MONUMENT - It's not obvious by their one-loss record, but Lewis-Palmer's boys' lacrosse team can come out flat to start games.
It also wasn't obvious Monday night in the Rangers' biggest game of the season.
Pikes Peak region No. 1 Lewis-Palmer hounded Columbine from the get-go, jumping to a six-goal lead and holding the Rebels without a shot for the first period as the Rangers defeated Columbine 12-6 at Don Breese Stadium and locked up the 5A Jeffco League crown.
"This is enormous for this program," L-P coach Dan Mullins said.
L-P entered the game No. 9 in the RPI rankings, while Columbine was No. 7. The rankings will help determine playoff seeds and qualifiers.
The Rangers (12-1, 6-0 5A Jeffco League) made sure the Rebels (11-3, 6-1) learned quickly how badly they wanted the league title, as Dalton Ziegler scored twice in the first 4:28. The Rangers also tacked on two last-minute goals in the first quarter.
"We knew we had to come out here firing tonight and couldn't come out here flat if we wanted to win this game," said Ziegler, who finished with a team-high three goals. "We knew we had to get a couple quick goals to get some momentum."
Columbine turned the ball over seven times in the first period and didn't register its first shot until 2:07 had elapsed in the second.
By then, the Rangers were up 4-0. They didn't give up a goal until 1:17 remained in the half, as the Rebels cut the gap to 6-1.
Columbine's second-half attack was much more effective. The Rebels scored the first two goals of the half to cut the lead to 6-3.
Cade Ziegler ended the Rebels' rally with a quick move to shake his defender and fire home a goal. The Rebels never got closer than three goals again.
The defense and goalie Ian Mullins did enough to keep the Rebels at bay.
"We didn't do much different," defender Hunter Goodale said. "We just kept our heads up, watched the cutters, played the ball really hard; didn't give them an opportunity to get a clean shot off or a good look."
The Rangers finish the regular season with a nonconference game at Cherokee Trail on Wednesday, followed by a league game at Lakewood on Friday.
In Dan Mullins' four years at the helm, this is the program's first league title. The dominant performance couldn't have come at a better time.
"It's probably the best game we've played this year," he said. "We've still got a long way to go. ... If we can build on this, we can maybe do some damage in the playoffs."