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No. 1 Cherry Creek rallies past No. 3 Arapahoe for gutsy victory

No. 1 ranked Cherry Creek, the four-time defending state champions, came face-to-face with an exponential gut-check Friday night.

They survived — and then some.

The Bruins rallied from a 14-7 halftime deficit to beat No. 3 Arapahoe, 24-14, at an electrified Stutler Bowl. Don’t be surprised if these two rivals meet up in the state title game.

“Arapahoe is a very, very good team,” Cherry Creek coach Dave Logan said. “I told our team going in that this was going to be the best team we have faced this year. We challenged our guys and told them that not everything was going to be as smooth in this game.

“(Arapahoe) has weapons, for sure, and they are going to go deep into the playoffs.”

In a game full of big plays and thunderous hits, the biggest moment belonged to Bruins senior running back Jordan Herron, who rushed for 192 yards on 28 carries.

Midway through the fourth quarter, he danced to the outside and raced 55 yards to the Arapahoe 8-yard line. On third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, sophomore quarterback Brady Vodicka pushed his way over the goal line to give Creek the lead.

“I just got outside and turned it on,” Herron said. “I was looking for the end zone.”

Herron then used his arm to set up the game-clinching score. Herron took a wide toss from Vodicka and delivered a long pass to Maxwell Lovett, setting up his own 1-yard run.

“That’s a great team over there and they gave us everything we could handle,” Herron said. “We needed this. We needed to be pushed. It was a great game, and we were home, so our crowd was so great. They were into it.”

Cherry Creek (9-0) took a quick 7-0 lead with an early, punch-in-the-mouth drive. After the Bruins’ defense smothered Arapahoe’s first drive, the Bruins’ offense ground out a 12-play, 6-minute, 7-second drive. A perfect 18-yard pass from Vodicka found sophomore tight end Ty Goettsche in the corner of the end zone.

Herron, darting into holes behind Creek’s highly touted offensive line, rushed for 43 yards on the drive.

Creek entered the game with four shutouts this season, including three straight. But if the Bruins expected the Warriors to fold, they were mistaken.

Making big plays on both sides of the ball, Arapahoe (7-2) scored 14 unanswered points to take a 14-7 lead into halftime.

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