Creek too much for Warriors

Posted 9/29/08

Mike Oakley The players on the field weren’t alive the last time it happened, but judging by the capacity crowd who jammed into Littleton Public …

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Creek too much for Warriors


Mike Oakley

The players on the field weren’t alive the last time it happened, but judging by the capacity crowd who jammed into Littleton Public Schools Stadium Friday night, many from the communities supporting Arapahoe and Cherry Creek high schools remember when these two South Metro area powers tussled regularly on the football field in league competition.

The Warriors, who rejoined the Centennial League this year after a long stint in the Continental League, renewed its rivalry with the visiting Bruins. Cherry Creek, hoping to establish some position in the league before upcoming showdowns with Mullen and top-ranked Grandview, rallied from a 3-0 deficit to score 27 straight points and eventually take care of Arapahoe, 27-9.

The two teams played the type of back-and-forth defensive struggle in the first half that emphasizes field position and clock control. But two big plays by the Bruins (5-0, 4-0) turned this one in favor of the visitors.

Arapahoe (1-4, 1-2), down 10-3 at halftime of this homecoming contest and buoyed by a fourth-and-1 stop of Creek at the Warrior 16 just before the horn, opened the third quarter with a lengthy and impressive drive, which eventually stalled at the Creek 35. Fairly confident that they had pinned the Bruins deep in their own territory at the 9, the Warriors had to feel more than a little shell-shocked when Creek quarterback Kain Colter hit Terrance Walker on a 77-yard pass play to open a 17-3 lead.

That may have explained the erratic possession by Arapahoe following the TD. Beset by penalties, a bad snap and an increasingly aggressive defensive front by Creek, the Warriors went from a first-and-10 to an eventual fourth-and-47 before punting. Two plays after receiving the ball, the Colter-Walker connection again found the end zone on a 28-yard play for a 24-3 lead.

“The defense was just trying to play man. He’s a great receiver, and he just made his move and took the ball in,” said Colter, who passed for 182 yards and rushed for 47.

Arapahoe didn’t regain its offensive rhythm until its final drive of the night, capping an 80-yard march with a 15-yard scoring pass from senior Eric Dikeman to sophomore Will Ratterman. The Warriors converted on two fourth-down attempts along the way, as well as a third-and-11, before the final third-and-12 pass from Dikeman.

Both teams had to endure a string of penalties throughout the game (22 in all, four of which were declined). The game looked like it could take a nasty tone early, with the opening drive featuring unsportsmanlike calls on both squads. But the action settled down, and Arapahoe had the game’s first big play when Dikeman took a flea flicker toss from junior Davis Gunter and hit senior Mike Griffin for a 34-yard gain. The drive eventually produced a 33-yard field goal by junior Cameron Durkin for a quick 3-0 lead.

Creek tied it in the second quarter with a 50-yard field goal by RC Willenbrock, who later in the game added a 35-yarder. But his primary contribution was six touchbacks on six kickoffs, leaving Arapahoe to start from its 20 too often. The Warriors had modest success in the passing game (19 of 34 for 175 yards and one touchdown by Dikeman) but could never rev up its ground attack to ding the Bruin defense.

The road through the Centennial won’t get any easier in the next two weeks, as Arapahoe takes on Mullen and Grandview in succession.


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