Valor opened the 2017 CHSAA 5A State Playoffs with a strong 35-7 victory over Chaparral High School from Parker. The big and physical Chaparral squad brought a 7-3 record into the game as the #16 seed. Valor’s Joshia Davis took the opening kickoff and returned it to near midfield, then the Valor offense took over and proceeded to march 51 yards in eight plays for the opening score, a 3-yard run from Davis. The drive was extended on a 3rd and 14 as QB Luke McCaffrey found receiver Ryan Thibault on a dig route across the middle. Senior running back Jadin Watson also joined the action with a 10 yard rush around the right edge, putting the ball inside the 10-yard line.
The Eagles had one more scoring drive on the half, after two possessions ending without scores. On first down QB Blake Stenstrom hit TE Ben Anderson on a bootleg pass, with Anderson gaining 29 yards. For the scoring play, on 3rd and goal from the 14, Stenstrom faked a WR screen to McCaffrey and found Thibault slipping past the defense for the score.
The Valor Defense was stout all evening, giving up just one scoring drive on the night, an 83-yard drive, aided by 60 yards in penalties. Senior linebacker Ethan Zemla led the Eagles with nine tackles on the night, followed closely by fellow linebackers Payton Polson (8) and Bubba Thibault (7). Defenders Cam Smith, Noah Kuzma, Jack Armstrong and Polson each recorded a sack. The Eagle defense also had two scores, with Kuzma bringing back an interception for one and with Polson recovering a fumble off of the Cam Smith sack in the fourth quarter for the other. For the game, Chaparral only had 94 yards over 48 plays. Their traditionally strong rushing attack was held to just 40 yards on their 30 carries. The defensive line was anchored by Trevor Szilagyi, Hunter Carlson, Jack Armstrong, Preston Rose, Cam Smith and Jackson Eagle Ortiz.
Valor’s final scoring drive on the night came early in the fourth quarter and cemented the Valor victory. With the win the Eagles have advanced to play perennial power Grandview, winner of their first-round contest against Lakewood by a score of 42-0. The athletic Wolves bring a strong run game into the contest to go along with their stingy and aggressive defense, it proves to be an exciting quarterfinal matchup. The game will be played at Valor on Friday night at 7:00pm!