LAKEWOOD | Cherokee Trail was a different football team Friday night than it was in Week 1 when it played host to Chatfield in the regular season opener.
Like the Cougars, the host Chargers had also evolved over the course of 10 weeks and that was on display at Jefferson County Stadium as they put up two touchdowns in the opening quarter and went on to a 42-7 victory in a Class 5A first round state playoff contest.
Coach Justin Jajczyk’s 19th-seeded Cherokee Trail team found itself in a 28-point hole to 14th-seeded Chatfield before it got on the scoreboard with an 18-yard touchdown pass from junior Tyson Smith to junior Brandon McCullough and that would be it in terms of points as the Cougars were limited to 201 yards of total offense.
Full Class 5A state football playoff scoreboard and schedule, here
Cherokee Trail — which lost in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight season — finished the season 5-6.
Chatfield (6-5) moved into a second round matchup with No. 3 Arapahoe (8-2) on Nov. 10 at Littleton Public Schools Stadium.
The Cougars won the coin toss and deferred possession to the second half, giving the Chargers the football first. Senior quarterback Jake Jones drove Chatfield 62 yards in just eight plays in a drive that ended with his touchdown pass to Charles Yanett.
Cherokee Trail went three-and-out, but an interception by senior linebacker Jaden Smith gave the Cougars some momentum. They were forced to put again and the Chargers ended the quarter with another touchdown, which came when Jones just eluded junior Cade Brook’s sack attempt and found Brock Narva for a touchdown.
Still a 14-0 game coming out of halftime, Chatfield scored two more times on a pass to Drew Rohlman from Jones, who then scored on a short run to make it a 28-point game with just under five minutes left in the period.
Cherokee Trail tallied its lone score with 21.1 seconds left in the quarter when Smith — who finished with 147 yards passing — put one in the hands of McCullough for a touchdown. McCullough finished with 51 yards receiving, one more than junior Peyton Sommers, who had 50 in his return to the field since he suffered a broken collarbone in the season opener against Chatfield.
Jones and Landon Mueller had red zone touchdown runs in the fourth quarter to expand the winning margin for the Chargers.
Only one of Aurora’s three team in action in the 5A first round earned victories, as No. 11 Grandview held off No. 22 Douglas County 28-21, while No. 16 Eaglecrest fell to No. 17 Legacy 28-14.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at email@example.com. Twitter/X: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2023 CLASS 5A STATE FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS (1ST ROUND)
Nov. 3 at Jefferson County Stadium
(14) CHATFIELD 42, (19) CHEROKEE TRAIL 7
Score by quarters:
Cher. Trail 0 0 7 0 — 7
Chatfield 14 0 14 14 — 42
Chatfield — Charles Yanett 7 yard pass from Jake Jones, 7:50 (Andrew Astone kick)
Chatfield — Brock Narva 14 yard pass from Jones, 0:00 (Astone kick)
Chatfield — Drew Rohlman 10 yard pass from Jones (Astone kick)
Chatfield — Jones 2 yard run (Astone kick), 4:57
Cherokee Trail — Brandon McCullough 18 yard pass from Tyson Smith (Miles Philson kick), 21.1
Chatfield — Jones 9 yard run (Astone kick), 6:57
Chatfield — Landon Mueller 2 yard run (Astone kick), 2:24
Cherokee Trail: Noah Collins 8-18, Brian Tucker 6-17, Tyson Smith 7-16, Logan Posey 1-3
Chatfield: Landon Mueller 19-106, Jake Jones 7-52, Cory Bahl 3-38
Cherokee Trail: Smith 16-32, 147 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions
Chatfield: Jones 12-18, 116 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception
Cherokee Trail: Brandon McCullough 3-51, Peyton Sommers 6-50, Peyton Castro 5-35, Brian Cusack 1-6, Isaiah Jones 1-5
Chatfield: Drew Rohlman 5-49, Jaden Zeller 3-26, Colin Mote 1-20, Brock Narva 1-14, Charles Yanett 1-7