Valor Christian's defense stepped up during its 24-14 Class 5A state championship game victory over Cherry Creek on Dec. 1. “Defensive Coordinator Scott Durnell and his staff had a good plan going …
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Valor Christian's defense stepped up during its 24-14 Class 5A state championship game victory over Cherry Creek on Dec. 1.
“Defensive Coordinator Scott Durnell and his staff had a good plan going into the game," Eagles coach Ed McCaffrey said. "We knew we had to be strong up front because we would have to stop a powerful run game and we loaded the box at times. To defend against the pass, we mixed up man and zone pass coverage. We were aggressive on defense, just as we have been all year. We like to pin our ears back, fly around and make plays."
Cherry Creek had a strong running attack, averaging more than 150 yards a game. The Valor defense held them to 103 yards. The Eagles sacked the Creek quarterback six times.
Ethan Zemia, Valor defensive captain, made 12 tackles, including two sacks.
"Our coach put together a plan for us to use our quickness and our toughness on every play," he said. "We didn't use a lot blitzes but we did fly around to the ball. Their quarterback liked to roll out and I went after him on some plays and got to him a couple of times.”
A key play for the Eagles was the third-quarter pass interception by defensive lineman Roger Rosengarten.
“Cherry Creek's linemen are really good and it was a battle in there all day,” the 6-7, 275-pound junior said. “On the interception, I knew their quarterback was going to roll out. I went with him, got my hands up and blocked the pass. When I blocked it, the ball popped up in the air right in front of me and I just grabbed it. It felt great to make the interception and to help my team.”
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