In the last home game of the regular season, the Valor Eagles hosted the Poudre Impalas last Friday evening, a night where the Eagles honored the 24 seniors who have made up an incredible senior class.
Valor came out motivated as they knew that a victory would clinch a league championship and an automatic bye into the CHSAA 5A State Playoffs. For just under 20 minutes prior to kickoff, each of our seniors was honored for their countless contributions to the program. This group of young men have lead well, both in terms of the on-field success of the program and more importantly in the way their Godly character has impacted those around them. Our entire community is grateful for their work!
As the opening kick landed, the Impalas knew they were in for a long night. The opening series went for 63 yards over 9 plays to set the tone. When Valor started their first possession of the game, both college-bound quarterbacks shared the backfield, as they did for quite a few snaps on the night. To open the game, junior Luke McCaffrey completed a screen pass to senior fullback Easton Cecil. On the ensuing play, senior QB Blake Stenstrom faked a handoff to Luke and raced around the right edge for another positive gain. Blake finished out the opening scoring drive for Valor, mixing up runs and passes prior to Alexis Chavez-Salinas scoring the first of his two rushing touchdowns on the night. After the second drive of the night was cut short on an interception, the Eagles took possession on their third drive from their own 1-yard line, and proceeded to effectively put the game out of reach with a 14 play drive, featuring 13 rushing plays, en route to a 14-0 lead. The Valor O continued to click as they worked on their two-minute offense, finishing the half with a 70 second drive that spanned 80 yards, capped off with a McCaffrey to Ryan Thibault touchdown pass, making it 21-0 at the half. Two more third quarter scores pushed the Valor lead to 35-0, at which point numerous Eagles were able to land some playing time to close out the victory.
The defense played strong throughout the first three quarters, and although Poudre amassed 26 fourth quarter points, the outcome was never in jeopardy. Chavez-Salinas not only led the Eagles in rushing, but he also was the leading tackler with 11 tackles on the night, although junior Payton Polson was just one off of his pace as he finished with ten. Jack Armstrong jumped in and saw his first action of the year on the defensive line and contributed five tackles, with one of them going for a loss.
Offensively, Thibault once again led all receivers with six catches and a touchdown. McCaffrey and tight end Hunter Carlson both contributed three catches as well. Rushing the football also had diversity, with ten different ball carriers sharing the load. Chavez-Salinas gained 89 yards while Stenstrom added 84 and a touchdown. Sophomore Zain Zinicola saw his most extended action of the year, totaling 31 yards on his five carries.
This week Valor will close out the regular season with a playoff-caliber trip to Fountain Fort Carson to battle the Trojans.