Video: Plays of the Week / Week 7
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Is there a deeper, more competitive league in Colorado right now than the Class 3A Tri-Valley League?
Consider the six teams in the Tri-Valley are a combined 27-3 heading into conference play this weekend. Three of the teams had undefeated runs through the non-league slate (Mead, Berthoud and Erie), five of the six are ranked in the top seven in the state in the most recent 3A CHSAANow.com football poll, and the sixth team (Frederick) received votes.
All six teams are in the top 15 in the most recent 3A RPI standings as well.
Obviously all of that is about to change as teams prepare to beat up on each other for the next five weeks. But every one of those games should be fun to watch.
Consider this week's slate of games alone:
• No. 3 Erie (5-0) at No. 4 Berthoud (5-0)
• No. 5 Roosevelt (4-1) at No. 1 Mead (5-0)
• Frederick (4-1) at No. 7 Holy Family (4-1)
As the state's three biggest classifications kick off league play this week, the month of October is loaded with Top 10 matchups in every classification. With only five weeks remaining in the regular season for the bigger classes, every game becomes that much more important as teams pursue a postseason berth.
With that in mind, here is a look at 10 games to watch for October:
Fairview (Boulder) (5-0) at Columbine (Littleton) (4-1), 4 p.m., Oct. 6, Jeffco Stadium
The Mt. Cameron opener should be a great one, pitting two historic programs that are off to strong starts yet again. No. 5 Fairview owns one of the state's best aerial attacks, as sophomore Aidan Atkinson
averages 288 passing yards a game. But senior Mariano Kemp
is no slouch in the running game, averaging 6.5 yards an attempt and 125 yards a game. The Knights have allowed a combined 22 points over their past three games.
No. 9 Columbine's ground game is a perennial power, and this fall is no exception. The Rebels average 264 yards rushing a game, and six players have at least one rushing score. Columbine's only setback this season came two weeks ago to 4A No. 2 Chatfield, but the team responded with a 48-28 victory against Denver East last Thursday.Class 4A
Pueblo West (5-0) at Pine Creek (Colorado Springs) (4-1), 7 p.m., Oct. 12, D20 Stadium
The 4A Southern League could very well run through either one of these teams, making the mid-October matchup a big one. No. 6 Pueblo West made a sweep through Pueblo-area teams in its first three games — including a marathon 55-54 victory over No. 9 Pueblo South in two overtimes — before downing Dakota Ridge and Coronado. The Cyclones average 264 yards a game on the ground, paced by senior Devyn Morgan
(555 yards, eight touchdowns).
No. 3 Pine Creek had allowed 14 points through four games before getting nipped by 5A Ralston Valley last weekend. David Moore III
has rushed for 724 yards and nine touchdowns, and the Eagles' defense has been nearly lights out all season.Monarch (Louisville) (5-0) at Windsor (4-1), 7 p.m., Oct. 13
The Northern League is heavy at the top right now with Monarch, Windsor and undefeated Skyline. No. 7 Monarch opens with both teams, drawing Skyline on Thursday before traveling to Windsor on Oct. 13. The Coyotes haven't allowed more than 14 points in a game thus far, and the offense is averaging 225 yards rushing a game. Senior Jack Kapushion
has four interceptions on the season.
Windsor has allowed a touchdown or less in four of its five games. Senior Connor Apodaca
has tossed six touchdown passes and rushed for six more scores, and the team's only blemish came at the hands of defending state champion Pine Creek.Class 3A
Erie (5-0) at Berthoud (5-0), 7 p.m., Oct. 6
The previously mentioned Tri-Valley opens up this weekend with a clash of two undefeated squads. Third-ranked Erie scored its biggest victory of the season last Friday with an 18-10 win over No. 9 Silver Creek. The Tigers average 273 yards rushing a game, with junior Noah Roper
coming in with 984 yards and 15 touchdowns. The defense has 15.5 sacks in five games.
