Cherry Creek dominates Legend, faces Valor Christian in 5A title game

GREENWOOD VILLAGE — Ky Thomas Oday dazzled and Cherry Creek’s dam of a defense held firm.

And even senior offensive left tackle George Fitzpatrick scored a quirky touchdown.

All in all, it was quite an impressive performance by the Bruins, who thoroughly dominated Legend, 48-14, in the Class 5A state semifinals Saturday afternoon at Stutler Bowl.

“This was pretty special for me, my last senior game at Stutler,” said Oday, the senior wide receiver who caught four passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns, and also had a 99-yard kickoff return. “I’m so proud of our guys. We played so well today. But the one we really want is next week.”

Oday was talking about another dream 5A championship bout between No. 2 Cherry Creek (11-2) and No. 1 Valor Christian. Valor (13-0) hammered No. 4 Grandview, 37-6, on Saturday.

The Bruins, who advanced to the state title game for the fourth consecutive season, will seek a rare 5A three-peat next Saturday at Empower Field at Mile High. Creek, which extended its postseason winning streak to 10 games, beat Valor 21-0 in last year’s title game.

“I thought our plan was good on both sides today and the kids did a great, great job of executing,” said head coach Dave Logan, who’s chasing his 10th big-school state title in Colorado. “I’m really proud of this group. We have battled through a lot of stuff, a lot of injuries. They have just hung in there and we’ve played our best football at the end of the season. That’s important.”

With multiple players getting into the act, Creek scored touchdowns on each of its first four possessions to take a 28-0 halftime lead.

Fitzpatrick was paving the way for Arion Boyd near the goal line when the ball was dislodged from Boyd’s arms — and went directly into Fitzpatrick’s hands and he scored a 2-yard TD to make it 21-0.

“That was really our only miscue of the day, but George was there,” Logan said. “I had talked about giving him the ball before so that he could score before his career was over. But I didn’t really plan it that way. He was Johnny on the spot.”

Junior quarterback Christian Hammond and Oday hooked up for two big plays that put the Titans in a deep hole.

On the Bruins’ first drive of the game, Hammond threw a simple sideline pass to Oday, who turned it into something special. He slipped three tackles, managed to stay in bounds and scored a 40-yard TD.

Just before halftime, on a second-and-8 play from the 25, Hammond threw a perfect pass to Oday for a 75-yard TD and a 28-0 lead.

“He’s super explosive and super fast,” Hammond said of Oday. “I just know that if I get the ball into his hands he’ll make a play. On that play before halftime, I gave him a look, and he looked at me. He knew the ball was coming. I think that was our best hookup of the season, especially considering it was (the semifinals).”

Any inkling of a comeback by Legend was quickly quashed early in the third quarter. Boden Page’s 44-yard field goal made it 31-0 and a tackle-busting 80-yard run by junior running back Carlson Tann made it 38-0. Early in the game, Tann, who finished with 133 yards on 10 carries, had a 5-yard TD run inside the hashes.

Oday’s 99-yard kickoff return made it 45-7 early in the fourth quarter. He appeared to have one foot in the end zone, which should have made it a touchback — but he’ll take the TD.

“I might have gotten away with one,” Oday said with a smile.

Logan said the Bruins were concerned about Legend’s creative and versatile offense, especially senior wide receiver Jackson Brush. The Bruins did an excellent job shutting him down.

They were also wary of senior running back Bryce Vaz. As well they should have been. Vaz rushed for 98 yards and caught five passes for 84 yards (including a perfectly executed 27-yard shovel pass from senior Colton Warner). Vaz also threw a 7-yard halfback pass for a touchdown to Brecken Reiser to get the Titans on the board with 11:07 left in the game.

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