Oct. 24, 2012 was the last time that any team from the state of Colorado defeated the Valor Christian Eagles.
Friday night, No. 9 Cherry Creek, coached by Dave Logan, ended that trend as the Bruins (5-3 overall, 3-1 5A Centennial League) topped top-ranked Valor (6-2, 3-1) 33-17 in a hard-fought battle.
It was the first time the Eagles had lost to an in-state team in 28 games, dating back to that 2012 season in a 14-13 loss to Mullen.
The Bruins were trailing 17-7 at half, but a slew of halftime adjustments slowed down the Eagles' offense and allowed them to pull ahead for the upset victory.
"I'm really happy with our kids' effort," Logan said. "I thought we played them as well as we could possibly play them and I'm really proud."
The Bruins were able to utilize the emotion of the home crowd and contain the Valor offense to a three-and-out in their first series.
With the ball in their hands for the first time, Cherry Creek went with a healthy dose of running back Milo Hall, who carried the ball six times for 35 yards, including a four-yard touchdown run.
"We just had to believe in ourselves, we knew it was going to be a physical and dirty game," said Hall, who finished with 194 yards. "(Valor) was a great team on offense and defense so we knew we had to be physical."
After getting settled in, quarterback Dylan McCaffrey and the Eagles' offense began to work their way down field. The youngest of Ed's boys was able to find Nebraska commit Eric Lee Jr. for a 56-yard gain, putting Valor deep in Bruins territory.
But the Cherry Creek defense held their ground, only yielding a field goal. Not satisfied trailing 7-3, the Eagles' defense forced a three-and-out, putting the ball back in McCaffrey's hands.
He found Lee Jr. streaking down the sideline once again, but this time they connected for a 52-yard touchdown pass, putting the Eagles up for the first time of the night with a 10-7 lead.
Cherry Creek would stall out on offense again and the Eagles would once again take advantage. This time McCaffrey went to Ben Waters for a 37-yard completion that got his team to the Cherry Creek 10-yard line. Two plays later, McCaffrey found Waters again, this time in the end zone for the touchdown and a 17-7.
"We were able to hang in there, but we were disappointed right before halftime with a 17-play drive that didn't result in any points," Logan said. "We were a little demoralized at halftime, but we committed to play 48 minutes and we had to go back at them."
The Eagles took the 10-point lead into halftime and at that point, the game got interesting. A botched snap on the first drive of the third quarter put the ball back in the Eagles' hands. Two plays later a tipped McCaffrey pass landed in the hands of Bruins defensive back Santino Marchiol. Cherry Creek got down the field and running back D.J. Luke found the end zone to make it a 17-13 game.
The Creek defense stood tall once again, forcing the Eagles to punt the ball after only three offensive plays. A 35-yard run by Hall brought Cherry Creek back into the redzone where quarterback Joe Caplis scored the go-ahead touchdown with a quarterback sneak.
With the back in his hands, McCaffrey still had trouble moving his offense down the field. The Eagles got within field goal range but Jarred Kendziorski missed the 42-yarder to give the ball back in Cherry Creek's possession.
"We just had trouble getting going, all of us I'd say," McCaffrey said. "We just wanted to find that spark we had in the first half of the game and sometimes it doesn't come."
D.J. Luke would add another touchdown to increase the lead to 27-17 and on the final play of the game Zach Grado intercepted McCaffrey and took it to the end zone to make the final score 33-17.
Creek is now in position to end the year in a three-way tie a top the Centennial League if the Eagles can beat Grandview next week.
But in order for that to happen, the Eagles need to learn from this loss and move forward as a team.
"Character is built through the storm," Valor coach Rod Sherman said. "We still believe we can conrtol our own destiny. As a coach if you don't embrace these opportunities, you probably shouldn't coach."