LAKEWOOD — Bear Creek’s football program has found its identity that has translated into the Bears’ first winning season since 2014. “Our kids have worked all year long from where we’ve …
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LAKEWOOD — Bear Creek’s football program has found its identity that has translated into the Bears’ first winning season since 2014.
“Our kids have worked all year long from where we’ve come and where we’ve been,” Bear Creek coach Matt Steinfeldt said Thursday night at Jeffco Stadium. “The 7-2 record looks great. A lot of things on paper looks great. We still had those mistakes. As a growing program we’ll go back and look at those mistakes.”
It wasn’t perfect in the Class 4A Metro 1 League game against winless Wheat Ridge (0-9, 0-4 in league). Bear Creek (7-2, 3-1) took an early 13-0 lead, but a pair of turnovers gave the Farmers short fields that they converted into touchdowns.
The Bears led 21-12 at halftime, but really turned things on in the second half to grab a 49-12 victory. Bear Creek extended its winning streak to 3-games with the victory.
Bear Creek had four rushing touchdown in the second half with senior quarterback Jaedon Minter, senior Gavin Mueller finding the end zone along with senior Ryan Segovia with a pair of short touchdowns runs. The Bears’ defense was solid shutting out the Farmers in the second half.
“We just wanted to play the same way we’ve been playing,” Minter said after producing three passing touchdowns in the first half and one score with his legs after halftime. “We wanted to make less mistakes.”
There is no mistaking that Bear Creek is playoff-bound for the first time since moving down to the 4A classification in 2018.
Bear Creek is right in the thick of the conference race with three other league foes that are all ranked in the top-10 of the 4A CHSAANow.com football rankings. No. 2 Dakota Ridge, No. 8 Chatfield, No. 10 Golden along with Bear Creek were only separated by 1-game for the league title before games last week.
“For the Jeffco League it’s going to be a big week,” Steinfeldt said of Week 10 coming up. “Chatfield and Dakota Ridge play next week.”
Dakota Ridge edged Golden on Oct. 22 at the North Area Athletic Complex. Chatfield defeated Standley Lake in the Chargers homecoming game the same night at Jeffco Stadium.
It’s highly likely all four will make the 24-team state tournament bracket. All four teams were in the top-12 in the RPI rankings at the beginning of Week 9.
“I’m not sure if we knew we would be in this position four months ago,” Steinfeldt admitted. “It’s a good place for us to be.”
During the heyday of Bear Creek’s football program in the late 1990s and early 2000s the Bears were a perennial 5A football state contender under coach Tom Thenell. While that might seem like a long time ago, the Bears have their program going in the right direction in the second year of Steinfeldt at the helm.
“We reference it,” Steinfeldt said of Thenell’s run at Bear Creek that included trips to the Class 5A state title game in 1997 and 2000. “As a program we want to look back at all the great things that Coach Thenell did. I heard that name so many times coming through the door.”
While Steinfeldt wanted his current team to look back at what has been done at Bear Creek in the past, he also knows this year’s team must have its own identity.
“We have definitely find our way, but I don’t think we have found our way all the way,” said Minter, who gives a lot of credit to the coaching staff to the turnaround. “We still have mistakes and mess up. The day that we become perfect is when things have really changed.”
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.
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