A few question marks aside, Buena Vista
football coach Matt Flavin had every reason to believe the Demons would field a formidable squad in 2012.
After making consecutive appearances in the Class 2A state playoffs, Buena Vista was returning a cast rich in the knowledge of how to win games. Moreover, the Demons were dropping from Class 2A to Class 1A, theoretically diminishing somewhat the level of Buena Vista's competition.
Yet among those questions marks was one that would give any coach pause. Flavin did not have any heir apparent for 2011 quarterback Cody Troudt, and in order to fill the void, Flavin turned to former running back Koby Close
Close, quite literally, has taken the job and run with it. A dual-threat under center, Close will be looking to lead the Demons to postseason glory that eluded them in Class 2A when top-seeded Buena Vista opens the 1A state tournament on Friday night against Lyons
"We just asked (Close) to step up and play quarterback," Flavin said. "The thing is, he has way over-exceeded everything from what we expected him to do. Definitely our identity is our running attack. Now the passing game is getting better. We've wanted to be a running team, but you need to pass efficiently to get to that next level. (Close) can do both."
Due to his raw athleticism, moving Close to quarterback seemed like a natural move. But it also meant Flavin was exposing his club to a potential hole in the backfield. Not only had the Demons graduated leading rusher Dakota Johnson, but moving Close to quarterback meant Buena Vista was losing two players at the running back position who accounted for 1,851 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns.
However, Close's running ability has carried over smoothly to the quarterback spot, and he continues to improve as a passer. Close has rushed for 894 yards and 11 touchdowns while contributing another 804 yards and 14 touchdowns through the air. He leads an offense averaging 46.1 points a game, and in the Demons' most recent game, Close's seven completions accounted for 170 yards and five touchdowns.
Add to the mix the emergence of Dakoda DeFurio
(949 rushing yards, 16 TDs) as a workhorse running back and a defense that has recorded five shutouts, and the Demons boast the look of a state title favorite.
"I think we'll have to get movement up front offensively," Flavin said. "We live and die by them and they've been doing a great job all season. It's the same on the defensive side. They've both been doing a great, great job."MaxPreps Colorado state football bracketsIn the Class 2A state tournament,
perennial power Kent Denver (Englewood)
enters the field as the top seed behind a rushing attack powered by sophomore sensation Jaden Franklin
Franklin has produced boggling numbers for the Sun Devils, compiling 1,416 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns while averaging 157.3 yards a game and 11.5 per attempt. Franklin has been held to less than 100 yards only once, and he put together his 104-yard total in Kent Denver's most recent game against Manual on just four carries.
Quarterback Joey Matarazzo
is a capable thrower who has tossed only two interceptions in 77 attempts, and top target Brian Boatman
is one of the best tight ends in 2A.
"I think we're balanced," veteran Kent coach Scott Yates said. "While we have a great back in Jaden, we also have the ability to throw the ball and have a couple of other backs who are good, too. On defense, we've been real solid. We haven't given up a lot of points, and in the playoffs we're going to see more diverse offenses like ours."Dayspring Christian Academy (Greeley) earned the top seed in the Class A 8-Man
state tournament after compiling a 9-0 mark during the regular season. Sophomore quarterback Kylar Mai
has thrown for 964 yards while adding another 1,163 yards on the ground, sparking an offense that has amassed more than 2,500 rushing yards overall. The Eagles' defense has not allowed more than eight points in each of their past four games.Fleming, also 9-0, captured the top seed in the Class A 6-Man playoffs
. The Wildcats' offense has been paced by running back Trevor Chintala
, who has produced 1,740 rushing yards and 32 rushing and receiving touchdowns.