ARVADA — Pomona kicked off its Class 5A Jeffco League schedule Thursday, Sept. 30, with a much-needed victory on the gridiron. The Panthers defeated Lakewood 49-7 at the North Area Athlete Complex …
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ARVADA — Pomona kicked off its Class 5A Jeffco League schedule Thursday, Sept. 30, with a much-needed victory on the gridiron.
The Panthers defeated Lakewood 49-7 at the North Area Athlete Complex to get to .500 (3-3 record, 1-0 in league) on the season and more importantly start conference play off on the right foot.
“You can see when we put it together we can be pretty special,” Pomona coach Nathan Johnson said. “We’ve been struggling finishing games. Two more points against Grandview and Smoky Hill we win those two games. We kind of found ways to lose.”
Pomona closed out its non-league schedule last week with a tough 29-28 road loss to Smoky Hill. The Panthers started the season 0-2 after losses against No. 5 Grandview and No. 2 Cherry Creek before getting bounce-back wins over Doherty and Legacy.
“We had to set the tone early,” Pomona senior Chase Muller said. “Even with those past losses we want to prove Pomona is still Pomona. We are still the Big Black.”
Senior defensive lineman Jaden Barrientos actually got the scoring going. He rumbled into the end zone for a defensive score for Pomona after Lakewood fumbled on its opening drive.
“He rumbled in for sure,” Pomona senior linebacker Michael Sierra said. “We were all screaming for him. He is the biggest one on the team and wanted him to get a touchdown.”
Johnson wasn’t sure what happened on the play that was in front of Lakewood’s sideline in the opening minutes.
“I thought it was an incomplete pass and then I see them all running,” Johnson said. “I asked why is (Barrientos) running in. He has worked his tail off to get on the field. That set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Pomona’s vaunted rushing attack took over the scoring from there. Muller had touchdown runs of 46 and 22 yards in the first quarter to open up a 21-0 lead.
“No. 9 (Muller) is sick. He is a great player and has worked so hard,” Johnson said. “He is the heartbeat of our offense. Credit to our offensive line. I put pressure on them this week to get to the second level.”
Pomona senior Deion Maes got into the scoring act with touchdown runs of 4 and 17 yards in the second quarter to extend the lead to 35-0.
The Panthers got it to running clock with a 40+ point lead on the final play of the first half. Senior Noah Epley connected with senior Steven Gartman for a 63-yard touchdown pass to make it a 42-0 halftime led for Pomona.
Epley had another touchdown pass for the lone score in the third quarter. He hooked up with senior Isaiah Alvarez early in the third quarter for the final points of the night for the Panthers.
“Some teams are going to focus on me, but we have a lot of weapons that people have discovered yet,” Muller said.
Lakewood prevented the shutout with a 7-yard touchdown run by senior Vince Martinez early in the fourth quarter to make it a 49-7 lead.
“We worked on it all week,” said Sierra, who had an interception in the second quarter. “We emphasized to play as a team and preform tonight.”
It’s back-to-back rivalry games coming up for Pomona. The Panthers face cross-town rivals Ralston Valley and Arvada West over the next two weeks.
“I’m excited about the challenge,” Johnson said of facing Ralston Valley and A-West back-to-back. “It’s an incredible challenge with Coach Loyd’s team and Coach Pyatt’s team. This was a game we needed to set the tone for two really big ones coming up here.”
Schedule doesn’t get any easier for Lakewood with a pair of top-5 teams coming up. The Tigers square off against Columbine next week before hosting Ralston Valley on Oct. 14 at Jeffco Stadium.
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.
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