As the leaves begin to change around Colorado, the stakes of every football game in the state change with them. October marks the ramping up of the high school football season as league play is in high gear and playoff positions are being claimed.
While there are several games in every class that will have major implications statewide, we've looked at the top 10 games in October that will play into league championships and the creation of the playoff brackets.
Grandview (Aurora) at Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village), Oct. 8
The battle for the Centennial League title will be the spotlight in 5A as defending state champion Cherry Creek hosts Grandview. The Bruins have looked as steady as ever as Carlson Tann
had rushed for 334 yards going into last week's game, with Keegan Holles
keeping pace with 293 yards. Christian Hammond
has been consistent under center, completing 63 percent of his passes.
Grandview will emphasize the run, but can also go to the air when necessary. Liam Szarka
has passed for 677 yards with seven touchdowns, so if the Bruins take an early lead, the Wolves have the bodies to battle back. They will try to be opportunistic defensively, as they have forced seven turnovers with Malique Singleton
(four interceptions, one fumble recovery) accounting for most of them.
Ponderosa (Parker) at Montrose, Oct. 29
A stunning win over Palmer Ridge (Monument) on Oct. 1 would seemingly make Montrose a shoe-in as a league
champion, but the Indians still have plenty of work to do. They showed the true power of their running game in a 28-21 win over the Bears. Ethan Hartman
and Austin Griffin
each ran for two touchdowns, and the defense greatly slowed down the Bears' passing attack as Hunter Duke
grabbed two interceptions.
After dropping its season opener to Legend (Parker)
, the Mustangs have looked like the 4A semifinal team they were last season. Freshman Andrew Heidel
has held steady at quarterback with 649 yards and six touchdowns to four interceptions. They could try to counter Montrose's running attack with one of their own as Zachary Pekarek
has 652 yards and eight scores.Dakota Ridge (Littleton) at Golden, Oct. 22
The Jeffco League title could easily come down to this showdown late in the month. Golden has shown itself to be one of the top offenses in the state with more than 2,000 total yards in six games. Jazel Riley IV
has been great through the air, throwing for 922 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also leads the team in rushing yards with 378. Dalton Summers
and Luc Chevalier
have also broken 300 rushing yards on the season.
The Eagles will look to counter with Adam Graves
, who has been one of the top passers in the state this fall. He has thrown for 987 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has several top targets with Connor Fitzhugh
leading with 305 receiving yards and four touchdowns. This game could come down to whichever quarterback simply blinks first.Class 3A
Mead (Longmont) at Roosevelt (Johnstown), Oct. 8
Roosevelt is looking to get back to the 3A title game and has utilized fast starts to jump out to a 5-0 start to the season. The Roughriders gave up seven points to Holy Family (Broomfield) in their first game of the but haven't surrendered a point since then. They will have to contend with a tough Mead team, but they certainly have the horses to do. They have two running backs who have combined for more than 650 rushing yards, and quarterback Brock Saya
has been solid, throwing for 841 yards with half of his touchdown passes going to Tucker Peterson
Like most years, Mead is relying on the run to build its success. The Mavericks have 960 rushing yards as a team with Evan Morris
leading the way with 380 yards. He has also scored six touchdowns. In order to slow down the Roughriders, the Mavericks will have to maintain time of possession and find the end zone on the ground.Class 2A
Resurrection Christian (Loveland) at Eaton, Oct. 9
There's no wasting time into the month as 2A's top two teams head to the field against each other this week. Eaton has yet
to relinquish their standing as the top overall team after winning the 2020 2A state title. Ethan Florez
has amassed 450 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Quarterback Walker Martin
has been efficient, throwing for 509 yards and 11 touchdowns, but efficiency isn't guaranteed to beat the Cougars.
Resurrection Christian has given up only 20 points, but it was to a tough 3A team in Holy Family. They have 22 tackles for loss as a team, with Justin Hawthorne
accounting for half of them. He also has six sacks and has caused two fumbles. The Cougars are looking for a big win and will force Eaton to play a flawless game to prevail.
Moffat County (Craig) at Delta, Oct. 22
A 13-point win over Basalt certainly has everyone in 2A paying attention to Moffat County. The Bulldogs have looked explosive on offense, but it's their defense that truly passes the eye test. They haven't allowed more than 15 points in any game and they held Basalt, a team that averaged 36.5 points per game in their four wins, to just nine. They have 19 sacks on the season, and Ethan Hafey
leads the team with seven. Cort Murphy
has been stellar in pass coverage, picking off four passes.
Delta freshman quarterback Ty Reed
will face his biggest test to date. He has thrown just two interceptions, but he's attempted only 28 passes. He'll have to pick his spots and rely on Timothy Horn
and the running game if the Panthers are going to come out on the good end of this one.Class 1A
Limon at Wray, Oct. 15
Limon's road to another league title will have a rough stretch as they face Wray, Holyoke and Wiggins in consecutive weeks. While any of those games are worthy of recognition, first thing's first. The Badgers have looked as solid as ever as they sit at 5-0. Jeremiah Leeper
, who averages 125 rushing yards per game, has found the end zone seven times. Trey Hines
has been steady as ever at quarterback and has also helped out defensively with an interception.
Wray is coming off a big win over Wiggins and will see Holyoke
next week before getting a shot at the Badgers. The Eagles lean a little more on the pass as Jaden Dodsworth
has thrown for 603 yards and nine touchdowns. He will have to be on top of his game if the Eagles are going to steal one from the Badgers.Florence at Buena Vista, Oct. 22
Florence is winning football games by doing exactly what it likes to do, run hard and run often. Jian Aguilar
has 543 rushing yards while Jacob Kennedy
has 408. They have combined to score 15 touchdowns, which is all the more impressive when realizing that the Huskies have given up only 15 points all season. They have 55 tackles for loss, 13 sacks and eight interceptions. Jesiah Cornwell
leads the way in sacks with 5.5, and Gage Goodall
has three interceptions.
Buena Vista hasn't looked too shabby, either. The Demons have been tested in the past two weeks and passed both, specifically with a 28-21 win over North Fork (Hotchkiss) on Oct. 1. Haden Camp
and Jacob Phelps
are each averaging at least eight yards per carry and have scored all but four of BV's rushing touchdowns (prior to the North Fork game). The close games against Meeker and North Fork might give the Demons a slight edge as they have experience winning tight games this season.Class A 8-Man
Sanford at Mancos, Oct. 15
Mancos is starting to look like a team that might be able to end Sedgwick County's run of 8-Man titles. The Bluejays have completely owned the trenches, and that's clear to see when looking at the production running the ball. Chase Moore
has carried 90 times for 889 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. They also have been good when it comes to causing havoc defensively as Mason Goodwin
has 6.5 of the team's 10 sacks. He is also responsible for 12 hurries and has just been a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks.
Sanford has been dominant for most of this season but suffered a 36-22 loss to Vail Christian on Sept. 24. A win over Mancos would once again make Sanford one of the top overall teams in the 8-Man class.Class A 6-Man
Cheyenne Wells vs. Prairie (New Raymer), Oct. 22
An unexpected bye week might let Cheyenne Wells catch its breath as it has been running like crazy against its opponents. In five wins, the Tigers are outscoring their opponents 346-83 and only one game has been closer than 50 points. Cade Mitchek
leads the team with 645 rushing yards and has scored 15 touchdowns.
Prairie has been about as good on the ground and certainly better through the air, as Andy Long
has thrown for 817 yards and 14 touchdowns. But slowing down the Tigers will be about defense. Maverik Mertens
and Parker Jaeger
each have seven tackles for loss and will be crucial in stopping Cheyenne Wells' running game.