HIGHLANDS RANCH – Reports of Valor Christian’s demise are a bit premature. Following a heartbreaking loss to Regis Jesuit in Week 1 of the season, high school football diehards and even casual observers couldn’t help but ponder.
Are the days of a dominant Valor Christian team over?
It turns out that the loss to Regis may have only been a slight setback. Class 5A No. 5 Valor battled with a tough Pine Creek team who is looking to make noise in its first season competing in Class 5A. A dominant win in Las Vegas for No. 7 Pine Creek coupled with Valor’s loss to Regis Jesuit put pairs of Eagles on a collision course.
And like it has on so many occasions, it was Valor coming away with a defining 24-7 win and removing the taste of heartbreak from its mouth from a week ago.
“We kind of beat ourselves up in that (Regis) game,” senior Roman Bradley said. “We have a new coaching staff and a lot of young guys having to step up. It’s only a matter of time before we work out all the kinks.”
Pine Creek (1-1 overall) was the team beating itself up, especially early. Penalties in the first half stalled out its offensive drives and helped keep Valor’s offense on the field when the visiting Eagles were on defense.
Mason Miller got Pine Creke on the board late in the second quarter and the momentum seemingly shifted. But a two-hour weather delay hit and caused havoc on football games all along the front range.
That wasn’t the reason Pine Creek couldn’t sustain the energy that it found late in the first half.
“It was the same for both teams,” Pine Creek coach Todd Miller said. “Both teams were a little tired and you just reset. It was the same situation for both.”
Valor (1-1) took the situation and used it to show that the team had learned from its shortcomings a week earlier. The third quarter went by without either team scoring a point and as things felt tight in the fourth quarter, the home Eagles found a way to create distance on the scoreboard.
Trey Stott got his second rushing touchdown of the game to put Valor up 17-7. Bradley came up with a big sack to stall a Pine Creek drive then Jake Krekeler put the nail in the coffin with a 32-yard rushing touchdown.
Considering how thing broke down for Valor last week, this is the exact kind of progression that the team needed to see after dropping the first game of the year.
“I’ve always thought that this is going to be a team that will grow a lot,” coach Bret McGatlin said. “They’re good kids, they’re coachable kids. We’re just trying to take care of ourselves and sometimes you get motivated by the naysayers.”
There are those who believe that Valor’s loss to Regis is sign that the program will have sub-standard season. There are those who believe that Pine Creek will be a top-level team in 5A this season. But if the latter statement is true, then there is a chance that Valor Christian is merely a giant who hadn’t woken up yet.
Friday night, it looked like the alarm went off.