Brad Roberts carries Ralston Valley’s offense, defense pitches shutout against Cherokee Trail – The Denver Post

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.

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