Anyone who left the game early Oct. 26 at Littleton Public Schools Stadium because it was too cold to stay until the end missed quite an amazing ending when the Arapahoe Warriors defeated the Chatfield Chargers 40-28, claiming the 5A Super 6 conference title.
In the first half, the ninth-ranked Chargers (6-3, 3-2 5A Super 6) looked like they had a chip on their shoulder as the dominated the field. Chatfield scored on the first play of the game when Chatfield junior Austin Steinhoff ran 72 yards untouched.
By the end of the game, the Chargers would clock five kickoff returns for a total of 94 yards, pass for 70 more and rush for a total of 403 yards with Chatfield junior running back Brendan Murphy steamrolling for 232 of those yards and scoring two of Chatfield’s four touchdowns.
“They blitzed and came hard, but once I got past the line of scrimmage there was no one and it was time to turn it on,” Murphy said.
In the first quarter, Murphy took off on a 48-yard jaunt and couldn’t be stopped even when Arapahoe senior Thomas Trotman hooked a piggyback ride. Murphy chugged through another five yards before finally succumbing to Trotman’s weight.
“I wasn’t so sure (we would win) before the half when we were down 14-0, but I told them (at halftime) that it was a new game,” Arapahoe head coach Mike Campbell said.
Which makes the second half of the game all the more puzzling.
Seventh-ranked Arapahoe (8-1, 4-1) played reckless football missing field goal attempts and being flagged for several personal foul calls. But it was the turnovers and fumbles that made the difference. Chatfield couldn’t make anything happen from Arapahoe’s numerous errors.
In the third, with Chatfield at the 13-yard line, it only needed to bag 1 more yard to get a first down. But the handoff from senior quarterback Mason Brozovich was an obvious read for the Warriors, forcing the Chargers to turn the ball over on downs.
“We came out and ran the ball really well and hats off to their defense because we put drives together we just didn’t put the ball in the end zone in the second half,” Chatfield head coach Bret McGatlin said.
The sad thing is that even though Arapahoe got possession it couldn’t do anything with it either and wound up turning the ball over after a touched punt at the 35-yard line with 11 minutes, 20 seconds remaining.
But with less than two minutes left in the game, Trotman intercepted a Kyle Winkler pass at the 21-yard line and returned it for a touchdown solidifying the win for Arapahoe. This was after the Warriors took the lead for good a couple of minutes earlier.
“I felt like in the third quarter if they scored, we answered. But if you look at the last few minutes of the game that’s where things changed. We didn’t get the first down, they get a good punt return and scored and then we throw an interception for a touchdown. Other than (the last few minutes of the game) I thought we were pretty in control of the game,” McGatlin said.
“It is unbelievable for us to win a league victory in what I think is the best league in Colorado high school football. We haven’t had a league championship at Arapahoe since 2004,” Campbell said.