The Class 5A football championship game is Saturday in Denver, matching Cherry Creek and Columbine.
Here's a breakdown of the game:
(1) Cherry Creek vs. (6) Columbine
- Date: Saturday
- Time: 2:30 p.m.
- Location: Empower Field at Mile High
- Watch the game live on the NFHS Network
- Buy tickets
- The two teams have not met this season. They last met in the semifinals last season, a 10-7 Cherry Creek win.
- That matchup was their eighth postseason meeting, according to the Colorado Preps playoff database. This will be their ninth. They are 4-4 against one another in the playoffs. That includes the 1999 title game, which Columbine won 21-14.
- Coaches Dave Logan and Andy Lowry have once before in a championship game: Lowry and Columbine beat Logan and Mullen in 2006, 13-10.
- This will be Cherry Creek's 18th state championship appearance. The Bruins have won 10, including the 2014 title under Logan.
- Saturday marks Columbine seventh championship game appearance. They have won five titles, most recently in 2011. In fact, Columbine has won each of the last five championship games they've been in.
- They have two common opponents: Mullen and Pomona. Both teams beat Mullen, while Columbine lost to Pomona 34-33, and Cherry Creek beat Pomona twice, including 14-7 in last week's semifinals.
- Both teams, along with the 4A finalists, were at Mile High on Tuesday for a tour and a press conference.
- Complete game info is available here.
Cherry Creek notes:
- Record: 13-0
- Seed: No. 1
- Mascot: Bruins
- How they got here: Cherry Creek's defense led the way in a semifinal win over Pomona.
- Rushing offense: 2,308 yards and 26 touchdowns.
- Passing offense: 2,521 yards and 30 touchdowns.
- Scoring: They are averaging 36.4 points per game.
- Defense: The defense has has 43 sacks, and they give up just 9.7 points per game. As a group, they have eight interceptions.
- Special teams: Alexi Sanchez Ventura is 56-of-56 on PATs, and 10-of-15 in field goals, with a long of 43 yards.
- Top players: Myles Purchase, a junior, may just be the most exciting player in the state. He has seven touchdowns on returns: three on interceptions, two on punt returns and two on kick returns. He also has two rushing scores — and in the semifinals, Cherry Creek sought to involve him more in their offense. Dual-threat quarterback Julian Hammond III has 2,268 passing yards and 27 touchdowns, and also has three rushing touchdowns. The rushing attack is led by senior Jayle Stacks, who has 1,010 yards and 14 touchdowns, and James Walker II (818 yards, six touchdowns). Hammond finds a number of receivers: Dante Orlando (667 yards, six touchdowns), Chase Penry (576 yards, 9 TDs), and Gunnar Helm (365 yards, 8 TDs). Stacks also have five receiving touchdowns, and Walker II has 386 receiving yards. John Adams (97) and Dade Bissell (90) are the team's top tacklers. Delonte Dickey has 11 sacks and 66 tackles.
- Coach Dave Logan: "It's been a great group of young men to coach. We lost 36 seniors last year, and, quite honestly, we didn't really know exactly what we were gonna have this year. We had some returning starters, obviously, that were good players last year. But we try to break things down day-by-day, just try to find a way to get better every single day, and improve incrementally during the course of the season. ... It's been a fun group to work with."
- Record: 11-2
- Seed: No. 6
- Mascot: Rebels
- How they got here: The Rebels beat Jeffco rival Ralston Valley in a snowy semifinal.
- Rushing offense: 3,557 yards and 51 touchdowns. Both figures lead 5A.
- Passing offense: 1,019 yards and 16 touchdowns.
- Scoring: They are averaging 39.5 points per game.
- Defense: The defense has forced 16 turnovers, including nine interceptions. They are allowing 14.08 points per game. They have 51 sacks, which is second among all 5A teams.
- Special teams: Adam Tasei, a junior, is 57-of-66 on PATs, and 5-of-7 on field goals, with a long of 37.
- Top players: Senior Tanner Hollens leads the big rushing attack with 1,667 yards and 28 touchdowns. Adam Harrington has 929 yards and 14 touchdowns, and has also returned a kickoff for a score. QB Jadon Holliday has 863 yards and 12 touchdowns passing, and 183 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Hollens is also the team's leading receiver with 282 yards and three touchdowns. Braeden Hogan has 10 total touchdowns, including five receiving. Osirus Smith also has three touchdowns through the air. Sophomore Seth Cromwell leads the team with 88 tackles. Justin Lohrenz has 62 tackles, and a team-high 17 sacks. Hogan has 60 tackles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
- Coach Andy Lowry: "Our guys have just been on the cusp of it. We've been in the semifinals four of the last five years, and have come up close. They've earned it, and I think each and every one of them, at the beginning of year, would have said their dream and their mission, their goal, would have been to be there on Saturday."