Rocky Mountain News


Platte Valley wins 2A state football championship

Published November 24, 2007 at 5:19 p.m.

KERSEY – Platte Valley’s Tate Mekelburg set the tone for Saturday’s Class 2A state championship game on the very first play from scrimmage, running down Platte Canyon playmaker AJ Melillo and driving him a good three or four yards out of bounds.

Mekelburg and the Broncos felt they could match the Huskies speed, and they were going to be in Platte Canyon’s face all game long. Behind a great defensive effort and an offense that made the plays when it had to, the 12th-seeded Broncos won the first football state championship in school history, knocking off the 11th-seeded Huskies 21-7 in front of an overflow crowd at Platte Valley High School.

Mekelburg, the Rocky Mountain News Most Valuable Player, and the Broncos held Platte Canyon to 102 yards of offense as Platte Valley (11-2) dropped the Huskies (10-3) for a loss on 11 of their 50 plays from scrimmage.

“We knew we had to stop their big plays – that’s how they win their games,” said Mekelburg, a junior. “Once we let them know that we were just as fast as they were, they weren’t going to get anything easy to the outside. We kind of changed their whole game.”

A tight end by trade, Mekelburg was actually making his first start at outside linebacker, called into emergency duty after an injury sidelined normal starter Trevor Shockley.

“We were looking for someone to play that position because Trevor couldn’t go,” Platte Valley coach Mike DeWall said. “Tate’s been a sub. A great kid and he’d be starting for any body else, but we like to two-platoon to keep kids fresh.”

While linebackers Mekelburg and Michael Hoffman, as well as defensive backs Kyle Symonds and Parker Guttersen, finished off a lot of tackles, the Broncos defensive front of Kalvin Ratzlaff, Austin Whipple and company, clogged up the running lanes and controlled the line of scrimmage.

“You could see their team speed on defense. They did a great job swarming to the football and shutting down our guys who are used to having a little more room in there,” Platte Canyon coach Mike Schmidt said. “I thought the difference was on the lines. They controlled the tempo of the game and we could never catch up.”

Guttersen, who also plays quarterback, kept Platte Canyon’s offense moving and scored all three of the Broncos touchdowns. An all-state defensive back a year ago, Guttersen was asked to replace Ty Tschacher, the 2006 offensive player of the year, under center, and he proved to be a perfect fit for DeWall’s system.

“I was able to fit the scheme good, so it worked out fine,” said Guttersen, who had 135 yards of total offense. “It’s not just me. It’s mainly the offensive line, they’re doing most of the work.”

Guttersen put the first points on the board with less than a minute to play in the first quarter, finding the end zone on an 11-yard designed scramble. He then ran in the 2-point conversion out of the swinging gate, giving Platte Valley an 8-0 lead.

The Broncos added to their lead late in the second quarter, getting a 5-yard touchdown run from Guttersen that capped a nine-play, 61-yard drive. The point after attempt failed, and Platte Valley took a 14-0 lead into the intermission.

Platte Canyon captured some momentum early in the second half when Ben Wegener picked off a Guttersen pass and ran it back 69 yards to the Broncos’ 13 yard line. Melillo scored from 1-yard out a short time later to cut the deficit to 14-7 with 8 minutes, six seconds left in the third quarter.

But the Huskies could never get any closer as Platte Valley’s defense never allowed a play to go for longer than 11 yards in the second half, and actually finished with negative yards in the fourth quarter.

Melillo, who had 161 yards rushing in last week’s semifinal win over Holy Family, was held to negative 16 yards of offense in the contest.

It was a much different feeling for DeWall and the Broncos than the one they had last year, when the lost to Faith Christian in the state championship game. He said the theme for the year was “Finish It,” and the loss last season drove them throughout the past 12 months.

“That was our goal since we walked off the field this time a year ago, to be in the state championship and this time to do it right,” DeWall said.

Platte Valley 21, Platte Canyon 7

PC 0 0 7 0 – 7

PV 8 6 0 7 – 21

Scoring summary

First quarter

Platte Valley – Parker Guttersen 11 run (Guttersen run)

Second quarter

PV – Guttersen 5 run (run fail)

Third quarter

PC – A.J. Melillo 1 run (Austin Reed kick)

Fourth quarter

PV – Guttersen 1 run (Adam Sitzman kick)

Individual Statistics


PC – Mike Pollick 8-58, Dillon Whisman 12-47, Ben Wegener 8-17, Blaze Eisele 2-2, Nolan Hansell 1-minus 6, Anthony SeChrist 5-minus 10, A.J. Melillo 9-minus 16.

PV – Parker Gutterson 21-107, Everardo DeLaCruz 8-48, David Devitt 10-42, Zach Dovenbarger 4-14, Kyle Symonds 1-1.


PC – SeChrist 1-5-1 10.

PV – Guttersen 6-9-1 28.


PC – Gregg Davis 1-10.

PV – DeLaCruz 3-4, Tate Mekelburg 2-12, Dovenbarger 1-12.


PC – Wegener.

PV – Ty Burman.

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