Cherry Creek shuts out Valor Christian for third consecutive 5A state football title – The Denver Post

Blake Purchase tossed the opposing quarterback like a rag doll on the final play.

His tackle put a punctuation mark on a dominant Cherry Creek performance against Valor Christian for the Class 5A state championship victory Saturday at Empower Field at Mile High. The No. 2 Bruins rolled, 21-0, against the top-seeded Eagles.

Purchase, a blue-chip junior outside linebacker prospect, celebrated by leaping into the Cherry Creek student section with his teammates.

“It felt amazing,” Purchase said. “No better feeling.”

Defense paved the way to Cherry Creek’s third consecutive state title and its 12th overall. The Bruins forced four turnovers — one fumble and three interceptions — including a pick-six from senior linebacker Henry Lamar. Valor star running back Gavin Sawchuk, the school’s all-time leading rusher, lost a fumble and was held to 77 yards on 29 carries.

“I was so motivated,” Lamar said. “(The Eagles) were hyping themselves up a lot. All the talking on social media. We blacked that out and did what we did.”

Cherry Creek (12-2) scored all of its points in the first half. The Bruins’ second series finished with quarterback Christian Hammond hitting tight end Max Rodriguez on a 21-yard touchdown completion. Lamar’s pick-six gave Cherry Creek a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. The Bruins kept rolling before halftime when Hammond escaped a broken pocket and found wide receiver Ismael Cisse on a 39-yard deep shot to the end zone.

Neither team scored in the second half.

“This was two great defensive teams,” Cherry Creek head coach Dave Logan said. “This was not going to be a track meet. It was hard sledding on offense. But we put together a couple of drives and big plays.”

Valor (13-1) proved unable to build momentum in the second half. Eagles quarterback Colton Allen threw his third interception of the game when Purchase jumped a route in the third quarter and ran 63 yards before finally getting tackled.

“I started to notice that when they saw me on the line, they were audibling to throw it right to where I’m leaving from,” Purchase said. “I recognized that early in the game, and on that play, I should have been blitzing. … But I knew the ball was coming. I stepped back and made a big play.”

Sawchuk, a four-star running back committed to Oklahoma, gave credit to Cherry Creek for its victory. The Bruins defeated the Eagles in the 5A title game last season by the exact same score: 21-0.

“They’re a great team,” Sawchuk said. “They play hard and have a lot of great players. They did everything right and we made a lot of mistakes on our end, especially in that first half.”

Logan now has 10 big-school state football championships, between four programs, on his career head coaching resume — with every reason to believe Cherry Creek will be favored to win again next year. The Bruins return a significant number of starters on both sides of the ball.

“I promise you we can do it again,” Purchase said. “We’re going for a four-peat.”

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