Creek wins fourth straight 5A title

Bruins beat Valor 24-17 at Empower Field

Jim Benton
jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 12/6/22

A strong second-half comeback helped Cherry Creek capture its fourth straight Class 5A state football title on Dec. 3 with a 24-17 victory over Valor Christian at Empower Field. It was the Bruins …

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Creek wins fourth straight 5A title

Bruins beat Valor 24-17 at Empower Field

Posted

A strong second-half comeback helped Cherry Creek capture its fourth straight Class 5A state football title on Dec. 3 with a 24-17 victory over Valor Christian at Empower Field.

It was the Bruins 13th state championship trophy that the team brought home to Greenwood Village and marked a Colorado-best 11th state title won by Creek head coach Dave Logan at four different schools.

Logan won a state crown at Arvada West, one at Chatfield, four at Mullen and now five at Cherry Creek.

“It means I’ve been blessed to coach 30 years, and the core group of my staff has been with me for 25 or so years, which has been a big part of my success,” said Logan. “And I’ve been blessed to have great players who buy in, worked hard and do the right things.”

Cherry Creek, which finished with a 12-2 record, at times did not look like a title team in the first half. A missed field, two interceptions and a botched fourth-down play by the Bruins helped Valor take a 7-3 halftime lead.

It was the third consecutive year that Creek and Valor have played in the 5A state championship game and this was the closest outcome after two previous 21-0 wins for the Bruins.

“We gave away a game late in the season (to Grandview) and it was an eye-opener for us,” added Logan. “We don’t give games away. We gave up things in the first half. We had self-inflicted wounds. We had two interceptions, we got stopped on a fourth and one and we missed a field goal. I was proud of the way we bounced back in the second half.”

Cherry Creek took the second-half kickoff and moved 66 yards on two plays with senior Carlson (Bubba) Tann scoring on a 16-yard run to push Creek into a 10-7 lead only 39 seconds into the second half.

Senior quarterback Brian Rudden, who replaced freshman starting quarterback Brady Vodicka, tossed a 39-yard touchdown pass to Ismael Cisse with 7:34 left in the third period to go up 17-7.

Creek was on the move on its third possession of the half but lost a fumble at Valor’s 18-yard line and the Eagles responded with a 24-yard field goal by Jeremy Claycamp with seven seconds remaining in the third period.

Bruins standout linebacker Blake Purchase scored on a 4-yard run as Creek went ahead 24-10 with 6:10 still to play in the game. Valor then got a late TD on an Asher Weiner to Cash Spence 28-yard scoring strike for the final TD of the game.

Purchase was tucked in behind the offensive line for his touchdown and looked like an extra blocker.

“I was hiding behind the line, waiting for the hole then I took off and scored,” he said of what turned out to be the game-winning TD.

Valor Christian coach Bret McGatlin said Creek made the right adjustments in the second half.

“They adjusted well,” he said. “They countered what we were trying to do and executed real well and had a couple big plays which we didn’t allow in the first half. We were lucky enough to go in with the lead after the first half. I’m proud of our guys.

“It was a heck of a season,” McGatlin said of the Eagles’ 11-3 campaign. “Losing 19 of 22 starters from last year, no one thought we would be here.We made it here with a bunch of overachievers. I wasn’t happy with today but we will be back.”

Tann finished with 164 yards rushing as the Bruins wound up with 303 yards rushing that included 183 in the second half.

He pointed out that the Bruins offensive line of Hank Zilinskas, Andre Burton, Hayden Treter, Taki Dadiotis and Max Parrott stepped up.

“The difference in the second half was probably the O (offensive) line. The O line was blocking hard in the second half. They were blocking good the first half too but the second half, they just turned it up. They just came out and got it done.

“It’s amazing to be out here with these guys and get the fourth straight (state title) win. It’s a great feeling. The defense has been great all season. It’s a great feeling for all of us. To get back and win this game, feels amazing.”

Rudden ended up completing two of the three passes he attempted for 94 yards and a TD. Chase Brackney led the Creek defense with 10 tackles and two sacks. Purchase had nine tackles and Aiden Knapke had seven total tackles.

“It was a team effort on defense,” said Logan, “with Chase (Brackney), Logan (Brantley), Ezran (Rice) and Angelo (Petrides). We played without starting inside linebacker (Petrides), who didn’t play in the second half with a shoulder injury. So we were down. Jake Howell played very, very well. We knew we had to play physical up front. I was proud of that.”

Weiner completed 10 of 21 passes for 150 yards and one Valor TD. Greg McDonald was the Eagles leading rusher with 45 yards and one TD. Gavin Bibik, Alexander Jordan and McDonald all were in on six tackles for the Eagles defense.

cherry creek football, prep football, football state championships, dave logan

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