A homecoming game A-West will not forget



Arvada West celebrates the win over Columbine

A stadium has never been so quiet. A-West’s bleachers fall silent within a matter of seconds. The quiet rumbling of Columbine’s student section is the only sound that can be heard. Arvada West students wait with baited breath. Some look away. Some pray. 16 seconds left. A-Wests fought hard but this is the only play that matters. If they don’t score here, the game is over. Columbine wins again. Then, the snap. QB number 8 has perfect protection, and all the time in the world. The O-Line holds one last time. Wide receiver number 1 Drew Martinez streaks down the field to the corner of the end-zone. The ball is in the air. A beautiful pass straight to him. Columbine’s corner has the upper hand, standing in front of Martinez. But it doesn’t matter. Martinez has the height advantage. Reaching up to the ball, he brings it down. The world moves in slow motion now. The referees slowly raise their hands in the air, signifying a touchdown. 5 seconds remain in the game. And as Arvada West drills the extra point through the uprights, the game is over. The crowd is full of nonsensical commotion. The screams are deafening. People rush to the front of the bleachers, leaping over the railings to the concrete below. The fence separating the field from the stands, leans under the weight of students pressing against it. The scoreboard reads 24-21. And for the first time in 17 years, Arvada West comes out on top. 

Arvada West played the game of a century last Friday, October first. A game no one thought they would ever win, against the then number four team in the state. The Columbine Rebels. 

Arvada West students packed the bleachers of the NAAC for their homecoming game. Students came with an all time high excitement, buying seats from each other in the front of the stands and even painting their chests to say “Wildcats” 

The game started as many people expected it to, with Arvada West giving points up early to the so far dominant Columbine team. Columbine’s run-heavy triple option gave the defense a daunting task for the first few drives and quickly established a commanding 14-0 lead over A-West in only a quarter into the game.

Almost halfway through the second quarter, the Arvada West offense finally found its footing. Quarterback Ethan Cook utilized the full force of his offense squad, scrambling for a first down and then following it with passes to number 17 Brady Witherspoon, number 13 Noah Younger, and Number 11 Ean Lee, all for first down gains and more. Cook and Lee rounded the beautiful drive off nicely with a touchdown pass leaving the score a much more attainable 7 point margin behind Columbine. 

The victory was short-lived though, as Columbine responded swiftly and dominantly with just two plays and another touchdown leaving the score 21-7. Arvada West’s offense was forced to respond after their very short break and managed to kick a field goal bringing the score to 21-10, where it would remain for the duration of the first half. 

A-West despite losing big to the powerhouse of Columbine was not deterred when they entered the second half. The defense came out with passion, finally stopping the dominant run game shown by Columbine throughout the first half. For the first time in the game Columbine is forced to settle for a field goal. But even here they fell short. The kick is blocked by the A-West defense and the wildcat offense takes the field with confidence. Coming up on another fourth down, Cook throws a bubble pass to running back number 28 Cade Russel. Russel takes the ball to the sideline and to the shock of everyone in the vicinity he sets up to pass, throwing an absolutely gorgeous ball to number one Drew Martinez who catches it for a touchdown. The score now reads 21-17 Columbine. 

The next few drives were the real battle of the evening. The battle was in the trenches throughout the remainder of the third and majority of the fourth quarters. No team makes any discernible progress and no points are scored. Both offense and defense play long convoluted drives leaving both teams utterly exhausted. Columbine continues its attempts to run the ball up the middle and simply overpower the Arvada West defense. It’s classic smash mouth football when Columbine has the ball. But the Arvada West defense simply refused to yield, forcing Columbine to punt multiple times.

As the game got down to the wire, Columbine’s defensive line started playing tricks on the Arvada West offensive lineman. 

Right tackle Dylan Butler recollected on the drive saying, “They’re D-Linemen kept trying to call hike, making us jump. We’re just going off first sound. It was hard not to.” 

As the clock ran down A-West gave up multiple off sides penalties leaving them with a challenging first and 20. After three very stressful plays the ball went to Columbine for the last time. They got 3 final plays and were forced to punt. This was crucial. With less than half a minute left in the final quarter A-West would have to return this punt for a big gain. That or they would have to block the punt. Something exceedingly rare and extremely difficult to do. But Arvada West did just that, tipping the ball and recovering it on the 20 yard line with just about 23 seconds left in the game. And after a heart shattering incompletion, we were left with sixteen. Sixteen precious seconds and we took full advantage. Scoring one final time leaving nothing for Columbine to work with. 

With only the formalities of an extra point, a kick off, and a desperate hail mary from Columbine, A-West solidified their 24-21 victory in one of the most intense and well played games of football this school has ever seen. This victory also marked Arvada West’s first league victory, placing them in the number 3 spot in the league. Pomona lies at number one, Ralston Valley at number 2, and Columbine with an 0-1 league record, lies in fourth. It is a homecoming game and a story that will not soon be forgotten.