HIGHLANDS RANCH — Valor Christian proudly carried the flag for Colorado high school football Friday night with a nationally televised beatdown of a traditional Washington powerhouse.
The Eagles showed little mercy in a 41-0 victory over Eastside Catholic (Sammamish) on a live ESPNU broadcast from Valor Stadium. The Eagles (3-0) appear destined for a return to the Class 5A championship game this season after finishing runners-up last year.
“Colorado isn’t a big football state, as they like to say, but we put ourselves on the map,” senior linebacker Jordan Norwood said. “I’m blessed to be out here.”
On Friday night, senior quarterback Colton Allen threw for three touchdowns while the Valor defense wreaked havoc. Eastside had one offensive possession cross midfield. Both teams turned to their backup players midway through the third quarter.
The Crusaders, a perennial Seattle-area Class 3A power, entered the night with high confidence and mutual respect.
“We feel good about how we match up with them,” Eastside senior wide receiver Nico Ursino said before kickoff. “We’re going to play hard and physical.”
Added Eastside senior defensive back Dallas Daley: “I see a (Valor) team that is very disciplined. The way they play kind of matches up with the way we play.”
However, with 3,000-plus fans rocking in attendance at Valor Stadium, there was no confusion over program supremacy. The Eagles soared Friday night.
Valor thrived on big plays in the first half to lead 34-0.
Norwood — a 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior committed to play at Liberty — recovered a fumble and ran 30 yards for a touchdown to open the game.
“I headed out there, the ball came loose, I swept it up and kept going. That’s all she wrote,” Norwood said. “It was awesome to hear everyone screaming.”
Allen later connected with senior wide receiver Cooper Gesquiere on a 42-yard completion that set up a field goal. Eagles’ star running back Gavin Sawchuk (committed to Oklahoma) had been mostly quiet to begin the night. That all changed when he took off on a 76-yard touchdown run on the final play of the first quarter.
Valor piled it on before halftime — converting four different fourth-down plays in a single drive — with a potent no-huddle offense. A gassed Eastside team unaccustomed to playing at 5,800-feet of elevation couldn’t keep up.
“That’s our thought every game,” Allen said. “We want to run tempo, get going, and make them tired.”
Allen showcased pinpoint accuracy on a pair of touchdown throws to senior wide receivers Grant Simmons (27 yards) and Colbey Reynolds (7 yards). Valor closed the first half with a field goal. It was more of the same to open the third quarter. Allen tossed his third touchdown of the night to sophomore wide receiver Jake Krekeler.
Valor dominated from start to finish in a nationally televised statement game.
“We played extremely well,” Valor coach Donnie Yantis said.
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