Skip to content

NORTHGLENN — The 2014 season represented a rebirth for the Nederland football team. For the first time in years, the term “playoff hopefuls” entered into the mix after a recent three-game win streak.

In the midst of early trials and a more recent tragedy in the form of a severe spinal chord injury suffered by senior Miles Pancoast, the Panthers were involved in a relevant football game on Saturday afternoon at the STEM Launch School field in Northglenn, a must-win game against Rocky Mountain Lutheran to all but secure a spot in the Class A 8-man postseason.

And as determined as the Panthers may have been for most of the game, mistakes added up in a 46-20 loss to the Eagles, ending Nederland’s campaign at 5-4.

Nederland dug itself out of a 25-0 hole to make it a 12-point game right after halftime, but five turnovers in the second half put the Panthers behind the 8-ball in the Central League contest.

“It’s a bummer that we lost this game in this fashion, because we’ve worked hard and played better against better teams,” said head coach Aaron Jones, whose team finished 4-4 in league. “It would have been nice to finish the sentence with an exclamation point rather than a question mark.

“But I’m proud of our guys for the season they put together.”

Nederland snapped a good streak by giving the Eagles (6-3, 6-2) way too many opportunities and big plays. Using nine turnovers overall for the game, Rocky Mountain Lutheran’s offense racked up over 500 yards and scored three different times on its first play of a possession.

The Eagles scored on plays of 56, 37, 80 and 85 yards as part of the fireworks display on the other side.

Despite the barrelful of miscues, Nederland had some outstanding plays to keep in the game up until late in the third quarter. Trig Campbell’s interception with 5 minutes, 17 seconds to go in the second quarter led to a 40-yard touchdown pass from Kellen Sequeria to Quin Kuechenmeister, and after Rocky Mountain Lutheran made it 32-6, Kuechenmeister had a 70-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with just 37 seconds left in the half to get it to 32-14.

At 9:01 of the third, after the teams had exchanged fumbles, Noah Ridnell took a sweep play 80 yards for a score, and just like that it was 32-20. Ike Thibedeau sacked Michael Uhlhorn on the next drive to force a punt, but on a fourth down play from the Rocky Mountain Lutheran 21, Sequeria threw an interception.

The Eagles widened the gap with Eli Sievert’s 85-yard catch and run on a third-and-10 play, all but sealing the game.

“They weren’t a better team than us, but they took our mistakes and used them to their advantage,” said Kuechenmeister, who had 64 yards receiving on two catches. “Mistakes were the deciding factor of this one.

“We needed to stop those big plays and have outside contain. Better depth coverage on some of those plays.”

Thibedeau and Jack Abendroth each had several nice catches to help Sequeria to 169 passing yards, and Ridnell had 133 yards on 25 carries. Sequeria was filling in for Mike Wood, who was a go for the game up until late in the week.

“Mike came back to practice this week and was throwing the ball better than we’ve ever seen, and then he gets one more MRI to double-check and it shows a torn labrum,” Jones said. “We were really hoping to have him back. Kellen tried … and it’s not on him. They made plays when the ball was in the air.”

The outcome was tough to swallow, but for Kuechenmeister and the rest of the team’s potential returners, the future looks bright.

“The feeling around Nederland football the past few years has been, oh, they’re terrible, and I think this year, going 5-4, is amazing,” Kuechenmeister said. “We didn’t get in the playoffs, but we came pretty darn close and we should be proud of that.”

Follow Adam on Twitter:



At STEM Launch School

Nederland (5-4, 4-4) 0 14 6 0 — 20

RMLHS (6-3, 6-2) 12 20 7 7 — 46

First quarter

Rocky Mountain Lutheran — Chris Wiedersberg 16 pass from Michael Uhlhorn (run failed). RML — Wiedersberg 56 run (run failed).

Second quarter

RML — Wiedersberg 1 run (kick failed). RML — Zach Schlittenhart 37 run (Andrew Zemlicka kick). Nederland — Quin Kuechenmeister 40 pass from Kellen Sequeria (pass failed). RML — Wiedersberg 80 run (Zemlicka kick). Nederland — Kuechenmeister 70 kickoff return (Jack Abendroth pass from Sequeria).

Third quarter

Nederland — Noah Ridnell 80 run (pass fail). RML — Eli Sievert 85 pass from Uhlhorn (Zemlicka kick)

Fourth quarter

RML — Ryan Uhlhorn 22 pass from Michael Uhlhorn (Zemlicka kick).


RUSHING — Nederland: Noah Ridnell 25-133, Kellen Sequeria 8-21, Jaylen Rasdell 6-18, Austin O’Melia 2-8, Quin Kuechenmeister 1-(minus-4). RML: Chris Wiedersberg 17-188, Zach Schlittenhart 13-54, Chalie Hahm 6-32, Michael Uhlhorn 7-9, Levi Adickes 3-2.

PASSING — Nederland: Sequeria 10-27-7-169, Rasdell 5-8-0-33, Abendroth 0-1-1-0. RML: M. Uhlhorn 9-12-1-220.

RECEIVING — Nederland: Ike Thibedeau 6-67, Kuechenmeister 2-64, Abendroth 4-55, Ridnell 3-16. RML: Eli Sievert 4-156, Ryan Uhlhorn 2-46, Schlittenhart 2-18, Wiedersberg 1-0.