Rose sometimes forgotten among GJ’s offensive threats

Grand Junction’s Chandon Rose is an integral part of the Tigers’ offense, catching 40 passes for 853 yards and 10 TDs. Defenses focus on Sean Rubalcaba and Jerreon Dennis and often forget about Rose.



Class 5A State Playoffs

Friday, 7 p.m., Stocker Stadium

Notes: Grand Junction running back Jerreon Dennis eclipsed the 2,000-yard rushing mark with 2,091.

The Tigers, coming off a 35-21 win over Chaparral, also are led by quarterback Sean Rubalcaba (1,187 yards rushing; 1,207 passing) and wide receiver Chandon Rose (857 receiving and 10 touchdowns) on offense.

The Tigers’ closest game this season was a 28-14 win over Fountain-Fort Carson.

But coach Robbie Owens thinks Lakewood, which defeated Horizon 10-0 last week, could be the best-coached team the Tigers have faced.

Head coach Mark Robinson is a Lakewood graduate.

“I think he’s brought back the swagger, confidence and tradition to Lakewood,” Owens said.

Some say good things come in threes.

There has been, for starters: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; former Broncos “Three Amigos” receivers Vance Johnson, Mark Jackson and Ricky Nattiel; et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

If that’s true, then maybe Grand Junction’s touted 1-2 punch of quarterback Sean Rubalcaba and running back Jerreon Dennis is missing someone.

Sometimes, three is the loneliest number.

Consider the words of Chaparral coach John Vogt about Rubalcaba and Dennis after his team’s 35-21 loss to the Tigers in last Friday’s Class 5A second-rounder: ” ... they’re not going to be able to win state with just those two guys.”

Look up. Was that Junction receiver Chandon Rose who just split the secondary like a banana on ice cream?

Tic and tac always has toe, so why can’t Rose complete a trio?

Heading into No. 2 Grand Junction’s Class 5A state quarterfinal at 7 p.m. Friday against No. 10 Lakewood (10-1) at Stocker Stadium, Rose has caught 40 passes for 853 yards — a 21.3-yards per catch average.

He also has a 25.6-yard kickoff return average and has taken each punt an average of 14.4 yards.

Tigers coach Robbie Owens said Rose leads the state in total return yardage.

Setting aside, for now, the immeasurable contributions of the undefeated Tigers’ defense, offensive linemen and other skill positions, Rose has given the Tigers a deep threat that’s allowed its running game to thrive.

So Coach, how about those who say the Tigers are a two-man team?

“That’s amusing to me,” Owens said.

Regarding Vogt’s comment, Owens referred back to this summer’s 7-on-7 Red Bull Tournament hosted by Chaparral.

In the championship — which Grand Junction won — Owens said Rose caught the game-winning touchdown and had an interception in sudden death. He was chosen the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Three. It’s the magic number.

Simply put, Rose is tough. He says that comes from his dad.

“A tough gene, I guess,” Rose said.

And he’s confident. In fact, Owens remembers Rose as a cocky freshman.

“But as a coach, you like that because you know he won’t be afraid to go in (the game),” Owens said.

Fast forward to last Friday. Rose ran a post route right past Chaparral’s secondary for a 35-yard touchdown reception that tied the game at 7-7.

That time, he didn’t slip a hand signal or head nod or other cryptic signs Rose and Rubalcaba have developed since seventh grade. Baseball, basketball, football — they’ve played them all together.

“And we’re definitely friends outside football,” said Rose in his matter-of-fact demeanor, his shaved head and earrings flashing that swagger.

With speed and strength and precision route-running, Rose, the Tigers’ pitching ace in baseball, has fit nicely into Grand Junction’s offense.

One-two punch?

Or a Sugar Ray Leonard combo?

There’s Brett Labonte, pick master with three interceptions.

James Diamanti, Austin Berk, and C.J. Deters, line openers and closers.

Zach Lebsock, tackles leader as a defensive back with 57.

Dennis. Rubalcaba. Rose.

“I know how (Rose) is going to react off players,” Rubalcaba said. “He runs great routes, and I know when I put the ball up he’s going to be in the right spot.”

Three is, after all, quite the company.


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