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Miller wins battle of brothers for Rebels

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By Craig Harper

For the Courier

LAKEWOOD — Location makes Columbine and Dakota Ridge natural rivals in any sport. Now there’s a sibling rivalry adding spice to the recipe in boys lacrosse.

A year ago, brothers Jake and Riley Miller were freshman teammates on Dakota Ridge’s first varsity team. But Jake transferred to Columbine for the 2013-14 school year, and the two went head-to-head for the first time on March 21.

Literally, as Jake is the Rebels’ starting goalkeeper and Riley is an attacker for the Eagles.

Bragging rights? Riley notched a third-period goal, but Jake said he stopped Riley’s three other shots as Columbine roared to a 6-0 lead with the help of three power-play goals and cruised to a 13-6 victory at Trailblazer Stadium.

“He won the brother battle,’’ Rebels star Anthony SanFilippo said of Jake Miller, who replaced Evan Hartman, an honorable-mention all-state selection in 2013.

Miller played behind sophomore Tanner Pauley last season and saw an opportunity to start at Columbine. “Probably not,’’ Miller replied when asked if he would have started this year at Dakota Ridge. “It was great,’’ he added of beating the Eagles. “I can kind of let it off my shoulders now.’’

SanFilippo set the tone for Columbine, which won its second-straight Front Range League game after a pair of non-conference losses. His goal 42 seconds into the game was the first of three for the Rebels in the first 4 minutes, 25 seconds, and reversed a trend of slow starts in the team’s first three games.

“It was nice to get up on top and not have to be fighting back all the time,’’ SanFilippo said. “There was a little less pressure and we played more as a team.’’

Dakota Ridge got two goals by leading Taylor Davis, its leading scorer for the season, and two by Harper Sillman. Jake Allen and Dominic SanFilippo, Anthony’s sophomore brother, each scored twice for Columbine.

“They had some man-up goals early that put us in a hole, and that’s always hard to come out of when you’re in a hole like that,’’ said Dakota Ridge coach Mike Thumim.

The defeat was evidence of Dakota Ridge’s improvement from 2013, when its 8-7 record included a 17-1 loss to Columbine. The Eagles dropped to 2-2.