ARVADA — Pomona nearly pulled off a fourth-quarter rally for the second straight week on the football field.
Senior running back Chris Marquez's 1-yard touchdown run with 5:34 left in the fourth quarter Friday night at the North Area Athletic Complex trimmed Cherry Creek's lead to 17-15. However, a failed 2-point conversion didn't allow Pomona to tie the game and the No. 4 Bruins (2-0) got a late defensive safety in the waning minutes to hold on for a 19-15 victory.
“I’m hoping this will take the pressure off,” Pomona coach Jay Madden said after his Panthers (1-1), ranked sixth in this week's CHSAANow.com football poll, lost the non-conference game in their home opener. “Now we can go back to just being Pomona and getting better every week.”
Cherry Creek’s offense got better in the second half after managing just a 37-yard field goal from junior Henry Lyon as time expired in the first half. The Panthers led at halftime 6-3 thanks to an 18-yard touchdown pass from senior Konner Burns to sophomore Elija Leyva early in the second quarter.
Bruins’ junior tailback Milo Hall gave Creek on the opening possession of the third quarter with a 25-yard touchdown run. Hall carried the loin’s share for the Bruins. He finished with 27 carries for 170 yards and the one touchdown.
“We are hard workers and competitors,” Hall said. “We are going to keep going.”
Creek’s other junior running back, DJ Luke, came up big late in the fourth quarter when Bruins’ coach Dave Logan took a gamble. On a fourth-and-one from Creek’s own 35-yard line, Luke managed a 3-yard gain to prevent from turning the ball over on downs to Pomona.
Hall was actually the decoy in the biggest play from scrimmage of the game. On what appeared to be a sweep right, Hall pitched the ball to junior wide receiver Joseph Parker on a reverse. Parker took the ball 53 yards for the touchdown, opening up a 17-9 lead for the Bruins.
A 68-yard kickoff return by Pomona junior Isaac Marquez put the Panthers in great field position at Creek’s 31-yard line after Parker’s touchdown. Six plays later, Chris Marquez scored on his final carry of the night, but it wasn't enough to pull off a second straight four-quarter comeback win.
“We know we don’t want to feel like this come next week,” said Pomona’s leading rusher, who finished the night with 78 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.
The Panthers return to NAAC next week to face Lakewood (1-1) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14. The Bruins will host Douglas County (2-0) at 7 p.m. Thursday night at Stutler Bowl.