NO. 3 CHEROKEE TRAIL (10-1) vs. NO. 22 EAGLECREST (7-4)
Nov. 17, 1 p.m., Legacy Stadium
BREAKDOWN: The two Centennial League teams meet for the second time this season, with the Cougars prevailing 34-18 over the Raptors in league play on Oct. 18 at Legacy Stadium. Cherokee Trail has won all five meetings with Eaglecrest since moving up to Class 5A in the 2008-09 season, winning 18-14 in ’08-’09, 41-19 in ’09-’10, 13-10 in ’10-’11 and 14-13 last season. The teams have never met in the playoffs previously. …CHEROKEE TRAIL: Coach Monte Thelen’s team, which has an Aurora-best 10 victories already, can reach the 5A semifinals for the second time in three seasons with a victory. Cherokee Trail has posted victories over Mountain Range (42-6) and Mullen (24-21) on its way to the quarterfinals, with the win over the Mustangs the first in the program’s history. Junior quarterback Aric Johnson rushed for a 1-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to provide the winning points against Mullen, which rallied with three straight touchdowns off consecutive Cougars’ turnovers. Sophomore Cameron Smith rushed for 141 yards and Brandon Barry caught six passes for 86 yards for Cherokee Trail, while a Cameron Currington run, a TD catch by Sherman Thomas and a Ryan Winke field goal rounded out the scoring. …The Cougars trailed Eaglecrest 10-0 in the first meeting, but scored 34 unanswered points — including 28 in the second quarter — to take control of the ballgame. Currington was a thorn in the Raptors’ side, as he scored three touchdowns, one by interception return, one by rumble return and one by rush. Johnson threw a pair of touchdown passes in the game and the Cherokee Trail defense thwarted any Eaglecrest comeback thoughts with three interceptions of quarterback Adan Soto. … EAGLECREST: Coach Mike Schmitt has posted his first two playoff victories at Eaglecrest in impressive fashion, as the Raptors have knocked off No. 11 Chatfield and No. 6 Chaparral in successive weeks. Since trailing Cherry Creek 28-7 midway through the third quarter of its regular season finale, Eaglecrest has outscored the Bruins, Chargers and Wolverines by a 65-20 count. …Senior running back Greyson Hoffman rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown and lineman Mike Howshar also got into the end zone in the win over Chaparral, whilel Jacobi Hicks’ block of the extra point on the Wolverines’ second touchdown proved to be the deciding point. Hoffman has now rushed for 176 yards in two playoffs games, while backfield mate Ryan Willey has 133 of his town. Eaglecrest has favored a jumbo package in goal line situations in the playoffs, as lineman Howshar and Josh Johnson have both gotten into the end zone — Johnson on a 2-point conversion and Howshar for a touchdown. …Soto had back-to-back big passing games against Cherry Creek (190 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Chatfield (232 yards, 2 touchdowns), but completed just 2 of his 14 pass attempts against Chaparral for 17 yards. …Other than a shutout of Doherty in the second game of the season, the Eaglecrest defense has posted its two best games in terms of limiting opposing offenses in the postseason, giving up just 20 points. The Raptors have generated four turnovers, all interceptions. …WINNER: The winner advances to the semifinals against No. 2 Ralston Valley, which defeated No. 7 Pomona 22-20 in overtime on Nov. 16. The Cherokee Trail-Eaglecrest winner is assured of playing host to the Mustangs in the semifinal contest based on CHSAA coin-flips.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555