LAKEWOOD — Green Mountain’s most successful postseason football run in 20 years came to an end at blustery cold Jeffco Stadium on Nov. 30. “It sucks right now, but it was awesome to come out …
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LAKEWOOD — Green Mountain’s most successful postseason football run in 20 years came to an end at blustery cold Jeffco Stadium on Nov. 30.
“It sucks right now, but it was awesome to come out with the boys again,” Green Mountain senior Trey Towndrow said moments after the Rams’ 42-21 loss to Palmer Ridge in the Class 3A state semifinal game. “None of these games were guaranteed out here. We just kept fighting for it. We got this far. It was awesome.”
The Rams (10-3 record) put up a fight against the two-time defending 3A state champs. However, three fourth-quarter touchdowns by the Bears (11-2) sealed the victory for Palmer Ridge.
The plan for Bears’ senior Raef Ruel was to get a little dirty Saturday night.
“I’m kind of proud that I’m filthy,” said Ruel who had the dirtiest jersey on the field after rushing 39 times for 279 yards and four touchdowns.
Palmer Ridge squares off against Pueblo South in the 3A state championship game next Saturday at Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl on the campus of Colorado State University-Pueblo. The No. 2-seeded Colts defeated Fredrick 28-24 in the other 3A semifinal played in Pueblo.
The Bears versus Colts will be a rematch from earlier this season. Palmer Ridge edged Pueblo South 24-19 at the ThunderBowl.
“I know Pueblo South is hungry for that,” Ruel said of the showdown in Pueblo next Saturday. “We played them early in the season and I’m sure they want revenge on us.”
Palmer Ridge was in a tight battle early in the fourth quarter at Jeffco Stadium, during the third state semifinal game played on the same field in the span of 24 hours. Towndrow’s 27-yard touchdown run with 10:24 left in the fourth quarter cut Palmer Ridge’s lead to 21-14, but the Bears answered in the hurry.
Palmer Ridge marched 78 yards in four plays, all carries by Ruel who finished out the drive with a 23-yard touchdown run.
“I’m pretty sure we ran the same play four times in a row there,” Ruel said of his third touchdown run that pushed the Bears’ lead back up to a two-score game at 27-14. “We were all kind of getting nervous because (Green Mountain) is a good team. They hit hard and a well-coached. When we answered back it relieved some stress.”
A fourth touchdown run by Ruel and a 52-yard kickoff return by senior Anthony Roberson II for a touchdown on an onside kick attempt by the Rams allowed the Bears to reach the 40-point mark for the 11th time this season.
Facing a stiff north wind Palmer Ridge’s vaunted passing attack had to make some adjustments. Palmer Ridge junior quarterback Luke McAllister didn’t throw a touchdown pass for only the second time this season. Instead, the Bears went to their running attack spearheaded by Ruel and aided by their massive offensive line.
“It’s tough,” Green Mountain coach Jesse German said matching up against Palmer Ridge’s size up-front. “They are a really big team. We just couldn’t anchor down the B and C gap well enough. There were creases there and he (Ruel) found them.”
Palmer Ridge jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter with a 9-yard touchdown run by senior Noah Brom and 22-yard rushing score Ruel.
Green Mountain cut the Bears’ lead in half midway through the second quarter. Towndrow weaved his way into the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown to make it a 14-7 lead for Palmer Ridge. Towndrow accounted for all three of the Rams’ touchdowns in the season-end loss for Green Mountain.
“I’m just really proud of this team and these seniors,” German said. “They have done so much to change the culture.”
Green Mountain’s last trip to the state semifinals came back in 1999 when the Rams won the Class 4A state championship.
Dennis Pleuss is a media specialist for Jeffco Public Schools with a focus on athletics and activities. For more Jeffco coverage, go online at CHSAANow.com
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