Video: Kiahn Martinez highlightsWatch the Regis Jesuit running back in action against previously top-ranked Cherry Creek.
The 2017 football season is only two weeks old, but that doesn't mean that plenty hasn't already happened – and there is much more in store in the weeks ahead.
While some programs with high expectations may have stumbled somewhat out of the gate – Mullen (Denver)
and Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village)
are a combined 0-3 in Class 5A, albeit against great competition – some others have hit their stride early.
Take Columbine (Littleton)
and Highlands Ranch
, which are a combined 4-0. The Rebels, despite graduating all-state quarterback Mikey Griebel, opened with strong showings against Ralston Valley (Arvada)
and Rocky Mountain (Fort Collins)
. Highlands Ranch overcame a coaching change right before the season began and rode junior Tony Bettini
(361 yards, four touchdowns) to consecutive victories.
One defending state champion has already tasted defeat. Pueblo East
fell to Longmont
in its opener, and the three-time defending 3A state champs have a tough Week 2 matchup against 4A No. 10 Pueblo West
Points have been put up on the scoreboard with a fury in the early going. Doherty (Colorado Springs)
defeated Rangeview (Aurora)
83-55 last Friday, with senior Julian Cooks
rushing for 303 yards and five touchdowns and quarterback Logan Siffert
tossing four scores. One week earlier, Aspen
topped Middle Park (Granby)
80-50 behind six touchdowns from running back RJ Peshek
So, what does the rest of September have in store for the state? How about great football across all seven classifications, from rematches of 2016 championship games to battles between top-two teams.
Here is a look at 10 games to watch this month headed into play this weekend:Class 5A
• Friday, Sept. 22: Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch) (2-0) at Pomona (Arvada) (1-0), 7 p.m., NAAC
One of a handful of big non-league matchups on this night features a rematch of the previous two 5A title games. The Eagles won on both of those occasions, though the Panthers did top Valor during the 2016 regular season.
Top-ranked Valor Christian opened this season with impressive victories against Faith Lutheran (Las Vegas, Nev.)
and Mullen. Juniors Luke McCaffrey
and Joshia Davis
have combined for seven rushing scores. No. 2 Pomona handled Mullen 52-22 in its opener behind four rushing scores from Theorius Robison
.• Friday, Sept. 22: Regis Jesuit (Aurora) (1-0) at Highlands Ranch (2-0), 7 p.m., Shea Stadium
Regis Jesuit jumped to the third spot in the CHSAANow.com rankings after taking down Cherry Creek in the opener for both teams. The Raiders forced three turnovers and Kiahn Martinez
rushing for a pair of scores.
Eighth-ranked Highlands Ranch put up 53 points on Smoky Hill (Aurora)
in its opener before handling Cherokee Trail (Aurora)
36-15 last Friday. The Falcons have done it with freshman Jake Rubley
at quarterback, though the play of Bettini has driven the offense.Class 5A/4A
• Friday, Sept. 22: Chatfield (Littleton) (0-1) at Columbine (2-0), 7:30 p.m., Jeffco Stadium
A heated cross-classification matchup between two Jeffco rivals should have Jeffco Stadium rocking. 5A's No. 3 Columbine is off to the afore-mentioned strong start, with coach Andy Lowry's offense averaging 233 yards on the ground through two games. Junior Logan Dearment
has taken over at QB and has three touchdown passes to his credit.
No. 5 Chatfield, which made it to the 4A semifinals a year ago, opened its season in Bradenton, Fla., with a 49-32 loss to Braden River. The Chargers make their in-state debut Friday at Palmer (Colorado Springs)
• Friday, Sept. 8: Pine Creek (Colorado Springs) (1-0) at Windsor (1-0), 7 p.m.
A case could be made that this is the game of the week, as the previous two 4A state champions clash up north in an early-season battle. Top-ranked Pine Creek toppled 5A ThunderRidge (Highlands Ranch)
in its opener, with sophomore running back David Moore III
rushing for 155 yards and two touchdowns. No. 3 Windsor shut down Vista Ridge (Colorado Springs)
14-3. The Wizards have a road game at No. 7 Broomfield
– the 2016 runner-up – on Sept. 15.• Friday, Sept. 15: Pueblo South (2-0) at Pueblo West (1-0), 7 p.m., Cyclone Stadium
Cyclone Stadium will be on fire for this all-Pueblo contest between fourth-ranked South and No. 10 West in nine days.
