The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

Varsity Football Smokes Ralston Valley 35-9 in Season Opener: See Moments Here

Quinn Rudnick
Ralston Valley players attempt to block an extra point by Creek senior kicker Thomas Goeglein (#49), who increased the score to 28-9 after a touchdown by sophomore wide receiver Max Lovett (#6) at minute 5:12 in the third quarter. Creek Varsity Football beat Ralston Valley 35-9 in their season opener on Friday night.

Creek’s Varsity football team beat Ralston Valley 35-9 on Friday night, scoring four touchdowns, two of which were in rapid-fire succession, and keeping the Ralston Valley offense out of the end zone for the majority of the evening.

“The game was pretty unique,” senior wide receiver and running back Jordan Herron (#2) said over text interview. “People had butterflies before the game and were excited, the student section was in-tune with the game, so overall it was a fun [and] exciting game.”

Even with a strong advantage over Ralston Valley in size and skill, Creek faced injuries and stalemates throughout.

During Creek’s opening offensive drive, senior offensive lineman AJ Burton (#78) dislocated his left shoulder. Shortly after, senior middle linebacker and nose guard Angelo Petrides (#8) dislocated his right shoulder.

“Obviously it sucked but I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of my situation,” Burton said over text interview. “I also am not too stressed because the first time I dislocated my shoulder it was a nightmare, so this time it went back in with ease, and I expect to be back soon.”

Creek opened the game with a quick touchdown in minute 6:59 of the first quarter by Herron, bringing the score to 7-0. Ralston Valley responded with a 27-yard field goal and a touchdown shortly afterwards, turning the tide of the game in their favor at 7-9.

“[The touchdown] felt great. I was happy to see my teammates happy that I scored the first touchdown.” Herron said. “It feels good when others support and congratulate you, and that’s why I love Cherry Creek football.”

Creek re-captured the lead in the second quarter after a touchdown by sophomore wide receiver Max Lovett (#6) with 10:34 left on the clock. With the score at 14-9, the teams fell into a standstill as they settled into defensive positions. 

“I feel like some of the best moments were when we had some difficult times,” sophomore quarterback Brady Vodicka (#13) said. “But we kept fighting and coming together with words of wisdom, to know that we had to keep pushing in order to get the outcome we wanted.”

After halftime, Creek increased its lead to 28-9 after Lovett scored a one-yard touchdown during the third quarter with 5:12 on the clock. Lovett’s touchdowns were celebrated throughout the team as they recognized the talent they’d picked up from Pomona this season.

“[Some of the best moments of the game was] Max Lovett’s two touchdowns, especially since he’s new to Creek,” Burton said. “I’m glad he got his roses, especially with how hard he’s worked this off-season.”

The game-winning touchdown came in the fourth quarter with 6:59 left after Vodicka pushed a three-yard run into the endzone to bring the score to 35-9.

“The touchdown felt amazing, knowing the fact that if we scored, the game would be over,” Vodicka said. “My teammates and I knew not to take a step off the pedal until the final whistle blew. So after the touchdown, it was a very relaxing moment to know that we won our first game of the season.” 

The game demonstrated this season’s outpouring of talent, ranging from Lovett, who transferred to Creek from Pomona this season, to junior offensive linebacker Soren Shinofield (#68), who played well in Burton’s place. Adaptation became Creek’s key to this game after losing important players, but the team continued to fare well with players like senior guard and tackle Hayden Treter (#79) continually pushing for new ground.

“I feel really good about the overall game because it showed a big stepping point we had,” Vodicka said. “It was nice knowing that we have great potential again this year, and shows the amount of talent and hard working teammates we have on this team.”

Over the course of the season, Creek aims to pursue a fifth consecutive Colorado State Championship title, the fourth of which they secured last season over Valor last December. The title would be their 14th of all time, as well as the only 5-peat in Colorado highschool football history.

“Our team goals are almost the same every single year, and that’s to go as far as we can,” Vodicka said. “We want the best for each and everyone of our teammates. And we all want to put in all of the work, because we all have something big we want to accomplish that no team has ever done before.”

See moments from the game below.

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  • Senior safety Eliseo Martinez (#1) celebrates after a successful play in the first quarter. Creek and Ralston valley were tied at 0-0.

  • Ralston Valley junior wide receiver and defensive back Liam Beattie (#0) looks towards Creek’s offensive line during the first quarter.

  • Senior wide receiver and running back Jordan Herron (#2) runs a play towards Creek’s endzone during the first quarter. Herron was tackled by the Ralston Valley defense just over the 25 yard line shortly afterwards, and the score remained at 0-0.

  • Senior offensive lineman AJ Burton (#78) is shuttled off the field by Athletic Trainer Josh Yamaguchi after suffering from a dislocated left shoulder. “Moving forward my biggest goal right now is to recover my shoulder and work to get back on the field while also being a leader on that team,” Burton said over text interview.

  • Creek’s student section boos the Ralston Valley side after they scored a field goal and touchdown in the first quarter, bringing the score to 9-7 in Ralston Valley’s favor. Creek blocked Ralston Valley’s attempt at an extra point.

  • Sophomore wide receiver Jadyn Irving (#17) reaches for the ball, protected by Creek’s fortified offensive line.

  • Senior safety Macoy Smith (#38) watches a play during the first quarter. Going into the game, players were excited to showcase their talent and begin the season. “Going into it we were all just excited to hit someone other than our teammates and just to show what fans should expect from us as a team,” senior offensive lineman AJ Burton (#78) said.

