Top-seeded Cherry Creek football rallies past Fairview in a tough 5A quarterfinal game

More photos. (Jack Eberhard/JacksActionShots.com)

GREENWOOD VILLAGE — Myles Purchase didn't need a receipt for any of his returns. The scoreboard was proof enough.

Purchase, a junior, had two crucial returns for a score in the second half — one on an interception, and another on a punt return — to help spark his Cherry Creek Bruins to a 42-28 win over Fairview in the Class 5A quarterfinals.

"He's a playmaker and he's dangerous with his hand on the ball," said Cherry Creek coach Dave Logan. "Both plays were big. The punt return really gave us a shot of energy."

The top-seeded Bruins rallied from a 20-7 hole in the second quarter to take a 21-20 lead at halftime, and then Purchase gave his team a 28-20 lead with a 20-yard interception return for a score early in the fourth quarter.

But Fairview, which went toe-to-toe with the top seed, rallied with a 18-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Liam O'Brien to David Howlett.

It was 28-28 with 6:28 to play in the third quarter. The teams traded punts — setting the stage, again, for Purchase.

The talented cornerback who is also a standout basketball player hauled in the punt at the 28-yard-line, made a great initial move, and then cut up the middle for a 72-yard score. That gave Cherry Creek a 35-28 lead with 9:05 remaining.

It was the third game this season where Purchase had both an interception return and kick return for a score.

"If I can make one move, I feel like I can score every time I get it," Purchase said. "So me being a dynamic player, I saw a seam and I just hit it. And I scored."

"It was very emotional, putting us up a score when we needed it," he added.

More photos. (Jack Eberhard/JacksActionShots.com)

The Bruins added another touchdown in the fourth quarter when bruising running back Jayle Stacks punched in a 1-yard touchdown on fourth down with 4:53 to play. Stacks finished with 185 yards and two touchdowns.

This is the fifth time in the past six seasons that the Bruins have advanced to the semifinals.

"I'm proud of our program," Logan said. "I think the culture of the program is a credit to our kids and the staff."

Fairview, the No. 8 seed, trailed Cherry Creek 7-0 but then reeled off 20 unanswered points in a wave of offense that was sparked by great defensive plays.

Twice, the Knights turned away two great Cherry Creek drives, including a fourth-down stop on the 5-yard-line. O'Brien, starting for the first time this season, threw three first-half touchdowns. (He finished with four, and 280 yards passing.)

Suddenly, Fairview was up two scores at 20-7.

But Cherry Creek stuck to its game plan: namely, give the ball to Stacks. His strong running twice drove the Bruins' offense down the field — and twice, quarterback Julian Hammond III found Chase Penry for a touchdown. The second came with five seconds left in the half, and gave Cherry Creek a 21-20 lead.

"We've never been in that position before, but when adversity hits, we always know we have to deliver," Purchase said of trailing by two scores. "And we ended up delivering when we needed to."

Cherry Creek will face the winner of No. 4 Regis Jesuit and No. 5 Pomona in the semifinals. Those two teams play Saturday at noon.

Cherry Creek Fairview football

More photos. (Jack Eberhard/JacksActionShots.com)