CASTLE ROCK — The drought is finally over for Douglas County football.
For the first time in seven years, the Huskies defeated crosstown rival Castle View, 16-0, on Friday night in their annual “Battle of the Rock” rivalry game with citywide bragging rights on the line.
Douglas County senior quarterback A.J. Jackson completed two touchdown passes to junior wide receiver Chase Nelson while the Huskies’ defense forced multiple turnovers. Douglas County remains unbeaten (4-0) as a surprise Class 5A contender this season.
“I’m still letting it sink in right now. I’m trying to warm up because I’m frozen with the ice bath that I just got,” Douglas County coach Eric Rice said. “The thing about winning a game like this that is so important is because they’ve beaten us so many years in a row. I know it means so much to this whole community.”
Roughly 3,500 people filed into a sold-out Douglas County Stadium on Friday with the crowd visibly split down the middle between fans in purple and red. Both teams entered undefeated. But the Sabercats were riding high with six consecutive rivalry wins in the series.
The Huskies didn’t need reminding of that losing trend. They were intent on changing it.
Douglas County sprinted out to a 16-0 advantage in the first half with big-play offense and opportunistic defense.
Castle View (3-1) appeared in complete control on its first drive marching 60 yards downfield before a fumbled handoff exchange was recovered by the Huskies. Douglas County capitalized quickly on its ensuing drive when Jackson hit Nelson on a 59-yard touchdown completion (missed PAT). The Huskies added a second-quarter field goal to lead 9-0.
Douglas County kept its foot on the gas with time winding down before halftime. The Huskies’ offense converted four consecutive first-down plays and capped their drive with a 26-yard Nelson touchdown reception — his second of the night.
“I just tried to make a big play,” Chase said.
Neither team scored in the second half. A third-quarter Castle View drive reached the red zone but the Sabercats were stuffed on a fourth-down conversion attempt. Douglas County closed the game with an interception.
“It’s crazy but I can’t say that I’m surprised,” Jackson said. “I’ve got a lot of faith in my team behind me. This is the best group I’ve ever played with — period. I knew this was going to happen.”