VIDEO: Top 10 football plays of October
Welcome to the Colorado playoff football party, Class 4A and
3A! The postseason now is at full capacity with those two classifications
moving to the elimination stage, joining the rest of the state.
After a week of first-round byes, the top teams in 5A will
be back on the field, while the quarterfinals are on tap for 2A, 1A and 8-Man.
The 6-Man ranks will determine its state championship game qualifiers this
Here’s a capsule look at the top games in each
classification. Action begins Thursday with Columbine (Littleton) playing host to Smoky Hill (Aurora).Class 5A // BracketFirst-round recap: With the exception of a 24-16 win by No. 19 Mountain Vista (Highlands Ranch) at
No. 14 Mullen (Denver), seeding held true to form in the big-school bracket. For their
efforts, the Golden Eagles earned a
matchup with No. 3 and defending state
champion Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch).
Of note, No. 11 Smoky Hill (11-0) remained unbeaten with a
48-6 win against Overland (Aurora). The win was significant, as the Buffaloes also went 10-0
during the 2018 regular season but lost their playoff opener. Junior quarterback Leslie Richardson III, the state’s
second-leading passer, was perfect on nine passing attempts for 184 yards and
two TDs, while senior Obasanjo Sanni added 175 rushing yards and five TDs in
the win against Overland.
These teams know each other well, to say the least. This will be the fourth time the
Centennial League teams have played the past two seasons. They split last year,
and Grandview beat the Raptors 14-11 this season in a defensive-minded affair on
This also is quarterfinal
rematch from last season, won 26-22 by Grandview
Also, keep an eye on No. 9 Cherokee Trail (Aurora) visiting No. 8
Fairview (Boulder), as the Cougars try to slow down state career passing leader Aidan Atkinson.
Favorite: Pine Creek (Colorado Springs). The Eagles’ only loss came against
Valor Christian in Week 3. Pine Creek (9-1) hasn’t really been challenged
otherwise, as its high-powered offense is averaging more than 41 points
rushing yards per game behind standout David Moore III. The senior has 1,826 rushing yards and 25 TDs
this season. Pine Creek is after its third championship game appearance in the
past four seasons and first title since 2016.
Best first-round game: (9) Ponderosa (Parker) at (8) Skyline (Longmont), 1 pm Saturday, Everly-Montgomery Field
Class 4A figures to be one of the most
competitive brackets of the postseason, as there is a lot of depth in the
field. With all of the quality opening-round games, it’s hard to single out
one, but on paper Ponderosa at Skyline doesn’t figure to disappoint.
Ponderosa (7-3) tested itself against 5A playoff teams Columbine and Legend (Parker), so
the Mustangs should be ready. Skyline (8-2), the state runner-up a year ago, is
led by 4A’s leading passer in Chase Silva. The junior has amassed 2,131 passing
yards and 29 TDs.
Don’t miss No. 11 Fruita Monument at sixth-ranked Dakota Ridge (Littleton). The Wildcats have four losses, but they came against 4A teams hosting
first-round games in No. 3 Vista PEAK Prep (Aurora), No. 4 Montrose, fifth-ranked Pueblo West
and No. 7 Chatfield (Littleton). Dakota Ridge will attempt to bounce back after dropping its regular-season finale, 14-0, to
Favorite: Mead (Longmont). The Mavericks completed a perfect regular
season with a 27-20 win last week against previously unbeaten Frederick. Prior
to that their closest game was 13 points, as Mead has outscored its opponents
415-96. The Mavericks do their damage on the ground, where they average more
than 300 yards per game. Senior Jake Wachter is the leading ground-gainer with
1,022 yards and 15 TDs. Harrison (Colorado Springs) gets first crack at slowing down Mead.
Class 2A // BracketFirst-round recap: No. 9 Basalt was the lone lower-seeded team to advance,
knocking off No. 8 The Classical Academy (Colorado Springs) 13-7 behind two touchdown passes from
junior Matty Gillis. Peetr Zimmer also had
Best first-round game: (11) Holy Family (Broomfield) at (4) Palmer Ridge (Monument), 7 pm Friday, Don Breese Stadium
Footballs figure to fill the air when Holy Family travels down I-25 to meet fourth-ranked and two-time defending
champion Palmer Ridge. Holy Family senior Calahan Carter paces the
classification with 2,483 passing yards (24 TDs), while the Bears counter with
Luke McAllister. The junior is fourth in 3A with 1,697 yards passing.
