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Valor Christian and Cherry Creek, two schools that have had success over the years in the state football playoffs, notched Class 5A first-round wins on Nov. 10.
Top-seeded and defending state champion Valor, which is seeking its eighth state crown in the past nine seasons in three classifications, toppled Chaparral, 35-7.
The Eagles (11-0) will face Grandview (9-2) in a 7 p.m. quarterfinal contest on Nov. 17 at Valor Christian. Valor has won the past three games played against the Wolves and holds a 4-2 advantage in the series.
Cherry Creek, a nine-time state champion and a semifinalist last season, downed Ralston Valley, 34-21. The Bruins (9-2) will play unbeaten Eaglecrest (11-0) in a 7 p.m. game quarterfinal game Nov. 17 at Legacy Stadium in Aurora.
Creek has won nine of 12 games played against Eaglecrest, including the last three.
Valor was only ahead of Chaparral 14-7 at halftime but outscored the Wolverines 21-0 in the second half to secure the victory.
Quarterback Blake Stenstrom passed for 56 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles' victory. Luke McCaffrey, the second half of Valor's dual quarterback system, passed for 67 yards and rushed for a touchdown. Ryan Thibault had three receptions for 66 yards and a TD, in addition to making six solo tackles.
Cherry Creek jumped to a 17-0 lead over Ralston Valley but had to stave of the Mustangs with 10 points in the final six minutes to advance.
Quarterback Alex Padilla completed 16-of-23 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns, including a scoring strike to Dimitri Stanley with two minutes to play to seal the win.
Stanley caught six passes for 82 yards and two scores.
In another 5A game, Columbine rolled to a 45-14 opening-round win 5A win over Highlands Ranch.
Columbine led 31-0 at halftime and rushed for 253 yards and five TDs to end the season for the Falcons. Highlands Ranch lost its final four games to finish with a 6-5 overall record.
Dominic Bettini rushed for both Falcons touchdowns.
In the first round of the 4A playoffs, Loveland ousted Ponderosa, 31-6, as the Mustangs lost for the second straight time after starting the season with a 9-0 record.
Mustangs quarterback Sterling Ostdahl threw for the lone touchdown, and his brother Quinton led the Pondo defense with 15 tackles.
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