5A: VALOR CHRISTIAN 30, POMONA 14
Valor Christian wins seventh state title in eight years
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.”
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