147. Chatfield: Zack Yanda 3-5-0-110, Arne 2-73, Matt Canino 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Skyline: West 7-147. Chatfield: Keland Rumsey 2-107, Ingersoll 2-70, Dawson Voth 1-6.