GREENWOOD VILLAGE – Ky Thomas Oday dazzled and Cherry Creek’s defensive dam held firmly.
And even senior offensive left Takla George Fitzpatrick made a strange touchdown.
Overall, it was a pretty impressive performance from the Bruins, who thoroughly dominated Legend, 48-14, in the Class 5A state semifinals on Saturday afternoon at the Stutler Bowl.
“This was pretty special to me, my last senior game at Stutler,” said Oday, a senior with a wide receiver who grabbed four passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns, and also had a 99-yard kickback return. “I’m so proud of our men. We played so well today. But what we really want is next week.”
Oday talked about another dream 5A championship match No. 2 between Cherry Creek (11-2) and No. 1 Valor Christian. Valor (13-0) hit number 4 Grandview, 37-6 on Saturday.
For the fourth consecutive season, the Bruins, who advanced to the state championship, will pick up a rare 5A of three peat next Saturday at Empower Field in Mile High. Creek, which extended its post-season winning streak to 10 games, defeated Valor in last year’s championship 21-0.
“I thought our plan was good on both sides today and the kids did a great, great job doing it,” said head coach Dave Logan, who is chasing his 10th high school championship in Colorado. “I’m really proud of this group. We’ve fought through a lot of things, a lot of injuries. They’ve just been hanging in there, and we’ve played our best football at the end of the season. It’s important.”
As several players entered the game, Creek made touchdowns out of every four of his first balls to reach the halftime lead 28-0.
Fitzpatrick leveled the way for Arion Boyd near the finish line when the ball came out of Boyd’s hands – and went straight into Fitzpatrick’s hands and made a 2-yard TD, making the situation 21-0.
“It was indeed our only mistake of the day, but George was there,” Logan said. “I had talked about giving him the ball before he could score a goal before the end of his career. But I really didn’t plan it that way. He was Johnny on the spot.”
Junior quarterback Christian Hammond and Oday joined in two big games that put the Titans in a deep pit.
In the first run of the Bruins game, Hammond threw a simple side pass to Oday that made it something special. He slipped three tackles, managed to stay within limits and made a 40-yard TD.
Just before Halftime, second and 8 out of 25, Hammond threw a complete pass to Oday for a 75-yard TD and a 28-0 lead.
“He’s very explosive and very fast,” Hammond said of Oday. – All I know is that if I get the ball in his hands, he’ll play. In that game before Half Time, I looked at him, and he looked at me. He knew the ball was coming. I think it was our best connection of the season, especially considering it (semi-final).
Any hint of the Legend’s return was quickly dispelled at the beginning of the third quarter. Boden Pagen’s 44-yard field goal made it 31-0 and junior runner Carlson Tann’s 80-yard run 38-0. At the start of the game, Tann, who finished 133 yards on 10 moves, ran within 5 yards of the TD seals.
Oday’s 99-yard start-up rebounded 45-7 at the start of the fourth quarter. He seemed to have another foot in the finish line, which should have made it a touchback – but he’s taking a TD.
“I might have survived one,” Oday said with a smile.
Logan said the Bruins were concerned about Legend’s creative and versatile attack, particularly the senior broadband receiver Jackson Brush. The Bruins did an excellent job of stopping him.
They were also wary of senior runner Bryce Vaz. They should have been the same. Vaz rushed for 98 yards and received five passes for 84 yards (including a fully executed 27-yard shovel pass from senior Colton Warner). Vaz also threw a 7-yard half-feed to Brecken Reiser and got the Titans on the board with 11:07 left in the game.