Football: Capsule look at Eaglecrest vs. Valor Christian

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2013 CLASS 5A STATE FIRST ROUND PLAYOFF MATCHUP

Eaglecrest
EAGLECREST
Valor Christian
VALOR CHRISTIAN

NO. 31 EAGLECREST (4-5) VS. NO. 2 VALOR CHRISTIAN (8-1)

Nov. 1, 7 p.m., Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch)

BREAKDOWN: Eaglecrest from the Centennial League and independent Valor Christian meet for the first time, playoff or regular season. …The Eagles come into the game on a 17-game postseason winning streak, which includes a 3A state championship in 2009, 4A crowns in 2010 and 2011 and last season’s 5A state championship, which they won against another Centennial League team, Cherokee Trail. …As the No. 22 seed, the Raptors pulled off a pair of upsets in the state playoffs last season — in their first trip under coach Mike Schmitt — as they knocked off No. 11 Chatfield and No. 6 Chaparral in successive weeks before suffering a 17-14 defeat against Cherokee Trail in the quarterfinals. Previously, Eaglecrest hadn’t won a playoff game since a first-round victory over Fort Collins in 2009. … EAGLECREST: The Raptors concluded a 4-5 regular season with a 41-34 loss to Cherry Creek, nearly pulling themselves out of a 41-14 hole in the fourth quarter before running out of time. Junior QB Elijah Ross rushed for four touchdowns in the losing effort for Eaglecrest, while senior QB/RB Aaric Witt threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to WR Matt Lally on a double reverse for the Raptors’ final touchdown. It was an emotional contest for the Raptors, who paid tribute to the father of junior TE Anthony Karmazyn — Mike Karmazyn — before the game. Mike Karmazyn died earlier in the week at the age of 50 after a long battle with cancer. The Karmazyn family served as honorable team captains for the coin flip. Anthony Karmazyn then went out and caught five passes for 78 yards against the Bruins. …During the regular season, Eaglecrest scored 249 points and allowed 259, 128 of those over the last three games in a 46-13 loss to Overland, a 41-0 defeat to Cherokee Trail and 41-34 loss to Cherry Creek. …Ross and Witt both played QB during the season, but most of the snaps have gone to Ross, who has thrown for 838 yards and 5 touchdowns — with 6 interceptions — and rushed for 10 touchdowns and 513 yards, second on the team to Witt with 815 yards and 7 scores. Karmazyn is Eaglecrest’s clear leader in catches (35) and receiving yards (575), while his 5 TD catches are one more than senior WR Treyvon Williams. Senior LB Tannen Hutton‘s 54 tackles lead the defense, powerful DT Deyon Sizer has a team-best 5 sacks and senior DB Jacobi Hicks and sophomore DB Charles Roberts share the team lead with 2 interceptions. …VALOR CHRISTIAN: Coach Rod Sherman‘s Eagles finished 8-1 in the regular season, with their only loss coming in Week 2 in a 24-21 defeat against Bingham, Utah, and they capped it with a 56-6 demolition of Rock Canyon on Oct. 25. …Defense has been a major calling card for Valor Christian, which recorded two shutouts and allowed seven points or less in seven of its nine games, which puts it first in 5A in points allowed with just 67. Senior LB Justin Falls leads a speedy Valor Christian defensive unit with 60 total tackles, senior DE Nick Rigali tops the team with 3.5 sacks and junior DB Brian Dawkins Jr. has picked off five passes to lead his team. …Offense hasn’t been a problem for the Eagles either, as they’ve scored 40 or more points in their last seven contests to finish the regular season with 401 points, second in 5A behind Prairie View (409). Though he’s spent a lot of time on the sidelines in the midst of blowout victories, star senior RB Christian McCaffrey has racked up 1,365 yards of total offense (1,007 rushing, 358 receiving) along with 24 touchdowns. The Stanford commitment gained his 1,007 rushing yards on just 82 carries, an average of 12.28 yards per tote. Senior QB A.J. Cecil has thrown for 1,357 yards and 21 touchdowns — 9 to McCaffrey — against just 5 interceptions. Senior WR Marcus Wilson leads the team with 15 catches for 363 yards and 4 touchdowns.

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