ARVADA — Ralston Valley made quick work of Cherokee Trail with onslaughts of ground and pound and a resounding defensive effort.
Brad Roberts’ continuous brute physicality punished white jerseys in his path and the senior captain was rewarded with three touchdowns as No. 6 Ralston Valley throttled No. 11 Cherokee Trail 52-0 Thursday night in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs at the North Area Athletic Complex.
“We executed well,” Roberts said. “Our defense had great plays, several turnovers — Thomas Harries with a few picks and Ben Schneider with some big hits. Our offense came out ready to go, fast tempo, especially in the third quarter when we started ground-and-pounding.”
Ben Takata and Chase Wilson underscored Roberts’ marquee performance in the Mustangs’ first game of the postseason. The top eight seeds earn first-round byes within the new 24-team bracket.
Takata made marks on both sides of the ball. His rushing touchdown just before halftime put the Mustangs up 24-0 by the break. His interception sparked Ralston Valley’s first scoring drive.
Cherokee Trail had its 6-0 start blemished by losing three of its final four regular-season games to Cherry Creek, Eaglecrest and Grandview — the Nos. 3-5 seeds, respectively, in the Class 5A postseason field. The Cougars earned a date with Ralston Valley by beating Poudre 37-31 in double overtime in the first round. That win bookended Cherokee Trail’s two meetings with Poudre — the first was a 35-0 Cougars victory in mid-September.
As for Friday night, Cherokee Trail took its opening possession to Ralston Valley’s 25-yard line but Takata intercepted sophomore quarterback Jayden LaVigne on a ball forced into triple coverage. LaVigne made his sixth straight start in place of the injured Grant Ciccarone. Takata took LaVigne’s errant laser from the 10-yard line to the Ralston Valley 43. Four plays later, Roberts was in the end zone from 3 yards out for a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. Wilson set the table for that first score with a 30-yard run and capped the opening drive of the second half with a rushing touchdown for a 31-0 advantage.
Roberts’ most barbaric score, his second, came halfway through the second quarter when he carried a trio of Cougars the final few yards to the goal line.
“I knew our guys prepared well but I was not expecting 52-0,” Ralston Valley coach Matt Loyd said. “Defensively we played well, gave us some good field position and the offense took advantage of it.”
Ralston Valley faces the winner of No. 3 Cherry Creek and No. 14 Castle View, which play Friday at 7 p.m. at the Stutler Bowl.
“To be honest I have not seen either one of them (to this point),” Loyd said of his team’s next opponent. “We’ll get a chance to see them, see what they got on film. We’ve played Cherry Creek the past two years so we kind of know where they’re at.”
Cherry Creek ended Ralston Valley’s season the past two times they’ve met.
Note from WSOE.Org : This content has been auto-generated from a syndicated feed.