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Homecoming a sweet one for Eagles

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By Joe Vaccarelli

LAKEWOOD — Teams are supposed to win their Homecoming games with relative ease in front of their alumni.

The Dakota Ridge Eagles lived up to that assumption and then some, thrashing Golden 59-3 Oct. 17 at Jefferson County Stadium in a Class 4A West Metro League game.

For the Eagles it was their fourth consecutive win, all in blowout fashion, outscoring their opponents 259-11 in that span.

That said, Golden (4-3 West Metro, 4-4 overall) was definitely the toughest opponent they faced in the four games.

Eagles coach Ron Woitalewicz knew this and gave his players credit for their preparation.

“I think the whole week, Homecoming and everything, our kids were really focused,” Woitalewicz said. “We hadn’t really played a tough opponent in three weeks. Our kids were really looking forward to playing somebody. They were really excited to play.”

The Eagles (6-1, 6-2) were able to dominate on both sides of the ball. On offense, the rushing attack led by senior Andrew Melton, was unstoppable in the first half.

Melton kicked off the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter, caught a 5-yard pass from quarterback Bolton Howes, then followed it up with 79- and 66-yard scoring runs to end his day.

Melton finished with 257 yards on 19 carries, but he was quick to give credit to his teammates.

“It all starts up front with the offensive line, they dominated the game left and right,” he said. “It’s easy when you have huge holes from what they did.”

Senior running back Mohanned Musleh also got in the action rushing for 89 yards on 8 carries and a 3-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

The Eagles defense was just as dominant, not allowing a first down until halfway through the second quarter and intercepting Golden quarterback Ryan Stokes four times, two each by Cameron Pritchett and Taylor Accardi.

Pritchett returned one for a touchdown early in the second quarter in a barrage of points that put the game out of reach for Golden.

“I kinda knew it was coming,” Pritchett said. “They lined up and ran the same play to other side and they had a penalty so it didn’t count and they tried to run it on our side.”

After building a 19-0 first-quarter lead, the Eagles scored 20 points in 36 seconds to ice the game and take a 39-0 lead.

Pritchett’s first interception gave Dakota Ridge the ball at midfield to start the second quarter, a drive that ended with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Howes to Ryan Bennett with 9:59 left in the first half.

Then on the first play of Golden’s next possession, Pritchett intercepted Stokes again, this time returning it 16 yards for the touchdown. Accardi got into the act with his first interception, which led to a 35-yard scoring pass from Howes to Austin Rodriguez on their next play from scrimmage.

The second half was quick, with the 40-point mercy in effect. The clock never stopped, except during timeouts called by each team and the Eagle starters got a well-deserved rest in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles next play Lincoln on Oct. 25 in preparation for their regular season finale against Heritage, (7-0, 8-0) the team right above them in West Metro League.