AURORA - Eaglecrest is one step closer to a perfect ending to its perfect season. On Saturday, the Raptors defeated Cherry Creek 26-7 to advance to the semifinal round of the 5A football playoffs.
Despite the offensive weapons on both of these teams, this game was very much a defensive battle through the first half. The first possession for each team ended on a turnover on downs. It wasn't until the end of the first quarter that the Raptors converted in the red zone with a field goal from Theryne Sandoval-Jimenez to take a 3-0 lead. They would add one more field goal in the first half.
Cherry Creek tried to get on the board as time was expiring in the second quarter with a field goal effort of their own, but Victor Garnes got the block to keep the Bruins scoreless. And remember Garnes -- because his game was far from over.
In the second half, Garnes would be the first player from either team to find the end zone. Jalen Mergerson found his favorite target who would split the defense before rushing it in for a 20-yard score. Eaglecrest led 13-0 at the end of the third quarter.
Before time expired, however, the Raptors' defense came up big. Jon Heupel intercepted a pass from Creek quarterback Alex Padilla, and Eaglecrest would capitalize with a touchdown from Kenny Wanting a few plays later.
On the ensuing Creek drive, Padilla would be picked off once again, this time a diving effort from Mikele Nash of Eaglecrest, and that would set up the Raptors for their third and final touchdown of the day. Victor Garnes made the acrobatic catch to all but put this game away.
Cherry Creek scored in the final minutes of the game, but it was not enough to overcome Eaglecrest. The Raptors improve to 12-0 on the season, and will play 3-seed Columbine in next week's semifinals.
Watch the video for extended highlights from the Eaglecrest vs. Cherry Creek quarterfinal football playoff game, and tune in to the Sunday morning Prep Rally for more action.
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