LAKEWOOD | Shorthanded Cherokee Trail suffered a 23-21 loss to Chatfield in its season-opener on Aug. 30 at Jefferson County Stadium.
Coach Monte Thelen’s Cougars — last season’s Class 5A state runners-up and the No. 2 team in the CHSAANow.com preseason coaches/media poll — played without seven players, including starting quarterback Aric Johnson, who were serving one-game suspensions and two others who had been injured the previous week, yet still held four-point lead going into the closing minutes against the Chargers.
Chatfield — which led 14-7 at halftime — got a 4-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kyle Winkler as time expired, however, to avenge a 24-0 loss to Cherokee Trail in the 2012 season opener.
“We were a little shorthanded, but we don’t want to take anything away from Chatfield, they definitely outplayed us,” Thelen said. “They beat us, there are no excuses whatsoever. We scored with three minutes left to go ahead and we lost the game, so the credit needs to go to Chatfield.”
Junior Cameron Smith led the Cougars with 87 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns, while senior Cameron Currington added 53 yards and a score on the ground.
The Chargers showed balance with an effective running game with Brendan Murphy rushing for a pair of touchdowns, while Winkler worked off that success through the air.
“They are very well coached and they were well prepared for the game,” Thelen said. “They ran it well and ran it hard and threw it effectively.”
Cherokee Trail is scheduled to play host to Fort Collins at 1 p.m. Sept. 7 at Legacy Stadium.
CHATFIELD 23, CHEROKEE TRAIL 21
Score by quarters:
Cherokee Trail 0 7 7 7 — 21
Chatfield 0 14 0 9 — 23
Cherokee Trail: Cameron Smith 18-87, Cameron Currington 6-53, Izaiah Lottie 3-27, Jason Thompson 1-2, Tyler Penney 4-(minus 13)
Cherokee Trail: Penney 6-10, 54 yards
Cherokee Trail: Isaiah Kaiser 2-27, Mason Bode 1-17, Jason Thompson 2-7, Evan White 1-3