What a difference a year can make.
Cherry Creek harped for a week prior to meeting Columbine in the Dec. 7 Class 5A state championship game at Empower Field at Mile High about how bad it felt after losing 24-14 to Valor Christian in the 2018 title game.
The Bruins took care of business this time and wrapped up a perfect 14-0 season with a 35-10 victory over Columbine in front of 12,789 fans on a Sunny afternoon.
“Last year was a tough one,” said Bruins' junior wide receiver Chase Penry, who caught five passes, one of which went for a first-half touchdown. “We talked about it all week. Last year we came here and we were happy to be here but this year we came here with a goal to win it.
“It's hard to put into words, but it's a great feeling. We worked so hard, and to come out and finished the season the way we did is amazing.”
It was Creek's 10th overall state football title and the eighth for Dave Logan, who also has coached title teams at Arvada West, Chatfield and Mullen. It was his second title at Creek.
"It never gets old to win," Logan said. "I'm real proud of our group.”
Cherry Creek's defense held the Rebels to 166 yards rushing and 199 yards of total offense.
Columbine came into the championship encounter averaging 39.5 points, 274 yards rushing and 353.2 yards of total offense a game.
"Columbine is a good football team and I thought we played excellent defense the entire day,” said Logan. “I thought our guys executed. We played with toughness, which you have to do against them, and we just made a lot of plays. Except for the one turnover, we played about as well as we could play.”
Junior defensive lineman Arden Walker, who had three tackles in the game, said the defense keyed on containing the Rebels' rushing attack.
“The first thing was to stop the run game,” he said. “They were such a powerful team and had been throughout the playoffs and the season, and we were determined."
Creek lost 36 seniors off its 2018 runner-up team but put together a championship team and another crown for Logan in his eighth season as Creek's coach.
“I love coach Logan,” said junior Myles Purchase, who scored twice for the Bruins against Columbine. “He figures out new things every day in practice and he leaves us another target, and I'm glad to get another championship for him.”
Junior quarterback Julian Hammond III, who was the junior varsity quarterback a year ago, helped get the Bruins off to a quick start as Creek grabbed a 21-0 lead early in the third quarter.
“It feels crazy that we are actually state champions,” said Hammond, who completed 10 of 18 passes for 96 yards and a TD. “We felt that early in the game they were going to try to stop our run game because lately we've been able to run on teams, so we came out ready to pass. As a team we played great. Our defense played great, they locked up on defense when we needed it and our offense played good.”
Jayle Stacks, a senior who has committed to play at the University of Colorado, rushed for 136 yards and one touchdown and James Walker II gained 66 yards and scored once.
Senior linebacker Delonte Dickey led the Bruins with 10 tackles as Creek limited the Rebels success except for an 80-yard scoring drive in the third quarter with Tanner Hollens scoring on a 7-yard run. Columbine added a 35-yard field goal by Adam Tasei to trim the defict to 21-10 with 10:05 still to play in the game.
Creek responded with a 63 yard TD drive and Purchase's interception return to wrap up the scoring.
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