5A: VALOR CHRIS­TIAN 30, POMONA 14

Valor Chris­tian wins sev­enth state ti­tle in eight years

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Kyle New­man

Valor Chris­tian re­mains un­stop­pable. The Ea­gles de­feated pow­er­house Pomona 30-14 in a Class 5A cham­pi­onship re­match Satur­day af­ter­noon at Sports Au­thor­ity Field at Mile High, giv­ing Valor Chris­tian its sev­enth state ti­tle in its eighth con­sec­u­tive ti­tle game ap­pear­ance.

Se­nior quar­ter­back Dy­lan McCaf­frey, a Univer­sity of Michi­gan re­cruit, led the way for Valor Chris­tian with 245 to­tal yards and three touch­downs, while the stout Ea­gles de­fense lim­ited a Pomona of­fense that had av­er­aged 35.7 points per game.

“I thought our guys were tough to­day,” Valor Chris­tian coach Rod Sher­man said. “That’s not al­ways the ad­jec­tive and de­scrip­tive phrase you use for a Valor foot­ball team. Even though we’ve had a lot of suc­cess, peo­ple think we’re go­ing to be raz­zle-daz­zle, good quar­ter­backs, things like that. But we take a lot of pride in our tough­ness, and I think we showed that on the field to­day.”

Pomona jumped out to a 7-0 lead early in the first quar­ter on Kenny Maes’ 2-yard touch­down run, cul­mi­nat­ing a nine-play, 59-yard drive. But the Ea­gles con­trolled the tempo, and the scor­ing, from that point on, thanks in part to a se­ries of mo­men­tum­chang­ing big plays.

First, a Jack Wal­ley in­ter­cep­tion of a pass by Pan­thers quar­ter­back Ryan Mar­quez led to McCaf­frey con­nect­ing with se­nior Chris­tian El­liss for a 61yard touch­down to cut Pomona’s lead to 7-6.

On Pomona’s en­su­ing pos­ses­sion, El­liss in­ter­cepted a Mar­quez pass to set up McCaf­frey’s 5-yard touch­down strike to his younger brother, Luke, for a 13-7 ad­van­tage.

The Ea­gles added a Brian Bro­gan field goal at the 7:45 mark of the sec­ond quar­ter. And af­ter sopho­more run­ning back Joshia Davis’ 5-yard scor­ing

scam­per put an ex­cla­ma­tion mark on a 10-play, 85-yard drive late in the first half, Valor Chris­tian had a com­mand­ing 23-7 lead.

“I don’t think their quar­ter­back had much time to throw it, and we had a few in­ter­cep­tions, which re­ally helped,” Sher­man said. “And even though we gave up a few scores, all in all we felt like we con­trolled the game on both sides af­ter that slow start.”

In the sec­ond half, Valor Chris­tian’s of­fense slowed its pace and milked the clock while its de­fense stymied Pomona. The Ea­gles (11-3) stretched their lead to 30-7 with Dy­lan McCaf­frey’s 9-yard touch­down run late in the third quar­ter to all but seal yet another cham­pi­onship — and one that seemed im­prob­a­ble to many ear­lier in the sea­son, when the Ea­gles started 1-3.

“We played with a chip on our shoul­der,” Sher­man said. “There wasn’t a lot of me­dia out­lets, frankly, that gave us a lot of cred­i­bil­ity this year. We lost a few early, and ended up sev­enth in the CHSAANow poll and The Den­ver Post never had us ranked in the top five. That re­ally spurred our guys on to the great­ness we saw at the end of the year.”

Pomona tacked on a fourthquar­ter touch­down on Mar­quez’s 3-yard quar­ter­back keeper, but it was far too lit­tle too late for the Pan­thers (12-2). Pomona was play­ing with­out star run­ning backs Cam Gon­za­les and Max Borghi, both out with in­juries.

“They’ve got the heart of cham­pi­ons, with­out a doubt,” Pomona coach Jay Mad­den said of his play­ers. “They fought and fought and fought no mat­ter who went down, and we just kept find­ing ways to win. We just ran out of magic tonight.”

Joe Amon, The Den­ver Post

Valor Chris­tian QB Dy­lan McCaf­frey (12) gets some­thing ex­tra as his team cel­e­brates its Class 5A state cham­pi­onship win over Pomona on Satur­day.

Valor Chris­tian’s Joshia Davis scores with 10 sec­onds left in the first half Satur­day to give the Ea­gles a 23-7 lead over the Pomona Pan­thers in the Class 5A cham­pi­onship game at Sports Au­thor­ity Field at Mile High. The Ea­gles went on to win 30-14. Joe Amon, The Den­ver Post

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