LAKEWOOD – The Chatfield Chargers have been rolling with the punches since losing all-state standout quarterback Sam Stratton (knee) after Week Six.
In their second game of the sans-Sam era, the Chargers were flat beat up and knocked out, as the Regis Raiders rolled to a 35-6 Class 5A Big 8 League victory Oct. 23 at Jefferson County Stadium.
The Chargers (6-2) stalled in the first quarter, turned the ball over four times in the second quarter, and didn’t pick up a first down in the second half until there were eight minutes left in the fourth quarter and they were on their fifth offensive series.
The defense, meanwhile, got tenderized inside and cooked outside. Regis running back Marcus Walker carried the ball a whopping 34 times, racking up 181 yards and scoring four touchdowns. Raiders quarterback Davis Brendel calmly completed 11-of-19 passes for 187 yards.
“I think it was just that we really didn’t come out focused,” senior quarterback Tim Gleason said. “I think we need to come out next week and get better (and) like put this behind us.”
It doesn’t get any easier this week, as the Chargers will visit the North Area Athletic Complex on Friday (7 p.m.) to face second-ranked Arvada West (7-1), which needs a victory to secure at least a share of the Big 8 League title.
Gleason, who backed up Stratton for three seasons before making the switch to wide receiver this year, scrambled for 58 yards and a touchdown and threw for 80 yards. Gleason was intercepted once, and had receiver Erik Gayton fumble the ball a few steps after hauling in a 7-yard slant.
Gayton’s fumble, which seemed to just pop out of nowhere, was typical of Chatfield’s night. Gayton previously fumbled a kickoff return, and running back Shaw Gifford (79 yards on 11 carries) also fumbled during the disastrous second quarter where the Raiders converted three Chatfield turnovers into 21 points.
The speedy Chargers also got burned on a 60-yard pass play that put the Raiders up 14-0 with 6:15 left in the second quarter. The Chargers cut the deficit to 28-6 on Gleason’s 12-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter.
“We respected Regis,” Gleason said. “They are a really good team. They came out and they wanted this game. We just needed to come out and play harder.”
Chatfield’s defense tightened up early in the second half, but the offense could do nothing with the scoring reprieve. Their skill and speed never found the space to run or a rhythm to feed off of.
Stratton was suited up for the game for the senior celebration, and said he would suit up for Friday's game. He also said he plans to undergo knee surgery in the next few weeks.