Football: Defense key as Arapahoe bests ThunderRidge in 5A playoffs

Legend up next for Centennial school

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Arapahoe High School’s defense stepped up in a second-round Class 5A playoff football game against ThunderRidge High of Highlands Ranch and sparked a 23-16 victory at Littleton Public Schools Stadium Nov. 12.

Except for a couple pass plays, the Arapahoe Warriors’ defense contained the ThunderRidge Grizzlies offense and helped stake Centennial-based Arapahoe to a 16-0 in the third quarter before ThunderRidge finally made a couple long pass completions.

“Yeah, the defense played well,”said Arapahoe coach Joe Nuu. “There are some things we have to clean up. We messed up on a couple coverages but hand it to ThunderRidge for really fighting.

“Our defense played well. The offense started slow and we hopefully can score more. It was a great win for our team and community.”

Arapahoe (9-2) moves into the quarterfinals and will face Parker’s Legend (10-1).

It was the second win this season for Arapahoe over ThunderRidge (9-3). The Warriors topped the Grizzlies, 38-17, in a Sept. 17 contest.

Arapahoe running back DJ Montoya did not play in the earlier game against ThunderRidge but he was main ball carrier for the Warriors and scored on a five-yard run. He helped keep the chains moving as the Grizzlies rushed for 159 yards in the game.

“He is just workhorse,” added Nuu. “He’s done the job all year long.”

Arapahoe got a safety, Pyresse Miller had a seven-yard TD run and quarterback Cole Hansen scored on a quarterback sneak for the Warriors.

Chase Thompson was the key player for ThunderRidge. He ran down the sidelines on an 80-yard flat pass from Seth Frasier for a touchdown and had a seven-yard TD run late in the game.

In other Class 5A second round games, top seed Valor Christian of Highlands Ranch romped to a 52-2 win over Fort Collins. Cherry Creek eliminated Mountain Vista of Highlands Ranch, 34-0 and Legend knocked off Rock Canyon of Highlands Ranch, 28-14. Regis Jesuit edged Pomona of Arvada, 28-21, Columbine beat Arvada West 38-14 and Grandview downed Mullen, 42-21.

In the quarterfinals, besides the Arapahoe-Legend contest, Regis Jesuit (8-3) faces two-time defending state champion Cherry Creek (9-2), Columbine (9-3) tests undefeated Valor Christian (11-0) and Ralston Valley (9-2) plays Grandview (9-2).

For more CHSAA 5A prep football playoff results, go online to tinyurl.com/5Afootballplayoffs

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