  • A Ralston Valley player stares down Creek’s defensive team. The group kept the opposition to 9 points, and propelled the offense towards victory. “I just feel like without the defense there’s no offense, and I’m proud of what the defense did last night. It was a great team win,” senior wide receiver and running back Jordan Herron (#2) said.

  • Creek sophomore offensive lineman Cayden Lee (#75, left) tackles Ralston Valley senior middle linebacker Kit Leblanc (#27) alongside Creek senior tackle Evan Godin (#70, right) during the first quarter.

  • Creek students donned blue gear this Friday, forming a sea of navy that matched the rain’s dramatic tone.

  • Creek senior wide receiver Tyson Mauck (#18) defends Ralston Valley senior wide receiver and defensive back Jack Wagner (#15) during the first quarter. During the game, Creek players missed cues or lined up in the wrong order, but most viewed it as first-game jitters and a need for clearer communication. “We can work more on communication,” senior wide receiver and running back Jordan Herron (#2) said. “Sometimes guys get lined up in the wrong spot but that’s the game of football; you’re always gonna mess up and be confused sometimes, and I feel like communication can help us in the long road.”

  • Senior safety Arnez Martinez (#26, right) stares off into Creek’s Student section.

  • Creek Head Coach Dave Logan discusses a play with senior safety Eliseo Martinez (#1) after Creek regained the lead at 14-9 during the second quarter. Both the coaches and players plan to improve over the course of the season, and most agree that change will come in the form of both wins and training. “As far as the team goal, it’s just to keep making improvements every day and just keep stacking up wins,” senior offensive lineman AJ Burton (#78) said. “I know that everyone will be working to continue to put ourselves in the best position come gameday.”

  • Defensive Line Coach Jarvis Moss lectures two Creek players. Creek’s defense played a pivotal role against Ralston Valley, and got a powerful stop, allowing the offense to bounce back from a 7-9 deficit.

  • Creek junior cornerback TreVon Polk (#21, left) celebrates with senior offensive linebacker Luke Owen (#11, right) after successfully blocking a Ralston Valley touchdown near the end of the second quarter.

  • Defensive Coach Jarvis Moss screams passionately on the sideline after a successful play.

  • Creek sophomore quarterback Brady Vodicka (#13) runs a play towards the Creek endzone during the second quarter. Creek secured a first down in minute 3:30. Creek maintained its lead at 14-9.

  • Senior inside linebacker Angelo Petrides (#8) speaks with junior quarterback Aiden Knapcke (#0). Petrides was taken out of the game early along with senior offensive lineman AJ Burton (#78). “Obviously there was some adversity with both Angelo Petrides and myself getting hurt but the team fought through it and played better than I initially expected,” Burton said over text interview.

  • Ralston Valley senior guard and defensive tackle Tyrese Jackson (#58, above) celebrates fellow Ralston Valley senior guard and tackle Peyton Knoebel’s (#52, below) tackle of Creek sophomore quarterback Brady Vodicka (#13, right) during the second quarter.

  • Sophomore wide receiver Max Lovett (#6) rushes past a Ralston Valley player for a touchdown.

  • Creek junior offensive linebacker Ashton Shepardson (#10) points to the Creek line during the third quarter.

  • In order from left to right: Defensive Coordinator Jeff Braun, Safeties coach Michael Luhring, and Defensive Coordinator Jeff Braun celebrate after a particularly incredible play.

  • Creek junior offensive lineman Ned Zilinskas (#58, center) tackles Ralston Valley senior guard and defensive tackle Tyrese Jackson (#58, left) during the third quarter.

  • Junior cornerback Tre Polk (#21) intercepts a Ralston Valley pass, further invigorating Creek’s team and student section. Senior offensive lineman AJ Burton (#78) elaborated on many of the jaw-dropping defensive performances of the night, shouting-out this one specifically. “One of the many defensive stops whether it be Jack Francis’s big sack or the interceptions from Tre Polk and Eli Martinez.”

  • Sophomore quarterback Brady Vodicka (#13) slides through the sideline during one of many runs he took. “The first game is always fun because we get to see our real strengths and weaknesses. I believe we can work on being more comfortable and increase trust in each other,” Vodicka said over text interview.

  • Creek sophomore quarterback Brady Vodicka (#13, above) and Creek senior offensive lineman Max Parrott (#72, below) celebrate Vodicka’s touchdown, which increased Creek’s lead to their final score, 35-9.

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About the Contributors
Quinn Rudnick
Quinn Rudnick, Editor-in-Chief
Hello, my name is Quinn Rudnick, and I am the USJ's Editor-in-Chief. I am a senior at CCHS - and this is my fourth year on staff at the USJ. I hold a strong passion for both journalism and photojournalism, and intend to pursue a career in politics and law. As a journalist, I strive to present information to the student body and beyond in a factual and digestible fashion. The importance of journalism is based in allowing the public to understand what's happening around them, so that is what I strive to do. I write a lot about local and global politics, as well as local theatre and events around the school. You can find me at a lot of Creek sports games, fueling my passion for sports photography and reporting. Outside of the USJ, I follow Formula One racing, the Nuggets and the Avs, and I love being outside, whether that's on hikes, or by snowboarding and mountain biking. 
Alex Gribb
Alex Gribb, Editor-in-Chief
Hi, I’m Alex Gribb. This is my third and final year at the USJ.  As the Editor-in-Chief, I hope to inform the Student Body, while also investigating hard-hitting stories. I love writing in all genres, except for news, and I am really excited to work with such an amazing staff this year. If I'm not working on journalism, which I always am, you can find me reading a good book, baking, or going on late-night coffee runs with my friends. I have amazing music taste, and my top three artists are Beyoncé, Laufey, and Weston Estate.

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