Defense, Hawkins guide Eagles into quarters
AURORA - Regis Jesuit’s defense did an admirable job of slowing down the high-powered Valor Christian offense.
In their Class 5A state football second round game Nov. 11, the No. 20 Raiders didn’t allow the No. 5 Eagles any plays over 40 yards.
Valor Christian, after being held without a point in the first quarter, made the necessary adjustments and went on to defeat Regis Jesuit 44-3 at Lou Kellogg Stadium.
With the win, Valor Christian (9-2) advanced to the 5A quarterfinals, where they play host to No. 4 Arapahoe (10-1) at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at Valor Christian Stadium.
“I don’t know why, we really struggled in the red zone early and we had an early turnover,” said Valor Christian coach, Brent Vieselmeyer, whose team won its ninth-straight game. “Regis played a good game defensively, but I thought our guys on defense were good, too.”
To wit, the Eagles had three interceptions (one each by Justin Falls, Nick Rigali and Levi Waddell) and linebacker Carlos Aviles recovered a fumble.
The turnovers on defense eventually led to points by the Valor Christian offense.
Running backs Daryl Hawkins and Christian McCaffrey did most of the heavy lifting, in particular the senior Hawkins, who finished with 97 yards on just nine carries, caught three passes and scored a pair of touchdowns.
“I thought Daryl was unbelievable, he really was,” Vieselmeyer said. “Any time you have a back like Christian, he’s going to get keyed on. (Regis Jesuit) was going to stop him and they did as much as they could, but he still got loose here and there, but I think Daryl really picked up the slack.
“That’s what is nice when you have a couple of guys that can do it and a strong offensive line.”
Quarterback Luke Del Rio was a steadying presence in the huddle, and delivered his second-straight quality start in the playoffs. Del Rio threw for 144 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions.
“Luke had a couple of incredible scrambles and we just missed a couple of big plays,” Vieselmeyer said. “He’s really got command of the offense and knows where he wants to go with the football on every play, and is able to make a play if something breaks down.”
Regis Jesuit, which ends its 2012 season with a 5-6 record, put its lone points up on the board on the final play of the first half with a field goal.