LAKEWOOD — Big plays are somewhat commonplace for Columbine. Be it Bernard McDondle’s 56-yard TD run in the first half or his 55- or 75-yarders in the second, or Michael Burns’ own 75-yard scamper, they were all part of the Rebels’ ever-present rushing attack Sept. 28 at Jeffco Stadium.
But if anything, Columbine’s 48-36 homecoming victory over Arapahoe was almost as much about what the Rebels did as it was what Arapahoe didn’t, at least in the first half.
Twice in the first half, Arapahoe left points on the field that would’ve made the momentum-changing game a lot closer than it already was. First, receiver Ethan Brunhofer fumbled at the Columbine 1 after a 33-yard reception from Taven Sparks. The ball rolled into the end zone and was recovered by Columbine (4-1, 1-0 5A Super 6) for a touchback. Then Thomas Trotman had an 88-yard kickoff return wiped out by a 15-yard facemask penalty.
Arapahoe (4-1, 0-1) did get a 26-yard Sparks TD pass to Jack Fleming and a 23-yard J.D. Hall field goal to trail 21-9 at halftime. Then a track meet broke out in the second half.
“We better get better in a hurry,” Columbine head coach Andy Lowry said. “We actually played good defense a week ago, but that’s a pretty physical football team right there.
“(They were) undefeated for a reason.”
Jeremy Aparicio’s 15-yard TD reception midway through the fourth quarter from Burns, who was named homecoming king at halftime, eventually proved to be the game-winning points. In all, the teams combined for 54 points in the second half — 40 in the fourth quarter.
The win sends Columbine to its third straight victory and into a cross-town showdown with rival Chatfield on Oct. 4. Earlier in the night, the Chargers upset Lakewood, a state finalist in 2011, 29-6.
Burns had a 1-yard plunge in the first quarter, and Garrett Hyde capped Columbine’s scoring with a 31-yard scamper in the fourth.
Sparks threw a pair of second-half TD passes — a 33-yarder to Michael Babb and a 5-yarder to Griffin Hansen — before scrambling for a 9-yard run late in the fourth quarter.
“Every time they scored we knew we had to put another score on the board and that’s what we did,” said McDondle, who finished with 334 yards rushing. “And it was run, run run. That’s all we do at practice so we put it into the game.”
COLUMBINE 48, ARAPAHOE 36
C: Bernard McDondle 56 run (Jeremy Aparicio kick)
C: Michael Burns 1 run (Aparicio kick)
A: Jack Fleming 26 pass from Taven Sparks (kick failed)
C: Burns 75 run (Aparicio kick)
A: J.D. Hall 23 field goal
A: Michael Babb 33 pass from Sparks (Hall kick)
C: McDondle 55 run (Arapicio kick)
C: McDondle 75 run (Arapicio kick)
A: Jose Cancanon 56 run (Hall kick)
C: Aparicio 15 pass from Burns (Aparicio kick)
A: Griffin Hansen 5 pass from Sparks (Hall kick)
C: Garrett Hyde 31 run (pass failed)
A: Sparks 9 run (run failed)