MaxWire National Blog

Covering High School Sports in America

Category: Colorado

  • Photo by William Pine

    The New York State Public High School Athletic Association sanctions co-ed cheerleading championships. Texas is likely to be the newest state to do so.

    The debate about whether cheerleading "is a sport" doesn't have an end any time soon. But those who feel it is have a lot more ammunition behind their argument.

    A pair of decisions reached this week are helping move cheerleading into the same discussion as other sports.

    On Monday, the American Medical Association adopted a policy that cheerleading should be considered a sport, citing how it is as rigorous as other sports at the prep and college levels. Then on Wednesday, Texas' University Interscholastic League approved a proposal for a pilot program sanctioning cheerleading for the 2015-16 school year.

    Photo by William Pine

    The AMA has lent its support to cheerleading as well.

    According to a report from CBS News, Dr. Samantha Rosman told the AMA Delegates, "We need to stand up for what is right for our patients and demand that they get the same protection as their football colleagues." She added that cheerleading is the No. 1 cause of catastrophic injury in female athletes at the high school and college levels.

    The story went on to say that the AMA's decision means that the organization supports more safety measures and other sanctioning organizations declaring cheerleading a sport. The American Academy of Pediatrics did the same two years ago.

    A perfect segue into Texas' decision. According to the Houston Chronicle, the UIL will give cheerleading a try for 2015-16, but not 2014-15, as was originally suggested.

    "Our cheerleaders are a big part of all of our school systems. Cheerleaders are athletes now, so giving them the opportunity to perform under the UIL umbrella I think eventually will be a great thing," said Mark Henry, a legislative council member. " It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when."

    The chronicle story reported, citing the National Federation of State High School Associations, that 32 states hold "competitive dance squad" competitions.


  • Earl Boykins was named the new varsity boys basketball coach at Douglas County (Castle Rock, Colo.) over the weekend and will meet with players and parents for the first time Tuesday night.

    Stepping in to a new situation is nothing new for Boykins, who spent 13 seasons in the NBA and played for 10 teams — the Bobcats, Bucks, Cavaliers, Clippers, Magic, Nets, Nuggets, Rockets, Warriors and Wizards. He also spent a year in Italy.

    The Cleveland native is inheriting a Douglas County program that went 3-20 in 2013-14 and lost its last 13 games. Turning the Huskies into a winner doesn't seem all that daunting for Boykins, who overcame the odds to carve out a career at the highest level of professional basketball despite standing just 5-foot-5 and weighing 135 pounds.

    "I'm comfortable with the challenge," Boykins told MaxPreps on Tuesday morning.

    A graduate of Cleveland Central Catholic and Eastern Michigan University (his number has been retired at both), Boykins doesn't have any previous high school coaching experience.

    "I've been coaching seventh- and eighth-graders," Boykins said. "But because I played the point guard position in a lot of ways I feel like I've been coaching basketball since I was 10 years old."

    He also operates the Boykins Basketball Academy, which offers specialized training and sponsors youth teams.

    Semi-retired, Boykins has no plans to serve as a figurehead leader at Douglas County. The Huskies will get his full attention and his roots are firmly planted.

    The floor general has been in the Denver area since his run with the Nuggets from 2003-07.

    "The weather is great here and the people really make it special," Boykins said.


  • Major drama Friday night in Colorado as rivals Mountain Vista (Highlands Ranch) and Highlands Ranch met with a share of the Continental League title on the line.

    As shown in the video above, Highlands Ranch is on the verge of foiling the home team's plans to win an outright league title with a late score in overtime.

    But junior guard Brady Subart makes a heads-up play and finds senior Jake Pemberton streaking down the floor for a bucket that barely beats the buzzer. Pemberton finished with 27 points and six assists.

    Best part about the video? Has to be the storming of the court (keep it safe, kids).

    Mountain Vista and Highlands Ranch are both slated to begin Class 5A state tournament play Saturday.
  • Most high school football stars would not turn down an offer to play in college at the highest level.
    Photo by Ray Chen

    Luke Del Rio at Valor Christian, CO


    For Luke Del Rio, son of Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, that was not the case.

    After starring at Episcopal (Jacksonville, Fla.) as a junior he moved out west to attend Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) for his senior campaign and wasted no time getting acclimated, leading his team to a state title in 2013.

    Following a state title and a very successful high school career, Luke fielded offers from Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Colorado State and UCLA, none of which he accepted. Instead, he took his talents to the south and walked on at the University of Alabama.

    Luke spent just one season under Nick Saban as a redshirt freshman, and has decided the Crimson Tide is not his final landing spot.According to CBSsports.com, reports have hinted at Luke heading back to the west coast, and possibly settling in Corvallis, Oregon under Coach Mike Riley and Beaver Nation.

    Check out a full recap of Luke's career here.
  • Photo by Jann Hendry

    Fresh off an appearance in the MaxPreps Holiday Classic, Justin Coleman of Wenonah (Birmingham, Ala.) earned a spot on the McDonald's All-American Games nominees list Tuesday.

    Nominees for the McDonald's All-American Games were released Tuesday, highlighting nearly 1,000 boys and girls with a chance to play in the storied event scheduled this year for April 2 in Chicago.

    The list includes nearly 1,000 basketball players from across the United States. Each is nominated by high school coaches, athletic directors, principals or members of the McDonald's All-American Games selection committee.

