Mesa Ridge's football team believes it is a state-caliber squad.
And after a 42-30 win over rival Widefield on Saturday, the Grizzlies are hitting their stride at the right time.
While a win over the Gladiators was sweet, Mesa Ridge coach Rob Braaten said the momentum that Saturday's win gives the Grizzlies heading into league play and the postseason is even sweeter.
He doesn't like to use the phrase "turning point" but he said his team has rebounded from a pair of tough losses early in the season. Mesa Ridge fell to Standley Lake and Canon City by a combined 10 points, but now the Grizzly offense has fell into a groove.
"My offense was just clicking today," Braaten said. "We made sure to get the defense out of the way today and just let my offense do its job."
In addition to the rivalry win, Mesa Ridge had two players break school records in Saturday’s afternoon clash. Senior Ju-Wan Edgerton, who had two interceptions on the day, broke the school’s career reception record late in the second quarter with his 67th career catch.
On the defensive side, senior Dominick Fini became the record holder for tackles for a loss on a season with 18.5.
"That was pretty sweet," Braaten said. "We knew they were close, and we were really excited to get that done today. Fini has like four school records now, and he's a great two-sport athlete. And Edgerton does great things for us as free safety and wide receiver. They're just great all-around athletes and they both do a lot for us."
Although official stats were not updated immediately after Saturday's game, Edgerton had 22 receptions for 410 yards through five weeks. According to MaxPreps, Fini was ranked second in the state with 17.5 tackles for a loss prior to Saturday's game.
"I've broken a record every single home game this year so it feels really good, but the only record I'm playing for is our win-loss record, and the other stuff just comes along," Fini said. "I know we are a state championship team. We had a couple slip-ups, and some injuries, but we are going to make it, and this first conference win is just the first steppingstone toward that goal."