The Colts have dominated on both sides of the ball in their first two games, outscoring Wheat Ridge
and Pueblo Centennial
a combined 77-0. Senior Zach Cozzolino
has seven touchdown passes already, and Steve Brock
is averaging 185 yards on the ground. West downed another Pueblo opponent in its opener, defeating Pueblo County
• Thursday, Sept. 14: Discovery Canyon (Colorado Springs) (0-1) at Pueblo East (0-1), 7 p.m., Dutch Clark Stadium
Speaking of East, the fifth-ranked Eagles have a challenging month ahead of them. After falling to new No. 1 Longmont in the opener, Pueblo East has three more ranked opponents on tap.
The mid-month matchup with No. 8 Discovery Canyon is a rematch of the 2016 title game. The two teams have plenty of history, with the Thunder faring well in the regular season and the Eagles getting the edge in the postseason. Discovery Canyon dropped its opener to 4A No. 8 Fruita Monument
on the road, struggling against Fruita's rushing attack.• Thursday, Sept. 28: Holy Family (Broomfield) (2-0) at Longmont (1-0), 6:30 p.m.
Another top-two showdown (at least as of the most recent rankings) pits No. 2 Holy Family against No. 1 Longmont. The Trojans rushed for 208 yards in their victory over Pueblo East and intercepted three passes in the victory. Longmont also faces No. 3 Mead (Longmont)
the week before drawing the Tigers.
Holy Family's offense is already in mid-season form. First the Tigers rallied from an early deficit to knock off Mountain View (Loveland)
33-27, and then traveled to the Western Slope and scored 56 points in a victory over Palisade
. Junior Stone Samaras
has tossed seven touchdown passes in the two victories, six of which have gone to Kyle Helbig
.• Friday, Sept. 29: Mead (1-0) at Fort Morgan (1-0), 7 p.m.
Another top-10 matchup closes out the month in the 3A ranks, with third-ranked Mead visiting No. 6 Fort Morgan. Fort Morgan blanked Brush
22-0 in its opener, getting a big lift from its return game in the shutout. Mead, a 2016 semifinalist, rolled past Lewis-Palmer 41-14. The Mavericks rushed for 507 yards and had three players top 100 yards – Derek Edwards
led the way with 203 yards and two touchdowns.Class 2A
• Saturday, Sept. 23: La Junta (1-0) at Kent Denver (Englewood) (2-0), 1 p.m.
A third title-game rematch comes later in the month as defending champion and No. 3 La Junta visits No. 1 Kent Denver. The Sun Devils are crushing it early, outscoring their first two opponents a combined 100-0 headed into Friday's game against No. 7 Faith Christian (Arvada)
. Junior Joey Licht
has four touchdown passes and Charles Mckissick
has rushed for five scores. The defense has 10 sacks in two games.
La Junta blanked Gunnison
42-0 in the opener, with quarterback Jon Nuschy
and running back Wyatt Buhr
combining for 217 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Class 1A
• Friday, Sept. 8: Bennett (1-0) at Strasburg (1-0), 7 p.m.
Another contender for game of the week, this 2016 1A semifinal rematch is another No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. Top-ranked and defending state champion Strasburg, which edged No. 2 Bennett 34-24 in the 2016 playoffs, kicked off its season with a 24-6 victory over Burlington
. Hunter Bergstrom
rushed for three touchdowns and the Indians forced three turnovers.
Bennett blitzed Cornerstone Christian (Westminster)
58-7 thanks to a 512-yard, eight-touchdown effort on the ground. Jesse Rodriquez
and Rocky Lechman
combined for five of those scores.
• Saturday, Sept. 23: Hoehne (1-0) at Dayspring Christian (Greeley) (1-0), 1 p.m.
While there is an 8-Man title-game rematch at the end of the month between top-ranked Sedgwick County (Julesburg)
and No. 9 Akron
, it's the battle between No. 2 Hoehne and No. 3 Dayspring Christian that stands out.
Dayspring Christian opened its season with a resounding 44-6 victory over 2016 runner-up Akron. Freshman quarterback Christian Still
tossed a pair of touchdowns and senior Jimmy Fargo
rushed for two scores. Hoehne edged another fellow semifinalist in Sargent (Monte Vista)
30-27. Junior Trystan Moltrer
rushed for 206 yards and two touchdowns and Kyle Rowe
had three sacks.6-man
• Saturday, Sept. 23: Kit Carson (1-0) at Cheyenne Wells (1-0), 2 p.m.
No. 1 Cheyenne Wells draws a big test later in the month with No. 4 Kit Carson paying a visit.
Cheyenne Wells sophomore quarterback Quade Pelton
made a big impression last Friday with 206 yards passing and five touchdowns in the victory over Flagler
, while the Tigers' defense also returned a fumble and interception for scores. Kit Carson held off Idalia
32-26. The Wildcats were the No. 1 overall seed last fall in the playoffs before getting bounced in a 56-50 quarterfinal-thriller against the same Cheyenne Wells squad.