may not be on the Platte Valley (Kersey)
sideline, but he remains very much a part of the Broncos' emotional postseason run.
After suffering a horrific head injury on Oct. 12 against Eaton, the Platte Valley junior remains hospitalized at Children's Hospital, though Broncos football coach Troy Hoffman reports that Johnson is showing encouraging signs of improvement.
Platte Valley almost lost more than just a game that night at Eaton. Finding inspiration from their fallen friend, the Broncos have not lost a game since. It's a streak Platte Valley hopes it can continue for just one more game when the Broncos visit top-seeded Kent Denver (Englewood)
in the Class 2A state championship game Saturday.
"Although Trey can't be with us, he's there," Hoffman said. "It has been a unique year for us with a member of your team going through something like that. I don't know if it's the only thing keeping our guys going, but even if it is, that's OK."
A two-way starter for the Broncos, Johnson collapsed as the team returned to the field after halftime, having suffered a head injury during a first-half performance that saw Johnson make four receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Understandably, the incident stunned Platte Valley, as Eaton promptly outscored the Broncos 14-0 in the third quarter to eventually defeat Platte Valley 49-30.
Yet, Platte Valley quickly regrouped, dedicating their efforts to Johnson. They have reeled off five consecutive wins since the loss at Eaton and even exacted revenge on the Reds with a 23-21 win in the second round of the state playoffs.
The only other loss suffered this season by the seventh-seeded Broncos was in the season opener against Kent Denver. Platte Valley lost 46-14 while surrendering 140 yards and three touchdowns to Sun Devils running back Jaden Franklin
Platte Valley has made seven consecutive appearances in the state tournament, a run which began with a runner-up finish in 2006, followed by a state title in '07. This will be the Broncos' first title-game appearance since, and slowing Franklin will be the key to Platte Valley's chances of completing this journey for Johnson with a state championship.
"You really don't stop Jaden," said Hoffman, whose club has surrendered just 34 points during the playoffs. "We're going to do our best to try not to let him have the ball. It's the old adage that if our team is holding the ball, he's not running it. If we rally to the ball hopefully we can contain him, but they possess other weapons as well."
Kent Denver is after its third football title, but first since 1991.MaxPreps Colorado state football bracketsIn the Class 1A state final,
top-seeded Buena Vista
will look to cap an undefeated season with a state championship against No. 3 seed Cedaredge
. Buena Vista senior running back Dakoda DeFurio
is ranked fifth in 1A with 1,326 rushing yards while scoring 23 touchdowns.
Cedaredge quarterback Dante Markley
leads a balanced attack for the Bruins. Markley, a senior, has thrown for 1,278 yards and 16 touchdowns while adding another 563 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.
A win would give Cedaredge its first state football crown, while Buena Vista would win its second (1999).The 8-Man state championship
game features another intriguing matchup as upstart Granada
, the tournament's 16th seed, will look to cap its storybook postseason run with a victory against No. 2 seed Hoehne
Granada coach Manuel Gonzales is seeking his fourth state title in his 40th season, and the game should be a battle of contrasting styles.
Granada has surrendered only 34 points in its past two games. Hoehne, paced by quarterback Sawyer Schafer
, has averaged 51.7 points this season, including a 63.3 average in the Farmers' three playoff wins. Schafer has thrown just one interception in 156 attempts while compiling 1,792 yards and 25 touchdown passes.
"I think our offense has a variety of ways we can go about it," Hoehne coach Bob Schafer said. "It's kind of a pick-your-poison thing. We have two good running backs in Vince Valdez
and Wyatt Schrepfer
"We have a threat on the outside in (receiver) Derrick Cordova
. And Sawyer has been around the game forever. That's the fun part of having your kid on the team like this. He can make calls and change things whenever he sees it."
Granada is playing for its fourth state title and last won the 8-Man division in 2006. Hoehne is in position to win its second title in three years and third overall.