Fourth-ranked Berthoud has allowed more than 10 points once in five games, and junior Ty Beaman has seven of the team's 19 sacks. Offensively, the Spartans are getting the job done through the air — quarterback Brock Voth
has 15 touchdown passes — and on the ground. Holy Family (Broomfield) (4-1) at Mead (Longmont) (5-0), 7 p.m., Oct. 20
The Tigers were ranked No. 1 overall in 3A before falling to Longmont 39-3 last Thursday. Holy Family lost starting quarterback Stone Samaras
in that contest, who was averaging 273 yards a game. Holy Family's defense had 16 sacks in its first four games.
Mead assumed the top spot in 3A this week, with the Mavericks averaging 48 points a game and giving up just 11. A triple-headed monster on the ground of seniors Tyler Keys
, Nathan Mackey
and Derek Edwards
has a combined 1,486 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns.Class 2A
Sterling (4-1) at Platte Valley (Kersey) (5-0), 7 p.m., Oct. 6
League play has already begun in the Patriot East, but this Top 10 showdown between sixth-ranked Sterling and No. 3 Platte Valley is a can't-miss prospect. The Tigers — whose only loss came to No. 5 The Classical Academy — have done most of their damage through the air. Senior Bodie Hume
has 14 touchdown passes, and senior Christian Rose
averages nearly 114 yards receiving a game.
Platte Valley averages just less than 40 points a game and has given up a touchdown or less in three of its five games. The Broncos have another big league contest Oct. 13 against Valley.Bayfield (5-0) at Alamosa (4-1), 7 p.m., Oct. 27
The Intermountain finale between Bayfield and Alamosa will almost certainly live up to the hype, despite Bayfield's 44-0 rout of the Mean Moose a year ago. No. 2 Bayfield has shut out three opponents, quarterback Hayden Farmer has 11 touchdown passes and senior Ryan Phelps has eight of the team's 17 sacks.
No. 9 Alamosa's only loss came by just 13 points on the road to defending state champion La Junta. After winning only five games last fall, Alamosa has already nearly matched that, backed by a rushing attack that averages 222 yards a game. A defense that has two shutouts has eight sacks.Class 1A
Meeker (5-0) at Paonia (4-1), 7 p.m., Oct. 20
It feels like every year this matchup is one of the best that 1A has to offer. A year ago the Cowboys edged the Eagles 12-7, and the stakes in the Western Slope League are just as high this fall. No. 2 Meeker has yet to allow more than a touchdown in a single game, with the defense forcing 13 turnovers and picking up 11 sacks. Senior Logan Hughes
has thrown eight touchdown passes and rushed for seven more scores.
No. 6 Paonia's only loss this season came in the opener to current No. 4 Centauri by a touchdown. The Eagles have been rolling since that night, averaging nearly 48 points over its previous four games and allowed a combined 17. Senior Jaden Miller
leads a rushing attack that averages 260 yards a game with 784 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Haxtun (5-0) at Sedgwick County (Julesburg) (5-0), 7:30 p.m., Oct. 6
This battle of the unbeatens features two teams ranked in the top three as No. 3 Haxtun goes up against top-ranked Sedgwick County. Haxtun passed a big test last weekend with a victory over No. 8 Dayspring Christian. Junior Drew Coffin
has tossed nine touchdown passes and has four fumble recoveries on defense.
The Cougars are coming off a 48-24 victory over Akron in a rematch of the 8-man title game last November.
Stratton/Liberty (Joes) (5-0) at Cheyenne Wells (5-0), 7 p.m., Oct. 6
One of two games featuring top-five teams that are both undefeated this weekend (Peetz visiting Prairie is the other) pits No. 2 Stratton/Liberty against third-ranked Cheyenne Wells. The Knighted Eagles average 57 points a game and 327 yards rushing. Senior Jacob McCormick
leads the team with 600 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.
Cheyenne Wells has allowed a combined 14 points over its past four games. Sophomore Quade Pelton
has 10 touchdown passes, and the Tigers have 15 rushing touchdowns. Pelton also leads the team with five sacks.