AURORA | The Rangeview and Gateway football teams sure have played some remarkable contests since the Anvil traveling trophy joined the mix in 2008.
The Raiders and Olys perhaps played the most memorable of the series in that time on Friday night at Aurora Public Schools Stadium, when Rangeview tipped Jose Pizana’s game-tying field goal attempt as time expired in regulation for a 30-27 victory and continued custody of the coveted Anvil.
Sophomore quarterback Jaelin Odegard rushed for two touchdowns and threw second-half touchdown passes to AJ Thomas and Elijah Reed — the latter of which held up as the winning points — as the Raiders (4-3 overall, 4-0 in South Metro League) survived and delivered the Anvil to new head coach Justin Hoffman, Gateway’s former coach.
“When Gonz (former Rangeview coach Dave Gonzales) and I started with the trophy and the Anvil, this is what we hoped for; the rivalry, the pageantry of it all and getting each other’s best play,” Hoffman said.
“Coach (Shane) Ward and that Gateway team, I’m very proud of how they fought…They have done a phenomenal job and I believe we beat a really good football team tonight.”
It certainly didn’t come easy for Rangeview, which won by three points or less for the fourth time in the last five meetings between the teams, including a 16-15 win in 2011 when it blocked a potential game-winning attempt at the end of regulation. A missed extra point by the Olys in the fourth quarter of the 2013 meeting help the Raiders hang on for a 7-6 win.
The 2015 meeting was compelling from start to finish, beginning with a combined 29 points in the first quarter all the way down to fourth quarter drama.
Pizana drilled a 36-yard field goal on the Olys’ first possession of the game and Kevin Traylor and CJ Sanders rushed for scores in a high-scoring opening quarter.
The Raiders countered with Thomas 73-yard touchdown run and two keepers on nice reads by Odegard, but a blocked extra point and a pair of failed two-point conversions left the Olys with a 20-18 halftime advantage.
Rangeview jumped in front on Thomas’ 22-yard catch and run for a score in the third quarter and the key score came early in the fourth quarter when Reed rose up over Gateway standout cornerback Kendall Coleman and plucked the ball out of the air as he fell to the ground for a 21-yard touchdown catch.
“That was a great play by him and just great execution,” Odegard said. “As soon as I came out, I knew he was going to come down with it. I gave him the chance and he made the play.”
The Raiders nearly saw their 30-20 lead disappear, as electric quarterback CJ Sanders nearly rallied Gateway (2-5, 2-2) all the way back.
Sanders threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Paulsen with 6:26 remaining in regulation to make it a three-point game and drove the Olys into position to tie the game in the final minute as well.
A long bomb toward the end zone got tipped by Reed and went through the hands of Paulsen and Gateway had to settle for a field goal attempt after picking up a clutch first down with just under 10 seconds left and no timeouts.
Pizana — a soccer player who made his first quarter field goal try and knocked through all three of his extra points — rushed onto the field, set up and got the kick away, but several Raiders came crashing into the line and got a finger on it to seal the victory.
Rangeview players jumped around on the field while Gateway players lay strewn about in disbelief.
“What I told the kids afterwards is that is how a rivalry game is supposed to end, it should be a nail biter and decided at the last second,” said Ward, whose team lost 44-0 to the Raiders a year ago.
“Unfortunately it didn’t go in our favor,” he added. “I think we’re starting to figure some things out. We’re not quite there, but definitely doing a lot of good things. We need to keep the kids positive because we have two big games left against Heritage and Grand Junction.”
Gateway may move down a classification in the future, which might put the rivalry on hold for awhile, so Rangeview players were pleased they’d get to keep the Anvil.
“It means everything to us, Coach told us we might not be playing Gateway for the next few years, so it was more important to get it,” Odegard said.
Next up for Rangeview is a big roadblock to its quest for a sixth consecutive league championship — undefeated Arapahoe — which the Raiders face at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at Littleton Public Schools Stadium. The Warriors stopped Gateway on the goal line to escape with a 28-24 win on Oct. 9.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
RANGEVIEW 30, GATEWAY 27
Score by quarters:
Rangeview 12 6 6 6 — 30
Gateway 17 3 0 7 — 27
Gateway — Jose Pizana 36 yard field, 9:30
Rangeview — AJ Thomas 73 yard run (kick blocked), 7:33
Gateway — Kevin Traylor 10 yard run (Pizana kick), 7:02
Rangeview — Jaelin Odegard 6 yard run (run failed), 3:02
Gateway — CJ Sanders 16 yard run (Pizana kick), 45.3
Rangeview — Odegard 7 yard run (pass failed), 1:23
Rangeview — Thomas 22 yard pass from Odegard (run failed), 7:40
Rangeview — EJ Reed 21 yard pass from Odegard (run failed), 8:35
Gateway — Dylan Paulsen 10 yard pass from Sanders (Pizana kick), 6:26