El­liss broth­ers revel in another ti­tle

Noah and Chris­tian play key roles in Valor’s 30-14 win over Pomona.

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Pa­trick Saun­ders

Noah El­liss, Valor Chris­tian’s 6foot-5, 330-pound se­nior de­fen­sive tackle, couldn’t stop the tears from flow­ing. Tears of pride, tears of joy, tears of sor­row.

“I just can’t be­lieve this is our last ride,” El­liss said af­ter the Ea­gles de­feated Pomona 30-14 Satur­day af­ter­noon to cap­ture its sec­ond con­sec­u­tive Class 5A state cham­pi­onship and its fourth ti­tle in five years.

El­liss spilled his emo­tions for all of his team­mates and coaches, but most es­pe­cially for his brother, Chris­tian El­liss, who played such a huge role in Valor’s vic­tory. The broth­ers sought each other out im­me­di­ately af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle, shar­ing a bear hug.

“I told him I loved him and I was so proud of him,” Noah said. “We have been play­ing to­gether for so long, and now it’s over. It’s pretty sad.

“But to see my brother make a key touch­down … it just re­ally made me proud to see what he’s be­come as a player and as a per­son.”

Chris­tian, a line­backer on de­fense and util­ity man on of­fense, turned the game in Valor’s direc­tion late in the first quar­ter. He hauled in a 61-yard touch­down pass from Dy­lan McCaf­frey to cut Pomona’s lead to 7-6. On Pomona’s next pos­ses­sion, Chris­tian stuck a big hit on quar­ter­back Ryan Mar­quez. Then, on the next play, Chris­tian picked off a Mar­quez pass, re­turn­ing it deep into Pan­thers ter­ri­tory.

That set up McCaf­frey’s per­fect 5-yard touch­down fade pass to the cor­ner of the end zone to his younger brother, Luke. As the first quar­ter ended, Valor had a 13-7 lead and a tidal wave of mo­men­tum.

“For me, it was just about go­ing all out to­day,” Chris­tian said. “It was amaz­ing. It was the best time I’ve ever had in my en­tire life. To­day was the most fun I have ever had.”

A lit­tle back­ground is in or­der here. Chris­tian is the son of Luther El­liss, the for­mer Detroit Lions and Den­ver Bron­cos de­fen­sive tackle who grew up in Man­cos. Luther El­l­lis is cur­rently the team chaplain for the Bron­cos.

Chris­tian is Luther’s nat­u­ral son, and Noah is Luther’s nephew by birth. How­ever, Noah was adopted and raised as part of the El­liss fam­ily.

“I call Noah my brother,” Chris­tian said. “He is my brother. Af­ter the game, I hugged him and told him how much I love him. I told him I knew he was go­ing to do great things in col­lege.”

Noah is the most sought-af­ter de­fen­sive tackle in the state, with col­le­giate in­ter­est from all over the coun­try. He has yet to make an of­fi­cial com­mit­ment. Chris­tian, also a se­nior, has re­ceived his share of of­fers too, in­clud­ing from North­ern Colorado, Mon­tana State, Idaho and Eastern Wash­ing­ton.

The one school that has shown in­ter­est in both of them is Mis­sis­sippi State.

“He re­ally likes that school and I do too,” Noah said. “Who knows? We might play to­gether again. That would be awe­some.”

Valor’s Chris­tian El­liss breaks to the out­side for a gain against Pomona in the sec­ond half of the ti­tle game. Joe Amon, The Den­ver Post

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