Long­time pow­ers Valor Chris­tian, Pomona meet again for Class 5A cham­pi­onship.

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Kyle New­man

Wel­come to the ti­tle fight in Class 5A foot­ball: No. 1 Pomona (12-1) against No. 3 Valor Chris­tian (10-3) at 2:30 p.m. Satur­day at Sports Author­ity Field at Mile High.

It’s the sixth show­down in three years be­tween the two elite pro­grams — Valor Chris­tian holds a 3-2 ad­van­tage in that time frame, in­clud­ing a 2-0 record in the play­offs — and if the last cou­ple of meet­ings are any in­di­ca­tion, fans are in for some fire­works Satur­day.

Pomona, still seething from last year’s nail-bit­ing, 29-26 loss in the state cham­pi­onship game, played with a chip on its shoul­der all sea­son and owns a 23-16 vic­tory over Valor Chris­tian in Week 4.

But the Ea­gles are the de­fend­ing 5A cham­pi­ons and fea­ture a pro­lific quar­ter­back, se­nior Dy­lan McCaf­frey. Also, the heavy weight of his­tory is on their side. This is Valor Chris­tian’s eighth con­sec­u­tive ti­tle game. The Ea­gles are 34-1 in all-time play­off games.

Both teams over­came ad­ver­sity through­out their march to Mile High — and will have to do so again Satur­day to win.

Pomona lost its star line­man, Coloradobound Jake Moretti, to a pre­sea­son knee in­jury and didn’t flinch. The Pan­thers lost an out-of-state game to Glynn Academy (Brunswick, Ga.) be­fore reel­ing off 11 con­sec­u­tive vic­to­ries. And most re­cently, star run­ning backs Max Borghi and Cam Gon­za­les went down with sea­son-end­ing in­juries in con­sec­u­tive play­off games, leaving quar­ter­back Ryan Mar­quez and Pomona hav­ing to im­pro­vise on of­fense.

Valor Chris­tian, mean­while, started its sea­son 1-3 — a stretch that in­cluded de­ci­sive losses to Saguaro (Scotts­dale, Ariz.) on na­tional tele­vi­sion and to Mullen. Those who wrote off the Ea­gles and said they lost too much tal­ent to grad­u­a­tion were proved wrong, as coach Rod Sher­man’s squad knocked off other ti­tle-wor­thy pro­grams — Grand­view and Cherry Creek — in back-to­back weeks to ad­vance to the cham­pi­onship game.

But Valor Chris­tian will need to get its high-pow­ered of­fense click­ing again af­ter ty­ing a sea­son low with 10 points in its last­sec­ond semi­fi­nal vic­tory over Cherry Creek. The Bru­ins lim­ited McCaf­frey and his arse­nal of sopho­more run­ning back Joshia Davis, sopho­more wide­out Luke McCaf­frey and se­nior wide­out Jack Wal­ley.

Valor Chris­tian’s ’s de­fense has been out­stand­ing, led by se­nior de­fen­sive tackle Noah El­liss, se­nior de­fen­sive end Will Rodgers and se­nior linebacker Chris­tian El­liss.

Se­nior safety Uriah Vigil and se­nior linebacker Gar­rett Zanon lead a for­mi­da­ble Pomona de­fense.

Cham­pi­onship sched­ule

5A: No. 1 Pomona (12-1) vs. No. 3 Valor Chris­tian (10-3), 2:30 p.m., Sports Author­ity Field 4A: No. 5 Broom­field (11-2) vs. No. 3 Pine Creek (11-2), 11 a.m., Sports Author­ity Field 3A: No. 2 Pue­blo East (12-1) vs. No. 1 Dis­cov­ery Canyon (13-0), 1 p.m., Dis­trict 20 Sta­dium

Where to watch

Un­like in years past, the 4A and 5A cham­pi­onship games will not be tele­vised. In­stead, the 3A, 4A and 5A ti­tle games will be streamed live by the NFHS Net­work, which pur­chased the rights to all CHSAA post­sea­son games in ev­ery sport. Ac­cess to the NFHS Net­work games is sub­scrip­tion-based at $10 per month. The rea­son for no TV cov­er­age? Money, said CHSAA com­mis­sioner Paul An­gelico. He said the CHSAA made a good-faith ef­fort to get a TV sta­tion to do the tele­casts, but that it sim­ply couldn’t af­ford the price tag lo­cal sta­tions were ask­ing to tele­vise the games. “The re­al­ity is, we can’t gen­er­ate enough view­er­ship to make it worth­while for a tele­vi­sion net­work to broad­cast it,” An­gelico said. “In pre­vi­ous sea­sons, our third-party in­ter­me­di­ary, the NFHS net­work, worked out that deal with the net­work for us. “The bot­tom line is, it comes down to hav­ing a net­work want­ing to, and be will­ing to, take a risk on what it costs to broad­cast the games.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.