AURORA | Sophomore Cameron Smith scored three touchdowns in a big third quarter that lifted third-seeded Cherokee Trail into the second round of the Class 5A state football playoffs.
The third-seeded Cougars led No. 30 Mountain Range by just a single point after one half of Friday night’s first round contest at Legacy Stadium, but Smith rushed for two scores and caught quarterback Aric Johnson’s second touchdown pass of the third quarter as Cherokee Trail scored 28 points in the period on its way to a 42-6 victory.
Aurora teams went 2-2 in Friday’s first round games, as Cherokee Trail and No. 9 Grandview — a 40-6 winner over No. 24 Fairview — advanced to the second round of the playoffs, while No. 19 Overland was turned back by No. 14 Mullen 25-20 in a heartbreaker and No. 21 Horizon ran past No. 12 Rangeview 42-27. The Cougars will face Mullen in the second round, while the Wolves are set to face No. 8 Fountain-Fort Carson.
Thomas Thortvedt’s 22-yard interception return for a touchdown opened the scoring in the first quarter for Cherokee Trail (9-1), but Mountain Range got a fumble return of its own for a TD in the second quarter, but a missed extra point helped the Cougars take a 7-6 lead into halftime.
Smith — who finished with 116 yards on just 13 carries — broke off a 63-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, which was quickly followed by Johnson’s 30-yard scoring pass to Brandon Barry. Smith rushed for a 13-yard score and caught an 8-yard TD from Johnson before the end of the quarter.
Up 33-6 going into the final quarter, the Cougars got a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.
(9) GRANDVIEW 40, (24) FAIRVIEW 6
GREENWOOD VILLAGE | Ninth-seeded Grandview led No. 24 Fairview by just a point at halftime, but scored 33 unanswered points after halftime for a 40-6 win at Stutler Bowl.
The Wolves (7-3) had three rushers crack 100 yards — quarterback Reece Weber with 175 and running backs Isaiah Jackson and Cassius Davis with 126 and 118, respectively — on a night where 440 of their 470 yards of total offense came on the ground. Davis rushed for a pair of scores and Jackson and Weber had one each, as did star Tanner Gentry, who caught only two passes, but also had a pair of interceptions.
Grandview — which racked up seven sacks and forced six turnovers — avenged a loss to Fairview in the 2009-10 playoffs and advanced to the second round where it will face No. 8 Fountain-Fort Carson, a 26-3 winner over No. 25 Douglas County.
(14) MULLEN 25, (19) OVERLAND 20
ENGLEWOOD | Upset-minded Overland nearly won its first 5A playoff game in three seasons, holding a one-point lead with 3 minutes, 14 seconds left at de La Salle Stadium, only to see Mullen score on a five-play drive and deny the Trailblazers’ last-minute attempt to score in a 25-20 victory.
Down 19-7 after three quarters, Overland got rushing touchdowns from sophomore quarterback Austin Conway and senior running back Myles Simmons, the latter a 21-yard run that put the Trailblazers ahead by a point before the final drive by the Mustangs (6-4).
After back-to-back 1-win seasons, Overland finished 5-5 in the first season under new coach Seth Replogle.
(21) HORIZON 47, (12) RANGEVIEW 24
AURORA | Rangeview’s six-game winning streak came to an end in the first round of the playoffs, as Horizon exploded late in the first half and into the second for a 47-24 upset victory at Aurora Public Schools Stadium.
The 12th-seeded Raiders got a 56-yard touchdown run by Patrique Hall early in the second quarter to pull within one of the 21st-seeded Hawks (7-3) at 7-6, but Dustin Rivas caught two touchdown passes from Auston Stackhouse — with an interception in between — for a 21-6 halftime edge.
Senior Armon Brown scored the first of his three touchdowns to open the third quarter and pull Rangeview within 21-12, but Stackhouse threw for a score and ran for one, Jordan Iacovetta rushed for one and Rivas brought back an interception for a touchdown as Horizon pulled away and advanced to a second round matchup against No. 5 Arapahoe, which routed No. 28 Heritage.
Brown finished 121 yards rushing and touchdowns of 17, 7 and 9 yards for Rangeview, which finished the season 6-4.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555