AURORA | A capsule preview of the 2022 Class 5A state football quarterfinal playoff contest between Regis Jesuit and Valor Christian scheduled for Nov. 18, 2022:
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected]: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2022 CLASS 5A QUARTERFINAL STATE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF GAME
No. 7 Regis Jesuit (7-4) vs. No. 2 Valor Christian (9-2)
Nov. 18, 7 p.m. at Valor Stadium Stadium
BREAKDOWN: Regis Jesuit and Valor Christian meet in the football postseason for the third time in the past 11 seasons and the Eagles own a 2-0 advantage in the two previous meetings with a 44-3 victory in the second round of the 2012 playoffs and a 44-6 victory in the same round in 2016. The teams meet for the second time this season and Regis Jesuit came away with a 23-17 overtime victory in the season opener for both teams. …Regis Jesuit is in the 5A state quarterfinals for the fourth straight season and sixth in the last seven, but hasn’t been able to get through to the semifinals since 2016. Overall, the Raiders have made the postseason for 16 straight seasons. …Valor Christian, meanwhile, moved up to 5A 11 years ago and has made it to the state championship game in eight of the previous 10 seasons with five title victories. …In the regular season meeting between the teams, Regis Jesuit senior QB Exander Carroll’s second touchdown pass of the night went to sophomore TE Grayson McPherson in overtime for the winning score. Carroll threw for 150 yards and hit senior WR D’Andre Barnes with another TD pass, while junior RB Anthony Medina rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown. Junior PK Pierce Martin was good on a 39-yard field goal. For Valor Christian, senior RB Roman Bradley had 93 yards rushing and scored a touchdown, as did junior RB Gabe Sawchuk. Senior PK Jeremy Claycamp made a 25-yard field goal, but was errant on two other attempts, including one in overtime. (Game story, here).
REGIS JESUIT: Coach Danny Filleman’s veteran Raiders — who have 28 seniors on the roster — played a difficult regular season schedule that saw them face seven teams that qualified for the Colorado 5A state playoffs (No. 1 Cherry Creek, No. 2 Valor Christian, No. 3 Ralston Valley, No. 5 Pine Creek, No. 8 Arapahoe, No. 15 Legend and No. 16 Fountain-Fort Carson) and another that make the California state playoffs (Oaks Christian) and won four of those games. Regis Jesuit rebounded from a loss to Fountain-Fort Carson in its season finale with a 63-28 victory over No. 10 Fossil Ridge in the second round, which came after it had a bye in the opening round. The Raiders recovered three loose balls on kickoffs, which gave them extra possessions against the SaberCats, and they took advantage. Senior QB Exander Carroll accounted for five touchdowns passes — three to senior TE Andrew Metzger and one apiece to senior WR D’Andre Barnes and senior WR Dylan McCollough — while he scored the first and ninth touchdown for the Raiders on the ground. Junior RB Anthony Medina and junior RB Jaden Thermidor also reached the end zone in a performance that saw Regis Jesuit score its most points since the 2016 regular season. The outburst boosted the Raiders’ season scoring average to 31.3 points per game. For the season, that boosted Carroll’s touchdown passes to 22 against six interceptions, while he now has six rushing touchdowns as well. Medina tallied his team-high 12 touchdown of the year and is the team’s leading rusher with better than 700 yards to his credit, while Thermidor now has two scores and is another cog in the rushing machine along with senior RB Adin Chase. Barnes has nine receiving touchdowns and McCollough has a caught a touchdown pass in six straight games, while the duo have combined for well over 1,000 yards receiving. Metzger doubled his touchdown total for the season in one game and scored on some big plays, while he has done most of his previous work in key short yardage situations. …Defensively, the Raiders have allowed 21.3 points per game and held two opponents in single digits for the season. Regis Jesuit has triple-digit tacklers in senior DE Hayden Moore (who leads the teams in sacks and tackles for loss) and senior LB Nate Lewis, while sophomore LB Kai Shelton and senior DB/S Joshua Harvey are closing in on that figure. Six different Raiders have 2.5 or more sacks and Barnes added an interception against Fossil Ridge to up his team-best total to six. …On special teams, Barnes has taken back two kickoffs for touchdowns and remains a threat, while junior PK Pierce Martin has made 90-plus percent of his PAT attempts and cashed in two of his three field goal chances with a long of 42 yards.
VALOR CHRISTIAN: In his first season as head coach of Valor Christian, Bret McGatlin — who led Chatfield to the Class 4A state championship last season — led the Eagles to an 8-2 regular season record against a schedule that included seven teams that qualified for the Colorado 5A playoffs (No. 3 Ralston Valley, No. 5 Pine Creek, No. 9 ThunderRidge, No. 11 Rock Canyon, No. 13 Mountain Vista and No. 14 Fairview in addition to No. 7 Regis Jesuit). Coming out of a first round bye, the Eagles rolled past No. 15 Legend 42-14 in a second round match on their home field. Junior QB Asher Weiner threw for 173 yards and found junior WR Jake Krekeler for two touchdowns and senior TE Jake Dragoo for another. Krekeler had a team-high 81 yards receiving and also led a rushing attack that neared 300 yards with 90 yards. Senior RB Roman Bradley and senior RB Greg McDonald also crossed the goal line chalk. For the season, Valor Christian’s fourth game scoring in the 40s boosted its season average to 31 points per game. Weiner took over as the regular quarterback early in the season and has thrown for 849 yards and nine touchdowns against four interceptions, while he also ranks second on the run-heavy team in rushing yards with 460 (behind the 581 of junior RB Gabe Sawchuk) and he has six touchdowns to rank behind senior WR Trey Stott with eight. Krekeler is the team’s leading receiver in terms of yardage (322) and touchdowns (five), while four other players have caught 121 yards or more worth of passes. …Defensively, Valor Christian has limited opponents to just a shade over 20 points per game and held two opponents in single digits. Bradley paces the team in tackles with 77, followed by senior DB Gavin Bibik with 65 and Stott with 56. Senior DE Rowdy Beers and junior DE Alexander Jordan share the team-lead with 4.5 sacks apiece, while the Eagles have generated double-digit turnovers via interception and senior DB Jackson Oriol owns half of them with five. …On special teams, sophomore PK Mason Walters has worked his way into regular kicking duties and is 4-for-4 in field goal attempts with a long of 38 yards. Krekeler has been an effective return man on kickoffs, while freshman WR Cash Spence has done some damage on punt returns.
WINNER GETS: The Regis Jesuit-Valor Christian winners advances to the state semifinals where it will face the winner of the quarterfinal between No. 6 Columbine (10-1) and No. 3 Ralston Valley (9-2)