COLORADO SPRINGS — An offensive clinic this was not.
But Cherry Creek was able to do just enough behind sophomore quarterback Alex Padilla to come away with a 27-13 over Doherty Friday night.
"We battled a good team," Cherry Creek coach Dave Logan said. "This is a team that you're going to hear about later in the season. We're thrilled to get out here with a win."
From the start, it seemed like things would be bouncing the way of the Bruins (1-1 overall) as they started their first four drives in Doherty territory.
But the Spartans (1-1) were able to match the defensive intensity that Cherry Creek was throwing out, allowing 13 total yards on those four drives.
"Field position in this game is everything," Doherty coach Jeff Krumlauf said. "When you're on the wrong side of it, it makes things really tough."
But they weren't doing much better on offense. With running back Cameron Crowe nursing an ankle injury, the load fell on junior Julian Cooks. But the Spartans were unable to get the kind of production they had in last week's win over Rangeview.
"This is a team game," Krumlauf said. "It's the 11 guys on the field, it's one unit, it's never just one guy."
The Spartans defensive dam started leaking when senior running back Trey Windham got around the left side of the offensive line and broke for a 25-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing Doherty drive, Krumlauf got creative and a halfback pass from Donte Wiggins to Justin Ragland went 65 yards for a touchdown to make it a 7-6 game.
"We had to go back to our bread and butter (at that point)," Padilla said. "That's worked for us for a long time."
So that's what they did.
The Bruins continued to utilize the run to open up the pass. It paid off when Padilla hit Connor Till on back to back completions to get the Bruins inside the Doherty five yard line.
They would get it to the one where Padilla would sneak it in to give Cherry Creek a 13-6 lead at the half.
And then it was Windham's turn.
He carried the ball 15 times in the second half, bringing his game total to 143 yards. The Bruins took a two-score lead on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Padilla to Dimitri Stanley.
"(Running the ball) was to open up the passing game still," Windham said. "We were establishing the run just to run the clock. It was a close game."
The Spartans responded to the touchdown with a five-play, 69-yard drive that ended with a Zander Offutt touchdown pass to Isaac Kubik.
With the way the Bruins were running the ball, they weren't content with just milking the little time that was left in the fourth quarter, but they had ambitions of getting into the end zone once more.
"We had to score again," Windham said. "We need to get in that end zone and win that game."
And that's exactly what they did. Windham broke free for 28 yards, giving him his second touchdown of the night and a 27-13 lead with a minute remaining.
Now Cherry Creek is tasked with turning around on a short week before playing their home opener against Arapahoe Thursday night. But with a big win against a good football team, Logan's young squad is coming into its own and learning just how to secure a victory when it's in reach.
"It's a testament to us to hang in there with a bunch of inexperienced kids," Logan said. "There's going to be ups and downs with this team this year. We're really young. It's not an excuse, it's just a fact."