Colorado football fans got a clear indiciation Saturday of just how wide the chasm is between the state's top team and the next-best.
Simply put, the gap is mighty wide. Mullen (Denver, Colo.)
, top-ranked in Colorado and No. 10 nationally in MaxPreps Freeman Rankings, obliterated No. 2 Regis Jesuit 37-6 Saturday at Invesco Field at Mile High in the Class 5A state championship game. It could have been worse, as Mullen led 31-0 at the half and essentially called off the dogs in the latter going.
"This is a special group," said Mullen coach Dave Logan, a former NFL wide receiver who is 101-9 overall with the Mustangs. "They've had a bulls-eye on their backs for quite awhile."
Doubt quickly evaporated as to whether Mullen (14-0) could extend its title reign to three seasons and its winning streak to 33 games. Bulldozing 230-pound tailback Adonis Ameen Moore
and speedy wide receiver Rayshon Williams
each ran for two first-half touchdowns - both of Williams' on end-around plays - as the Mustangs outgained Regis Jesuit 306 to minus-6 in the opening half.
Ameen-Moore's two touchdowns gave him 83 for his career at Mullen, in which he was the primary ball carrier all four seasons. A whopping 39 of those came in the postseason. Still mulling Division I offers, Ameen-Moore finished his Mullen career with 6,075 yards on the ground.
"It's a bittersweet time for me," said Ameen-Moore, who racked up 131 yards on 16 first-half carries. "I'm ready to move on to college, but at the same time, I've built a lot of strong relationships here."
Regis Jesuit, which entered unbeaten and No. 68 nationally, converted only one first down in the first half. The Raiders (13-1) finally got on the board in the waning moments when Andrew Faggella rushed for a 10-yard touchdown against the Mullen reserves. The pass-happy Raiders typically rotate quarterbacks, but with Eystin Salum banged up, used only Luke Longfield.
Constantly pressured by a swarming Mullen defense, Longfield misfired on all three of his first-half attempts and finished 4-for-13 for 81 yards.
"We're a passing team, and with our quarterback not getting a lot of time, it hurt us quite a bit," said Raiders receiver Casey Young, who produced some of the Raiders' lone highlights with three catches for 70 yards. "We couldn't pick up the outside blitzes and that was killing us. Our middle was sealed and we couldn't get the outside going."
Mullen quarterback Cyler Miles threw for 198 yards and a touchdown, connecting with Malcolm Whye eight times for 141 yards and a 14-yard TD. Miles was picked off by Regis Jesuit's Tanner Ottenbreit - it was only Miles' second interception of the season and first since the opening play of the season - but it was of little consequence considering Mullen was up by 31 at the time.
It was one of the few blemishes on an otherwise picture-perfect early-December day for the Mustangs.
"We had to come out and play strong football and treat them like they were anyone else," Ameen-Moore said. Regis Jesuit 0 0 0 6 - 6
Mullen 10 21 6 6 - 37
Baker FG 25. M -
Williams 16 run (Baker kick). M -
Ameen-Moore 27 run (Baker kick). M -
Ameen-Moore 9 run (Baker kick). M -
Williams 5 run (Baker kick). M -
Whye 14 pass from Miles (kick blocked). RJ -
Faggella 10 run (kick failed).