On a warm fall night in Arvada, the Valor Christian Eagles took the field against the Ralston Valley Mustangs, who were celebrating their homecoming week on their home field at the North Area Athletic Complex. The Mustangs would make history Sept. 21.
For the first time ever against the Eagles, Ralston Valley galloped away victorious with a score of 22-21.
The intensity rose gradually throughout, starting off slow and deliberate but finishing with strong, fast-paced action only seen in high school football.
The first quarter was played mostly near the middle of the field, utilizing the run but not really making headway into either team’s red zone. It wasn’t until the end of the second quarter, when Valor’s running back Gabe Sawchuk made a 40-yard dash to the end zone, that the game saw points added to the board.
“I dipped inside a little bit,” Sawchuk said after the game. “Then my teammate made a great block. I got around that edge and was able to turn it on.”
To close out the first half, Ralston Valley quarterback Logan Madden found an opening in the defense for a 20-yard run to the outside corner of the end zone, celebrating with an earned roar to his teammates.
“We’ve wanted these guys since last season,” Madden said after the game. “All the momentum coming into the game, plus homecoming, it was just awesome to get in.”
The Mustangs lost twice to the Eagles last season in close contests; once during the regular season, then again in the playoffs.
“We knew it was going to be a close game and a battle with [the Eagles],” Mustangs coach Jared Yannacito said, beaming after a career-defining win. “I was so proud of how they played. This is the first time Ralston Valley has ever beat Valor, so that’s a big monkey off of our back.”
As for the rest of the match, the scoring drives occurred in this order:
- A touchdown for the Mustangs from Madden with about three minutes left in the third quarter
- A touchdown from Valor’s Chase Hanosh, and another by Asher Weiner
- The game-tying touchdown took place with only 16.7 seconds left on the clock after a five-play, 80-yard drive down the field by Ralston Valley’s Jackson Hansen, setting the score at 20-21
- Going for the 2-point conversion, Hansen completed the conversion with a leaping catch deep in the end zone from a pass from Madden, for a final score of 22-21
Homecoming fans reverberated cheers with stampeding force. The Mustangs increased their record to 4-1.
After a last-season record of 11-3, the Eagles are now 1-4 overall.
“We know we have a young group,” Valor Coach Bret McGatlin said. “We have the toughest schedule in the state. We’ll find a way to win one game at a time. We’re going to be all right.”
Visit CHSAANow.com for your team’s remaining schedule this season.