ARVADA – Propelled by the legs of sophomore running back Gavin Sawchuk, Class 5A No. 3 Valor Christian outlasted No. 8 Pomona 17-13 Friday night in its first game of the season against an in-state opponent.
In a matchup littered with Division I prospects, there were plenty of miscues to go around at JeffCo’s NAAC Stadium, including four second-half turnovers.
And it was Sawchuk’s two touchdowns and 100-plus yards rushing that were the difference.
“He did great,” Valor head coach Ed McCaffrey said of Sawchuk. “The big guys up front opened the holes and he did the rest.”
The Panthers (1-2) took an early 7-0 lead as starting quarterback Brady Ritzman connected with Valor transfer Chase Lopez on a 5-yard touchdown pass.
Valor (2-1) answered on the ensuing possession as Sawchuk scored the first of his two first-half touchdowns, catching a swing pass and rumbling 25 yards to draw the game even at 7-7.
Shortly after the start of the second quarter, Valor took its first lead of the game. Sawchuk broke into the Pomona secondary on an outside run, streaking past defenders for a 67-yard rushing TD that put the Eagles in front, 14-7, as he passed 100 yards before halftime.
With six seconds left in the second quarter, Valor kicker Brian Brogan hit a 37-yard field goal to give the Eagles a 17-7 lead at the break.
In contrast to the offense-laden first half, the second half was marred with turnovers from both sides. Both offenses stalled in the third quarter as Sawchuk fumbled and Pomona gave the ball back on the next drive following a fumble by Panthers running back Dominic Orona.