10 tackles in the win. Next up for
the Longhorns is top-seeded and undefeated
Rifle. The teams met Oct. 25, a 21-9
win for the Bears, which was easily their closest game of the season. Rifle
senior Levi Warfel, who leads 2A in rushing with 1,500 yards, had 172 yards
rushing in that earlier win.
The Western Slope League rematch mentioned above certainly is worthy, but Resurrection Christian (9-1) against Platte Valley (8-2) gets the nod. It’s a rematch of a 2018 state semifinal won 21-14 by Platte Valley. Resurrection Christian (9-1) fell only to Sterling in overtime in their season opener, but has rolled since behind a balanced offensive attack led by senior quarterback Buck Coors. Coors was efficient (10-for-15, 122 yards, 4 TDs) in a first-round win against defending state champion La Junta.First-round recap: No. 11 Wray edged sixth-seeded Florence 13-10 to avenge a
2018 first-round loss to the Huskies. Senior Emmanuel Huerta led the upset win
with 157 rushing yards and two TDs. Wray (6-4) doesn’t get to celebrate for
long as next up is defending champion Limon. The Badgers (8-2) routed Wray 40-9
on Oct. 25 behind 215 rushing yards from Kory Tacha. Limon rushed for 371 yards
in that one, while holding Huerta to 34 yards on 12 carries. Limon holds a 10-3
series edge since the teams first met in 1939, according to Limon statistician
extraordinaire Craig Bailey.
loves a good rematch. Colorado Springs Christian (8-2) will get another
shot at undefeated Holyoke. The teams met Sept. 6, with
Holyoke claiming a 21-6 win. Holyoke standout Miles Sprague passed for 265
yards in the victory, but the Lions were able to keep it close behind their
ground game. They totaled 227 rushing yards that game, 137 from Peyton Brones (1,210
yards on the season). The Lions will need similar production to oust a Holyoke
team that holds wins against four of the remaining eight teams in the field. Class 8-Man // Bracket Best quarterfinals game: (3) Fowler at (6) Mancos, 1 pm SaturdayThe
ground game will be the focal point when Fowler travels to Mancos. Mancos, whose only loss came against No. 2 Sanford, features the
classification’s leading rusher in Chase Moore. The sophomore has amassed 1,830
yards and 30 TDs. The undefeated Grizzlies answer with an attack that averages
more than 340 yards per game on the ground and boasts two 1,000-yard rushers in
Joshua Daniels (1,100 yards, 19 TDs) and Jackson Bates (1,057 yards, 18 TDs).Class 6-Man // BracketSemifinals overview: The state’s top four teams continued to punish their
opponents, setting up an intriguing semifinals quartet. The teams are a
combined 41-2, with top-seeded Kit Carson (10-0) responsible for the lone
losses by No. 2 Stratton/Liberty and No. 3 Cheyenne Wells.
Kit Carson meets fellow undefeated Fleming (11-0) at 1 pm Saturday in one
semifinal. Kit Carson, behind Jayden McCombs-Farmer, has outscored its playoff
opponents 142-21 and has scored less than 48 points only once. Fleming aims to
match up with a defense that has yielded more than 20 points just twice this season.
The Wildcats also feature one of the classification’s top talents in Brandon Williams (1,118 rushing yards, 23 TDs).
In the other matchup, defending champion Stratton/Liberty is
attempting to advance to the championship for the third consecutive season. The
Knighted Eagles rely on player-of-the-year candidate Jaret Lichty, who has 1,433
rushing yards and 29 TDs to his credit. He’s also a force on the defensive side
with 107 tackles (22 last week in a 72-43 win against Branson/Kim. Cheyenne Wells, which will play host to the game at 1 pm Saturday, figures to need big games from the
balanced duo of Kyle Nelson (967 passing yards, 21 TDs) and Quade Pelton (1,213
rushing yards, 24 TDs) if it's to have success.