Thomas Jefferson senior Jake Tapia doesn’t want to be caught from behind anymore.
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“Last year I got hogged down all the time,” Tapia said of being caught from behind on long runs. “This year I’m going to try to change that.”
Tapia did change that in the first quarter Friday night at Trailblazer Stadium. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound running back had a 95-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter to help the Spartans to a dominating 39-7 victory over Wheat Ridge.
“My offensive line did great blocking for me. Props to them,” Tapia said of the 95-yard touchdown run. “I just did what my coaches taught me. We practice it every day in practice. It’s nothing new.”
Tapia had a monster night with three touchdowns runs to help TJ improve to 2-0 on the season. His final touchdown run of the night in the third quarter pushed TJ’s lead to 39-0. Only a missed extra-point attempt kept the game from going to a running clock for the remainder of the game in the third quarter.
“He makes us (coaches) look smart,” Thomas Jefferson coach Mike Griebel said of Tapia’s three touchdowns runs to give him four scores on the season.
Senior quarterback Meech Haralambopoulos had a 8-yard touchdown pass to senior Jake Scobey, along with a touchdown run for the Spartans’ signal-caller. Senior running back Brayden Larimer had a 10-yard touchdown run to get into the scoring act too.
“We just wanted to get better from last week,” Griebel said coming off a 19-6 win over Pomona in Week 1. “We did a couple new things with some new kids. I was pleased with the team. We took a step up tonight.”
Wheat Ridge (0-2 record) prevented the shutout with a nice 85-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Isaac McCune to junior Bennett Wilkes in the final minutes.
Wheat Ridge is on the road against Denver North (1-0) next week. The Farmers face the Viking at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at All-City Stadium.
TJ will actually play right after the Wheat Ridge versus Denver North game at All-City Stadium. The Spartans have a 2 p.m. kickoff against Greeley West.
Griebel, who spent time as an assistant coach at Columbine, will actually has his squad face four Jeffco schools during non-league play. After wins against Pomona and Wheat Ridge, TJ squares off against Bear Creek and Standley Lake before getting into the 4A Southeast Metro League play.
“We did that on purpose,” Griebel said of scheduling four Jeffco schools during the Spartans’ non-league schedule. “You have to play some good quality and tradition football programs. That is what we think we have done. It helps TJ get better.”
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.
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