Football: Capsule look at Cherry Creek vs. Overland




NO. 3 CHERRY CREEK (9-1) vs. NO. 19 OVERLAND (6-4)

Nov. 8, 7 p.m., Stutler Bowl

BREAKDOWN: Centennial League rivals Overland and Cherry Creek meet for the second time this season, with the Bruins owning a 20-6 victory when the teams met in Centennial League play on Sept. 27 at Stutler Bowl. Cherry Creek has won the past seven times the teams have played, winning by an average score of 35.9 to 16.9. The Trailblazers’ last victory in the series came with a 20-13 decision in 2006, their second straight after a 28-21 win on 2005. The teams haven’t met in the postseason in at least 13 years. …Second-year coach Seth Replogle is now 1-1 in the postseason with Overland, suffering a first-round defeat last season and winning the opener this season, which marked the program’s first postseason victory since 2006. …Coach Dave Logan is in his second season at Cherry Creek and is 2-1 in the postseason, leading the Bruins to the second round last season before a loss to ThunderRidge and to a win in the first round in 2013. …OVERLAND: The Trailblazers played the closest game of the entire first round, as they outlasted 14th-seeded Rangeview for a 19-16 victory on Nov. 1 at Aurora Public Schools Stadium, winning for the fourth time in their past five games. The Overland defense held Rangeview to a field goal on the opening possession of overtime and the offense needed just two plays to get into the end zone for the winning score. Junior RB Ahjon White set the tone with an 8-yard run on first down and junior QB Austin Conway drove across the goal line on the next play to win it, hopping up and sprinting over to celebrate in front of Overland’s fan section. The Trailblazers had to go to overtime despite building a 13-0 lead against the Raiders as Conway — returning to the lineup after sitting out the regular season finale — threw a touchdown pass to senior WR Khalil Jenkins and rushed for an 8-yard score in the first half. …Overland had more time of possession and first downs than Cherry Creek did when the two met previously — in a game played in a pouring rain storm — but the Bruins scored the first three touchdowns of the game until White got into the end zone in the fourth quarter. Conway had success on the ground in the first meeting with Cherry Creek, as he rushed for 122 yards, but completed just 8 of his 17 passes for 45 yards and threw two interceptions. …For the season, Conway has 1,845 yards passing and 19 touchdowns (against 14 interceptions), while he also has rushed for a team-high 1,139 yards and 11 scores. White has been a hard-nosed compliment in the backfield with 583 yards and 5 TDs. Conway has a special connection with Jenkins, who is frequently the target of jump balls in the end zone and he has come down with 41 receptions for 747 yards and 10 touchdowns. Senior TE A.J. Roper has 409 yards receiving and 6 TDs and senior WR Dominican Waynewood has 322 yards worth of catches and 4 scores. …Overland’s defense is also a play-making unit, headed by senior LB Tre Thomas, who appears to be literally everywhere on the field in many games. Thomas has been credited with a whopping 192 total tackles (167 solo) and is tied with sophomore DL Taylor Marshall for the team high with 4.0 sacks. Junior LB Kevin Prosser and junior DB Josh Wright also get in on their fair share of tackles for Overland, while Roper leads a ball-hawking secondary with 4 interceptions. …CHERRY CREEK: The Bruins rolled through the first round with a decisive 52-12 thrashing of No. 30 Lakewood on Nov. 1 for their seventh straight victory. The Bruins dominated in the ground game as they have all season, racking up a whopping 255 yards on just 28 carries, or 9.11 yards per tote. Junior RB Milo Hall piled up 108 yards and two touchdowns and senior RB Nathan Starks rushed for 106 yards and a pair of scores, while Cherry Creek’s third regular RB, junior D.J. Luke, also got into the end zone despite getting just three carries. Senior QB Cameron Brucker completed 13 of his 18 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown pass to Starks, while sophomore TE Anthony Martinez caught four balls for a team-high 62 yards. Cherry Creek had a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions. …Offensively, the Bruins’ attack has been predicated on the ground game, but even moreso in the past four games with the addition of Starks, who sat out the first six games of the season as he awaited eligibility from the Colorado High School Activities Association after coming to Colorado following his dismissal from the team at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas. The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder has rushed for 262 yards and 6 touchdowns in his four games on just 32 carries, putting him third statistically in Cherry Creek’s stable behind Hall (134 carries, 1,126 yards, 12 TDs) and Luke (76 carries, 522 yards, 7 TDs). With the threat of the run behind him, Brucker has been efficient in the passing game with 96 completions in 148 attemps for 1,321 yards and 12 touchdowns against just three interceptions. Six Bruins have double-digit receptions on the season, but the main targets in the passing game are senior TE Mikey McCauley (26 catches, 350 yards, 4 TDs) and junior WR Joseph Parker IV (27 catches, 345 yards, 2 TDs). …Freshman LB Santino Marchiol and senior LB Matt Rindal make the most stops on a Cherry Creek defense that has posted two shutouts (vs. Denver East and Grandview) and allowed an average of just 13.7 points per game so far. The Bruins have been able to get to the opposing quarterback regularly with freshman DL Jonathan Van Diest leading the way with 6.5 sacks, while senior LB Stanford Cooper has 6.0, and eight different Cherry Creek defenders have at least one interception. …WINNER GETS: The Cherry Creek/Overland winner advances to the quarterfinals, where it will face the winner of the second round game between No. 10 Mountain Range and No. 6 Cherokee Trail.

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel.