Cherry Creek quickly took any drama out of the Nov. 14 Centennial League showdown against Eaglecrest.
The Bruins, the defending Class 5A state champions and top-ranked team in the CHSAANow.com poll, scored early and often to overpower No. 5 Eaglecreast, 50-0, to win the league championship on a cold, windy afternoon at Legacy Stadium in Aurora.
Running back James Walker II, a 5-10, 180 pound senior, led the Bruins’ offensive attack that raced to a 29-0 lead after the first quarter, led 36-0 at halftime and got the mercy-rule running clock going in the fourth quarter of a game that was the regular season finale for both teams.
Defensively, the Bruins shutout an Eaglecrest team that came into the title contest averaging 45.6 points per game during an abbreviated season that has been characterized by COVID-19 concerns.
Cherry Creek improved its record to 6-0 while Eaglecrest lost its first game in five outings.
“The conditions were brutal for both teams,” said Cherry Creek coach Dave Logan. “I think both teams had to throw out about 75% of their offensive game plan. I was proud of the effort our kids gave, the execution was something. Under these conditions, I would guess these kids have never played a game in similar conditions.
“These kids on our team, on the Eaglecrest team, on every team have been through a lot this year. I’m just happy that we’ve been sort of able to naviagate though it all and the high school seniors were able to have a high school football season in the fall.”
Eaglecrest had its Week 5 game againhst Prairie View canceled because of two positive COVID tests at the school. After a clarification of the quaratine proceedures, the Raptors were able to play against Cherry Creek.
Both teams will now play in the opening round of the Class 5A state playoffs, which will be held Nov. 19-21. Cherry Creek will open the first round as the top-seeded team and will go against No. 8 Regis Jesuit (5-1). Eaglecrest drew a fifth seed and will play fourth-seeded Pomona (6-0) in the opening round.
Walker helped get the Bruins off to a fast start against Eaglecrest with two touchdown sprints as Creek took a 14-0 lead with 3:02 remaining in the first quarter. With a two-point conversion run, Walker scored 14 of the first 22 points for the Bruins.
“The start was a key because we had to go into the wind,” said Logan.
Walker finished the game with four touchdowns.
Sophmore running back Carlson Tann scored the final TD for Creek with an 89-yard run with 65 seconds left in the game.
Cherry Creek’s defense intercepted two passes and recovered three fumbles. Linebacker Henry Lamar returned an interception for a touchdown just before halftime and Sam Pezdirtz recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown when the Raptors were attempting to punt with 1:22 still left to be played in the opening quarter.
Eaglecrest had a fourth and two situation at the Creek 11-yard line in the third quarterback but Raptors running back Aiden Medina was thrown for a two-yard loss to thwart a scoring opportunity.
“Eaglecrest is really explosive offensively,” said Logan. “ We did a good job of putting pressure on them, just trying keep them from doing what they do on offense.”
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