DENVER — The Thomas Jefferson football team is going somewhere it hasn't been in 31 years -- the football state championship game.
The Spartans, who are the top seed in the Class 4A playoff bracket, fended off 4-seed Falcon at All-City Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The 35-21 victory punched the Spartans' ticket to their first title game appearance since 1990.
"I still can't wrap my head around this. It's an amazing feeling, but the job is not done yet," freshman Dimitri Haralambopoulos said.
"If you would have told me six months ago that we'd be playing in the spring and we'd be contending for state, I'd tell you, 'Nah, you're lying.' But we here now, baby, and we still need one more."
Thomas Jefferson had an explosive start that included scoring 21 points in the opening quarter. Falcon clawed back to within seven points twice in the second half, but couldn't completely close the gap.
Haralambopoulos had two interceptions, including one in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory.
"I knew as soon as I caught that ball the game was over and we're going to state," he said. "My tears started coming, I couldn't hold me emotions. It was just a great feeling."
Thomas Jefferson running back Jaden Hill was unstoppable, racking up four rushing touchdowns, while Austin Lindegren had one on a quarterback keeper.
Falcon had two rushing touchdowns -- one each from Darious McFarland and Nolan Favreau -- and a touchdown pass from Cameron Robinette pass to Nate Moorehead.
Thomas Jefferson (7-0) will face 6-seed Gateway (5-3) in the state championship game. The Spartans have two championships from four title game appearances -- their most recent won in 1989 (34-32 over Montbello).
The 4A football state championship game will be played at the Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl on the Colorado State University-Pueblo campus. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. next Friday (May 14).
Falcon's season ends in the 4A semifinals with a 5-3 overall record.
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