The cheering of the Arapahoe and Heritage students, parents and alumni was loud Sept. 8 when the Warriors and Eagles continued the Brookridge Trophy rivalry football game that dates to 1972.
Arapahoe was able to post a 28-13 win at Littleton Public Schools Stadium and keep the trophy.
“This rivalry is just as important to both schools as it was in the late 1980s when I played football for Arapahoe,” Warriors coach Mike Campbell said. “Everyone gets excited and comes out to cheer for their team. The crowds were just as big and just as loud as they were when I played in this game. This is a natural rivalry and a lot of the credit goes to former coaches Mike Griebel at Heritage and Paul Nelson at Arapahoe. They made this a very special rivalry with the milk-jug trophy like a trophy game in the Big Ten.”
The Brookridge Trophy is a silver milk can and it is a tribute to the history of the area since the land that is now the stadium was part of the Brookridge Dairy that operated until the 1950s. Plaques cover the trophy with the score of each game played starting in 1972. Red plaques designate Heritage wins and black plaques designate Arapahoe wins. It is a traveling trophy and the winning team gets to keep it for a year.
The Sept. 8 game remained scoreless until late in the second quarter when Alex Smith scored on a 5-yard run for the Warriors.
Heritage countered before the end of the first half as Eagles kicker Christiano Palazzo split the uprights for a field goal to make the score 7-3.
In the third period Matt Phelan scored the first of his two touchdowns for Arapahoe. Again, Heritage responded as quarterback Joe Weigang had Eagles fans on their feet when he kept the ball, pulled out of the grasp of a would-be tacklers and ran 72 yards for a touchdown.
The Warriors held a 14-10 advantage going into the last quarter. Warrior senior Smith ran the ball in for a touchdown and Palazzo kicked his second field goal to make the score 28-13.
In the final minute of the game, Heritage threatened with a first and 10 on the Warrior's 11-yard-line. It came down to a fourth and seven, when Weigang threw a pass and Smith tackled Calob Gavin on the 1-yard-line to complete the goal-line stand. The Warriors ran out the clock and won the game. Warriors players, students and fans celebrated as Arapahoe retained the trophy.
“It was a solid game. We played hard, aggressive football but we have to correct some things because we were flagged for far too many penalties,” Campbell said. “This is a big game for both teams, you always want to beat your rival and we needed a win after losing last year.”
Heritage coach Tyler Knoblock said it was a special game against a very respected rival in Arapahoe.
“We played hard. The game was closer than the final two-score difference, but we had some chances and didn't put points on the board,” he said. “But I love our kids and I am proud of the way we played. We have some great young talent and I saw some kids grow up out there tonight. We played hard and we played better than we did last week and, of course, getting better every week is what we work to do.”
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