LAKEWOOD — Ralston Valley senior Brady Weldon had the second-half performance of his life Friday night at Jeffco Stadium.

The running back/linebacker had a huge interception in the third quarter and a pair of rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to seal a 42-28 victory for Ralston Valley over Chatfield.

“I’m super proud of how they responded after halftime as a team,” Ralston Valley coach Jared Yannacito said of the Class 5A Jeffco League game that was tied 21-21 at halftime. “Guys made huge plays at huge moments and that is what great teams do.”

Ralston Valley (7-2, 3-1 in 5A Jeffco) — No. 4 in the 5A Colorado Preps Select Media Football Poll — picked up its second straight victory after a tough conference loss to No. 2 Columbine a few weeks ago.

The biggest play of the game was made by Weldon with an interception of Chatfield senior quarterback Jake Jones on the first drive of the second half. The No. 9 Chargers (5-4, 3-1) drove inside Ralston Valley’s 25-yard line, but Weldon jumped an out route and returned it 80 yards to Chatfield’s 1-yard line.

Photo by Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Public Schools

“I actually wasn’t supposed to do what I did,” Weldon said of the interception of Jones on the opening drive of the third quarter. “I just felt it, jumped the out and got it. I felt it coming.”

Ralston Valley junior Bryson Diebel scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on the next play to give the Mustangs a 28-21 lead with 6:06 left in the third quarter.

“That was a huge, huge play for our defense,” Yannacito said of Weldon’s interception. “This whole year we’ve had the defensive mentality of bend, but don’t break. Somebody is going to make a play and Brady made a terrific play.”

The Mustangs took the first two-score lead of the game thanks to a 46-yard pass on a third-and-long play by senior quarterback Logan Madden to senior Anthony Benallo that got Ralston Valley down to the Chargers’ 19-yard line. Weldon had four straight carries and capped off the drive with a 6-yard scoring run.

“We challenge our guys in the second half to take it on their shoulders and be the more physical team on every single play,” Yannacito said. “We challenged our team to be the more physical team in the second half and that made the difference.”

Chatfield attempted a fourth-quarter rally with a quick 2-play scoring drive midway through the final quarter that cut the lead to 35-28. Junior Cory Bahl scored on a 4-yard touchdown run after a 34-yard run by Jones.

However, the Mustangs responded right back with a long kickoff return by senior Jackson Hansen to put Ralston Valley back into Chatfield territory.

Ralston Valley went to the power running game giving the ball to Weldon on nine straight carries to ice the game with an eventual 1-yard touchdown run with 2:45 left in the game.

“With our offensive linemen we just knew we were going to win that battle,” Madden said. “They came through. The whole offensive line was amazing and Brady did his thing.”

Fittingly, Weldon tackled Jones on a fourth-down play to turn the ball over on downs in the final minutes. Yannacito said Jones is the most elusive quarterback he has ever seen as the Chatfield quarterback scrambled out of the pocket on several occasions.

“He is a good player,” Weldon said of Jones. “He is fast and hard to tackle.”

It was a quarterback showcase in the first half.

Madden had three touchdown passes to pace the Mustangs. Senior Wyatt Morwood caught a tipped pass on the opening drive and ran it in for a 69-yard touchdown for the first of Madden’s touchdown passes.

Hansen had touchdown catches of 25 and 5 yards to increase his touchdown total to 11 on the season.

Jones was just as impressive with touchdown passes to senior Micah Lumpkin and freshman Jaden Zeller in the first quarter. Jones did it himself with a 32-yard touchdown run with 8:44 left in the second quarter to give the Chargers its first lead 21-14.

Madden answered orchestrating a 87-yard, 14-play scoring drive to get it tied at halftime. Hansen capped off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown catch.

“It’s always been a battle,” Madden said going up against Jones since both were in elementary school. “It’s always fun competing against him.”

The 5A Jeffco League title will be decided next week at Jeffco Stadium. No. 2 Columbine (9-0, 4-0) will square-off against rival Chatfield. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27.

The undefeated Rebels have scored 30-plus points in all nine games this season while holding opponent to 10 points per game. Columbine could sweep the conference to win the league title, but Chatfield could create a 3-way tie between the Rebels, Chargers and Mustangs with an upset win.

Ralston Valley wraps up its regular season against rival Arvada West (5-4, 2-2) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, at the North Area Athletic Complex.

“I’m defintely excited about the playoffs,” Madden said. “We are going to make a run.”