HIGHLANDS RANCH - Sometimes won-lost records can be misleading. Mountain Vista football coach Ric Cash tried to convince his team that had lost four …
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HIGHLANDS RANCH - Sometimes won-lost records can be misleading.
Mountain Vista football coach Ric Cash tried to convince his team that had lost four of its first five games that the Golden Eagles were better than what showed in the standings.
His players became believers on a cold Saturday night when Mountain Vista upset top-ranked Chaparral, 38-34, in a Continental League game at Shea Stadium.
“The kids just had to dig in and do things we knew we could do if we stuck to it and got them to believe we’re not a 1-4 football team,” said Cash. “Even though that was our record, that’s not our team. Our kids really showed their character.”
Mountain Vista improved to 1-1-0 in the league and 2-4-0 overall while Chaparral fell to 1-1-0 and 5-1-0.
The Golden Eagles fell behind 21-0 but rallied with 23 unanswered points and came back from five and three deficits in the fourth quarter as the teams traded leads.
Chaparral led 34-31 with 3:58 remaining in the game when Mountain Vista went on a 76-yard, 14 play scoring driving that ended on Tanner Smith’s 2-run touchdown run with 20.7 seconds showing on the clock. Michael Klein’s extra point kick gave the Golden Eagles a 4-point advantage and Chaparral didn’t have enough time to mount a comeback.
“They came back and we couldn’t stop them,” said Chaparral coach John Vogt. “We got outcoached and outplayed.”
The game featured two of the state’s better quarterbacks in Chaparral’s Max Kuhns, an All-State baseball player, and Mountain Vista’s Ryan Rubley, who has orally committed to play football at Tulsa next fall.
Kuhn’s connected on 17 of 27 passes for 358 yards and four touchdowns.
Senior tight end Mitchell Parsons caught five passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns for the Wolverines while tight end Drew VanMaanen, another senior, had five receptions for 83 yards and two scores. VanMaanen also scored Chaparral’s final touchdown on a 4-yard run which gave the Wolverines a 3-point lead late in the game.
Rubley, a 6-foot-4, 195 pounder, was 21 of 32 for 274 yards and three touchdowns.
He was under pressure much of the game but used his athletic ability to scramble, make plays and was the benefactor of some spectacular catches from his receivers.
Matt Yamane caught nine passes for 124 yards and one touchdown. Rocco Palumbo caught three passes for 46 yards and a TD. He also caught a two-point conversion pass from Rubley. Smith grabbed a 16-yard scoring pass from Rubley for the first of his three touchdowns.
“I throw it and let the receivers make the play,” said an excited Rubley. “I don’t know what to say. We’re a whole lot better than our record. We’ve just got to keep working.”
Rubley might have been almost speechless but both coaches had plenty to say about the quality of the quarterbacks on the field.
“You better believe there were two good quarterbacks,” said Vogt. “Our kid threw for almost 400 yards. Every time their kid (Rubley) scrambled, he made a play. We flushed him too much. We should have let him throw in the pocket.”
There were a combined 59 passes in the game for an average of 10.1 yards per reception.
“Yeah, there were a couple good quarterbacks out there,” he said. “I talked with Chap’s quarterback after the game and he said he is probably looking at baseball at the next level but he could play football. Obviously Ryan has already committed to Tulsa.”
Mountain Vista, which had a 42-20 edge in plays run during the second half, had the better running game with Smith gaining 116 yards on 11 carries and he scored twice on a pair of 2-yard runs.
“Our goal is to be a balanced offensive team than can attack in a variety of ways depending on what is working,” said Cash.
“We are pretty aggressive defensively and sometimes it hurts us and it probably did early in the game. Then we settled in and did some good things in the second half and put ourselves in better situations.”
Chaparral played without leading rusher Zac Guy who is sidelined with an injured ankle.
“Missing our running back hurt us more than I thought it would,” said Vogt. “We thought we would replace him but we can’t. You have to give Mountain Vista credit. They had a great game plan. They ran the ball enough to keep us off balance so we were guessing.”
Mountain Vista is all of a sudden back in the Continental League title chase. The Golden Eagles play Highlands Ranch Friday and finish with games at Regis Jesuit and against first-place ThunderRidge.
“The win was a big motivator and the kids will feed off of it,” said Cash. “We can use the win to get us on a roll and move in the right direction.”
Chaparral hosts Regis Friday, then entertains ThunderRidge and concludes the regular season at Douglas County.
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