DENVER — The 2018 Loveland Indians will go down as perfect.
Nothing could derail Loveland's undefeated season (14-0), which was capped off with the Class 4A state championship on Saturday afternoon at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. The Indians were dominant in a 62-14 victory over Skyline to capture the title.
It is Loveland's sixth state title in program history, and first since 2003. It was also the second-highest scoring 4A title game.
"This is picture perfect -- everything I imagined," senior running back Zach Weinmaster. "I'm overwhelmed with emotion right now. I've been playing with these guys for 10-plus years, and every year we haven't won that big game yet. It's so special to all of us."
The Indians -- who had a slow start against Skyline previously in the final week of the regular season -- flipped the script on the Falcons this time around, getting on the scoreboard twice in the first minute of play.
First, Loveland went with a squib kick on the game's opening kickoff. The gamble paid off, as Skyline fumbled the return, and the Indians were able to recover it. On their first play from scrimmage, quarterback Riley Kinney found the end zone on his feet to give his team a 7-0 lead just 10 seconds into the game.
Kinney would finish the game with MVP honors, scoring five touchdowns and racking up 108 yards on 16 carries.
On Skyline's ensuing drive, Chase Silva was picked off by Cody Rakowsky, giving the Indians fantastic field position. Again, Kinney would scramble to the end zone for a 14-0 Loveland lead less than a minute into the first quarter.
Skyline, though in a big hole so early in the game, responded by marching down the field. A couple of penalties on Loveland kept their drive alive, before Silva hit Nathan McGregor for a short touchdown completion to make it a one-score game.
But Loveland would not be stopped.
The Indians scored five more in the first half, including a touchdown reception from Rakowsky, another rushing touchdown from Kinney and two running scores from Zach Weinmaster (who also had an interception late in the first half).
Loveland's defense did its part to contribute as well, when Isaiah Meyers picked off Silva and returned it for a touchdown to give the Indians a commanding 41-14 lead at halftime. Falcons running back Jeremy Hollingsworth had the lone other score for Skyline in the second quarter.
Hollingsworth finished with 68 yards on 16 carries. Silva had 135 passing yards, but just one touchdown to four interceptions by completing nine of his 21 attempts.
The Indians brought the same intensity and dominance in the second half, with Kinney once again being the leader on offense. The quarterback rushed for his fourth and fifth touchdowns of the day, giving his team the 62-14 lead at the start of the fourth quarter, while also triggering a running clock in the process.
"I couldn't have done it without everyone else -- with Zach, our line, the fullbacks, running backs, the defense. It was amazing," Kinney said. "We've wanted this for as long as I can remember. I don't have the words."
Skyline finishes as runner-up with a 10-4 overall record.