LAKEWOOD | For at least one quarter, it was all fun in the snow for the Regis Jesuit football team Friday night.
The Raiders capitalized on the snowy, slippery conditions at Jefferson County Stadium to score two touchdowns in the opening period of a Class 5A state football quarterfinal contest against undefeated Columbine, but that turned out to be the extent of their offensive fun in a 27-14 loss.
Senior quarterback Michael Pavlakovich rushed for touchdowns of 3 and 58 yards in the first quarter as second-seeded Regis Jesuit got the jump on the top-seeded Rebels, only to see them grind out unanswered touchdowns in each of the subsequent three periods to pick up the win.
Junior running back Mikey Griebel rushed for 158 yards and scored all four touchdowns for Columbine, which improved to 12-0 and claimed Region A’s spot in the 5A semifinals. The Rebels will play second-seeded Pomona (9-3), a 32-21 winner over No. 1 Grandview, at 1 p.m. Nov. 28. Cherry Creek and Valor Christian, which played in last season’s 5A state championship game, play in the other semifinal.
In his first season as head coach at Regis Jesuit since arriving from Arizona, Danny Filleman led the Raiders to the same round of the playoffs that stopped them last season as well as an 9-3 record. Regis Jesuit remains in search of its first trip to the semifinals since 2010, when it made it to the state championship game before falling to parochial school rival Mullen.
Meanwhile, coach Andy Lowry has Columbine one victory from playing for the 5A state title for the fourth time in the past 10 seasons. The Rebels won the state crown in 2006 and 2011 and lost in the 2008 final.
Regis Jesuit struck right off the bat when sophomore Tama Tuitele pounced on Columbine’s muff of the opening kickoff in difficult conditions, setting the Raiders up at the Rebels’ 23 yard-line.
A false start penalty moved them back five yards, but four Pavlakovich carries covered that whole distance and got them into the end zone less than two minutes in the contest.
Despite a big sack from Regis Jesuit’s Drew Schlegel, Columbine responded to tie it up.
Griebel bounced off a pile in the middle of the field and reached the ball over the pylon as the Rebels capped a penalty-aided drove with the tying score, but it wasn’t long before Pavlakovich broke loose around the left end of the line and won a foot race to the end zone.
Another methodical Rebels drive tied finished with Griebel’s 4-yard run that tied the score at 14-14 going into halftime.
Griebel rushed for the go-ahead score in the third quarter and caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jake Lowry — the only pass attempt of the night for the Columbine senior — in the fourth quarter. The Rebels became the only team to score more than 17 points this season against standout defensive lineman Ace Escobedo and the Regis Jesuit defense.
The Raiders’ other chance for points came with George Maguire’s 35-yard field goal attempt that missed late in the third quarter.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
(1) COLUMBINE 27, (2) REGIS JESUIT 14
Score by quarters:
Regis Jesuit 14 0 0 0 — 14
Columbine 7 7 7 6 — 27
Regis Jesuit — Michael Pavlakovich 3 yard run (George Maguire kick), 10:02
Columbine — Mikey Griebel 21 yard run (Easton Hartman kick), 3:55
Regis Jesuit — Pavlakovich 58 yard run (Maguire kick), 2:42
Columbine — Griebel 4 yard run (Hartman kick), 9:43
Columbine — Griebel run (Harman kick), 6:06
Columbine — Griebel 20 yard pass from Jake Lowry (kick failed), 5:59
Regis Jesuit: Michael Pavlakovich 14-90, Alec Barnes 14-64
Columbine: Mikey Griebel 28-158, Tim Mullin 15-81, Jake Lowry 12-59, Matthew Starkey 1-1
Regis Jesuit: Pavlakovich 8-17, 69 yards
Columbine: Lowry 1-1, 20 yards, 1 touchdown
Regis Jesuit: Jack Weigand 4-31, Jack Stoll 2-22, Ryan Cornell 1-14, Quentin Birch 1-2
Columbine: Griebel 1-20