In a game highlighting two of the best defenses in Colorado, Grandview jumped out to a 14-0 halftime lead over a #1 ranked, but lethargic Cherry Creek. The game continued down the same path in the second half with Grandview scoring two more times to go up 28-0. Late in the game Cherry Creek returned a blocked kick and an onside kick as well as getting a late TD run to make the final a respectable 28-20.
Here is a look at the talent that was on the field.
For Grandview, as is always the case, undersized linebacker Deandre Shorts stood out. The whirlwind plays with abandon, but always fundamentally sound, allowing him to finish tackles. Grandview likes to shoot Shorts through the A gap primarily because he always makes plays. Shorts, who will play safety in college, is reminiscent of players such as Bob Sanders, in that he is very comfortable blitzing and playing near the line of scrimmage. I want to see him cover, but bottom line this young man can play at the college level.
This is the first time I have seen Grandview junior running back Hayden Blubaugh, I like that he is a one cut back. Further, he shows good quickness and speed. Blubaugh managed multiple big runs against a Creek defense that is filled with speed and college talent. Blubaugh is willing and able to physically finish runs running behind his pads.
The Grandview offensive line handled what is, across the board, the best defensive line in the state, keeping the Creek front four in check. Blubaugh, a rising star in the state, had holes and seams most of the night. The interior of the O-line, working in harmony did an especially good job on Creek senior DT David Imola.
Despite the poor effort, Cherry Creek is too talented to go away and Dave Logan is too savvy not to have his team grow from this. Last season a Creek loss to Grandview became a catalyst for the Bruins to make their title run. At the end of the game, too little, too late, Joe Caplis and Ammon Johnson started to connect. Caplis has a very good arm and the ability to run when necessary. Johnson, a 6-3 matchup nightmare, should see more passes his way the remainder of the season.
Also, big Dante Sparaco showed his ability to block on the offensive line, which at 265 pounds, should be a given. This along with his athleticism continue to make Sparaco a very intriguing prospect.
Junior Cherry Creek linebacker Jack Pezdirtz, playing for injured Steven O’ Malley, look very good. He showed good instincts, got downhill and made tackles in a tough situation.