Chargers run over Eagles

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By Brian Forbes

LAKEWOOD — The Chatfield and Dakota Ridge football rivalry needed five years to schedule a tiebreaker game.

Dakota Ridge may want to wait another five years before playing the Chargers again.

The Chargersdominated the line of scrimmage to break off big plays and disrupt anything the Eagles tried to muster as they cruised to a 24-10 nonleague season-opening, cross-classification victory Aug. 28.

“Our defensive guys followed our game plan to a ‘T’,” Chatfield coach Bret McGatlin said. “They followed it perfectly. Exactly how we wanted to do it.”

Figuring they would have to hold the Eagles to 21 points or less to win, the Chargers limited the Eagles to a 48-yard field goal before giving up a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

The Chatfield offense misfired on occasions, but got three big running plays to set up or score each touchdown. Junior quarterback Sam Stratton scored on runs of 42 and 38 yards, while fullback Brennan Gallegos (56 yards rushing) scored on a 1-yard scoot two plays after Shaw Gifford’s 46-yard run put Chatfield on the Eagles’ 7-yard line.

Stratton rushed for 63 yards and threw for 114, although he was guilty for forcing a few passes and was intercepted three times.

“I didn’t feel very nervous, I just wasn’t throwing like I usually do,” Stratton said. “I felt really great running the ball. My line did awesome on those plays.”

Dakota Ridge’s offensive line struggled with Chatfield’s blitz, which was aimed at preventing quarterback Cameron Pritchett setting up speedy receiver Austin Rodriguez for a deep route. The Chargers also bottled up all-state running back Andrew Melton, holding him to just 26 yards rushing in the first half and 85 for the game.

Pritchett, who said he didn’t feel very comfortable in the pocket in the face of the pressure, completed 5-of-13 attempts for 119 yards. He connected on a 64-yard touchdown to Rodriguez and was intercepted once.He was sacked five times.

“We weren’t surprised. We knew they’d come out hard,” Pritchett said of the Chargers. “We didn’t have the week of practice that we needed to come out and play like we had to.”

The game at Jefferson County Stadium was the first meeting between the neighborhood rivals since 2003. The teams played a four-game stretch against each other beginning in 2000, which saw each team pick up two victories.

Chatfield went up 14-0 on the first play of the second quarter before the Eagles got on the board with a long field goal by sophomore Cody Timmons. The Chargers answered with a 44-yard field goal by Shay Borrego to go into halftime up 17-3.

Chatfield put the game away with 5:07 left in the third quarter when Stratton ran a draw, cut to the left side and scampered down the sideline for a 38-yard touchdown run.

The Eagles twice began drives inside Chatfield territory but came up with just three points.