    Final selections (24 boys, 24 girls) will be announced Jan. 29 during an ESPNU special. Click here (PDF format) for the complete list of nominees.
  • File photo by Paul DiSalvo

    Austin Conway and Overland (Aurora, Colo.) will be a team to watch over the next two years. The Trailblazers knocked off defending national champ Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) Thursday at the Great Western Shootout.

    Defending Xcellent 25 national champion Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) suffered its first loss in nearly a full calendar year Thursday night at the Great Western Shootout.

    Overland (Aurora, Colo.) outplayed Lone Peak to win 70-63 in the opening round matchup, ending the Utah team's 17-game overall win streak. The Knights won their sixth state title in the past nine years last winter and were crowned national champs (Montverde Academy was also recognized as a national champion among independent/academy programs – a split approach which has since been scrapped).

    Lone Peak's last loss came Dec. 22, 2012 against Montverde Academy in the final of the City of Palms Classic in Florida.

    Thursday in Orem, Lone Peak was finally overtaken again. Overland's young and talented trio of Jervae Robinson, De'Ron Davis and Austin Conway led the way in what could be a sign of things to come for the Denver-area program.

    According to the Shootout's official Twitter account (@GWShootOut), Robinson – a 5-foot-9 sophomore guard – led the Trailblazers with 24 points. Despite foul trouble, 6-9 sophomore De'Ron Davis added 16.

    Conway was also a major contributor. The 5-10 junior guard is coming off a football season where he threw for over 1,800 yards and 19 touchdowns while running for nearly 1,200 and 12 more scores.

    That wasn't the only shocker in Orem on Thursday as Bingham (South Jordan, Utah) stunned defending WCAC champ Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.) 64-58.


  • Eric Hernandez dreamed of playing football and scoring a touchdown.

    Gateway (Aurora, Colo.) head coach Ashour Peera wanted to help Hernandez fulfill his dream, but he would have to work for it.

    "I wanted to help bring his dream to fruition, but I told him he couldn't play if he didn't practice with us," Peera told MaxPreps.

    So Hernandez, who has cerebral palsy, practiced with Gateway all week leading up to the team's game against Adams City.

    According to Peera, both schools' athletic directors discussed allowing Hernandez to score before the game.

    The plan initially was to give Hernandez a shot before halftime, but as the game went on they decided to leave it for the end of the game.

    So late in the fourth quarter, Hernandez took the hand off and, with the help of his teammates, crossed the goal line.

    His celebration following the score, in which he ran in joy, was a powerful moment.

    "At the end of the play, when he took off running, that just brought tears to everyone's eyes," Peera said.


  • The odds of a high school football player returning three interceptions for touchdowns in the same quarter are quite low. Having the national record total reached twice in a span of two weeks?

    Well, that's just insane.

    Courtesy photo
    It happened again, and we have proof.

    Dominick Castiglione of Horizon (Thornton, Colo.) accomplished the feat Saturday in a 36-7 win over Fossil Ridge. He ripped off three interceptions in the second quarter and took them 75, 43 and 35 yards for touchdowns, according to the Denver Post.

    Amazingly, the same thing happened two weeks earlier in Oklahoma, as Brock Harmon of Washington (Okla.) did the same in the first quarter, going 31, 42 and 32 yards.

    Harmon set the national record with his performance, and now Castiglione is the co-owner. But Castiglione may have some bragging rights, as his three pick 6's came in a span of four plays, or 1 minute and 17 seconds.
  • Buena Vista (Colo.) will hold a candlelight vigil at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to honor assistant football coach Dwayne Johnson and his wife, track and field coach Dawna Johnson, two of the five victims killed in a rock slide that occurred Monday.

    According to the Associated Press, Dawna, 45, and her husband Dwayne, 46, perished along with three family members. The lone survivor, 13-year-old Gracie Johnson, the daughter of Dawna and Dwayne, was dug out by rescuers, airlifted to a Denver hospital and suffered a broken leg.

    According to the Denver Post, Dwayne Johnson was a $1-a-year football coach at Buena Vista High School who worked as an electrician and landscaper around town.

    The family was on a hike at a popular trail in south-central Colorado on Monday when the slide occurred and sent 100-ton boulders tumbling over Agnes Vaille falls in Chalk Creek Canyon.

    The bodies were not recovered until Tuesday. The other victims were Kiowa Rain Johnson, 18, the older sister of Gracie, Paris Walkup, 22, and Baigen Walkup, 10. The Walkups were nephews of Dwayne and Dawna Johnson.

    Initial reports indicate that Dwayne Johnson saved his daughter's life.

    "She told me at the last second when the boulders were coming down on top of them that he covered her up and protected her which I believe it saved her life," Sheriff's Deputy Nick Tolsma told CBS News.

    Sally Jo Douglass, whose daughter attends and runs track at Florence, a neighboring school that competes with Buena Vista, described Dawna Johnson as "kind, compassionate, intelligent and supportive."

    More information from Buena Vista is forthcoming.


  • It didn't take long.

    Earlier this week, the River Bluff (Lexington, S.C.) Gators unleashed, with the help of iSite Media, their official opening video for the 2013 season and then challenged anyone to top it.

    Well, River Bluff didn't make the challenge. A loyal Gator fan did and we just piled on.

    We asked readers to tweet their responses to @MaxPreps with the tag, #Topthisentrance and two-time defending Colorado state champion Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) came in first today with its catchy, inspiration piece to the tune of Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive."

    A somersault by an obviously athletic Valor Christian athlete — Justin Falls — kicks everything off.

    Keep them coming.

    To refresh you memory, here is River Bluff's offering: