VIDEO: Top 10 Football Plays of the Week, Week 13
Last fall, on its way to its second 6-Man championship since 2013, Stratton/Liberty
's football team collectively rushed for more than 4,000 yards. Then-sophomore Jaret Lichty
and senior Ethan Richmond each easily cleared the 1,000-yard mark for the season and combined for 48 touchdowns.
Call it a recipe for success.
Headed into Saturday's 6-Man championship game with Fleming
, the Knighted Eagles have taken a similar path. The team is closing in on 4,400 yards for the season, with Lichty (1,633 yards, 32 touchdowns) and senior Trevor Frank
(1,203, 20 touchdowns) doing the heavy lifting.
Stratton/Liberty (11-1) is making its third consecutive title-game appearance, while Fleming (12-0) hasn't played for the championship since winning back-to-back crowns in 2011-12.
The Knighted Eagles average nearly 62 points a game, and the only loss on the season came in the opener to Kit Carson. The Wildcats were undefeated and the top seed going into last weekend's semifinals, only to be upended by No. 4 Fleming.
Stratton/Liberty took down Cheyenne Wells 62-32 in the other semifinal. Lichty, Frank and sophomore Charlie Clapper
amassed 403 yards between them and six touchdowns. Lichty also caught a touchdown pass from senior Zeke Craig
, who has 16 touchdown passes on the season. That's come with numbers of 41-of-59 for the season, meaning Craig has tossed a touchdown nearly every four attempts.
Lichty and Frank also lead the team in tackles, and senior Zach Armour
has four of the team's 11 sacks.
On the other side, it's rare to see an undefeated squad seeded fourth, but that was where Fleming found itself headed into the playoffs. But the Wildcats put up three impressive victories, including last Saturday's triumph over Kit Carson.
Senior Brandon Williams
rushed for 251 yards and five touchdowns on the day, and junior Brady Kuntz
had 3.5 sacks and recovered a fumble.
The 16-point margin was the closest any team had come to Fleming this fall. Williams is closing in on 1,400 yards and has 28 touchdowns, and junior Kade Comstock
has passed for 22 touchdowns to only two interceptions. Kuntz has nine sacks, three fumble recoveries and an interception, as the defense has forced 41 turnovers.
No team has claimed consecutive 6-Man titles since Fleming accomplished the feat earlier this decade.
While the state's three biggest classifications are in the quarterfinal round Friday and Saturday, the 2A, 1A and 8-Man ranks will play semifinal football Saturday. Those three championship games will be decided Nov. 30.
Here is a look at the playoff brackets for the rest of the state:
No. 4 Delta (10-1) vs. No. 9 Basalt (9-2), 1 p.m. SaturdayNo. 2 Sterling (10-1) vs. No. 3 Resurrection Christian (Loveland) (10-1), 1 p.m. SaturdayNotes:
Both semifinals feature rematches from the regular season. Delta defeated Basalt 35-6 on Oct. 18 in Western Slope League play, and Sterling edged Resurrection Christian 13-7 in overtime in the season opener Aug. 30. … Delta is the only one of the four to have won a state championship (AA in 1960). … Sterling intercepted Buck Coors
four times in the teams' first meeting. The Tigers' defense has been stout all year, pitching three shutouts (including a 40-0 rout of Lamar in the quarterfinals). Save for an out-of-state loss in Nebraska on Sept. 20, Sterling has been dominant for much of the season. Quarterback Brock Shalla
has tossed 15 touchdowns. … Resurrection Christian has won 10 games in a row and Coors has passed for nearly 1,300 yards and 19 touchdowns. He's also rushed for more than 700 yards and 14 scores. … Delta's only loss came to Rifle. The Panthers edged Faith Christian (Arvada) 37-35 in the quarterfinals behind 358 yards and four touchdowns from quarterback Nolan Bynum
, who has 2,220 yards and 31 TD passes this fall. Senior Hunter Hughes
has caught 41 passes for 831 yards and 15 touchdowns. … Basalt needed overtime to upset top-seeded Rifle 21-14 in the quarterfinals. Junior Matty Gillis
has thrown 11 touchdowns, and the defense has 23 sacks.
No. 2 Holyoke (11-0) vs. No. 3 Limon (9-2), 1 p.m. Saturday
Three of these four teams were in the 1A semifinals last fall. Strasburg has been to three
championship games in a row, Limon won the title last fall, and Centauri made the championship game in 2018. … Strasburg has pitched back-to-back playoff shutouts.
threw for two scores and rushed for two more in a 28-0 blanking of Highland (Ault) in the quarterfinals. … Centauri had three shutouts in its first four games. The Falcons routed Meeker 41-6 in the quarterfinals and have ridden a balanced offense that has amassed more than 1,000 yards through the air and more than 2,100 yards on the ground. Senior Eric Maez
has 16 touchdown passes to two interceptions. … Holyoke defeated Limon 14-12 earlier this month behind a big day from sophomore quarterback Miles Sprague
(9-of-13 for 214 yards and a touchdown). The Dragons shut out Colorado Springs Christian 27-0 in the quarterfinals. … Limon has won a state-record 17 championships. The Badgers' two losses came by a combined nine points to Strasburg and Holyoke. Jeremiah Leeper
and Kory Tacha
combined for 362 yards and six touchdowns in a 41-14 quarterfinal victory over Wray.
No. 3 Fowler (11-0) vs. No. 7 Pikes Peak Christian (Colorado Springs) (10-1), 1 p.m., Saturday
The Sedgwick County dynasty continues, as the Cougars are one victory away from a shot at a fifth-consecutive title. The team is 60-2 during that span and has posted four consecutive shutouts going into the semis. Sedgwick County defeated Dayspring Christian 56-16 on Oct. 11. … The Eagles defeated Vail Christian 38-28 in the quarterfinals. Sophomore Garrett Krehbiel
rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns, and junior Christian Still
had two TD passes. … Pikes Peak Christian upset No. 2 and previously undefeated Sanford 28-6 in the quarterfinals, with seniors Nathan Seay
and Hudson Grant
rushing for a combined 201 yards and three touchdowns. … Fowler hasn't won a title since going back-to-back in 2A in 1991-92. The Grizzlies held off Mancos 34-28 last weekend with a big ground game that went for 383 yards and four scores. Juniors Joshua Daniels
and Jackson Bates
have each topped 1,100 yards and have combined for 40 rushing touchdowns.
QuarterfinalsNo. 5 Pomona (Arvada) (7-4) at No. 4 Regis Jesuit (Aurora) (11-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Lou Kellogg Stadium
No. 10 Eaglecrest (Centennial) (9-3) at No. 2 Ralston Valley (Arvada) (11-0), 7 p.m. Friday, NAAC
No. 6 Columbine (Littleton) (9-2) at No. 3 Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch) (10-1), 7 p.m. Friday
Eaglecrest was the only lower seed to reach the quarterfinals, taking down league rival Grandview (Aurora) 28-21 in the second round. … Fairview found itself in a second-round shootout with No. 9 Cherokee Trail (Aurora), holding on for a 36-34 victory. Aidan Atkinson
threw for 455 yards and five touchdown passes to Henry Blackburn
. … Gavin Sawchuk
rushed for 281 and three touchdowns in Valor's 34-9 victory over Mountain Vista (Highlands Ranch). … Nicco Marchiol
threw four touchdown passes in Regis Jesuit's 49-7 victory over Highlands Ranch. … The only rematch of a regular-season game is Regis Jesuit and Pomona. The Raiders defeated the Panthers 23-13 in the season opener.
Class 4A // Bracket
No. 1 Pine Creek (Colorado Springs) (10-1) at No. 9 Ponderosa (Parker) (8-3), 1 p.m. Saturday, EchoPark Stadium
No. 5 Pueblo West (10-1) at No. 4 Montrose (10-1), 1 p.m. Saturday
No. 6 Dakota Ridge (Littleton) (9-2) at No. 14 Heritage (Littleton) (8-3), 6:30 p.m. Friday, LPSS
No. 7 Chatfield (Littleton) (9-2) at No. 2 Broomfield (11-0), 1 p.m. Saturday, Broomfield
Heritage upset No. 3 and previously undefeated Vista PEAK Prep (Aurora) 27-12 in the first round. … Chatfield downed defending state champion Loveland 40-21 behind 203 rushing yards and two scores from senior Malcolm Boyd
. … Ponderosa, which has won seven in a row, held off 2018 runner-up Skyline (Longmont) 16-13. Jack Hanenburg
was 10-of-15 for 117 yards and two touchdowns. … Pine Creek's David Moore III
rushed for 202 yards and four touchdowns in the Eagles' 48-13 victory over Longmont. … Broomfield quarterback Zachary Kapushion
threw for 259 yards and four touchdowns as the Eagles routed Grand Junction 35-9. … Dakota Ridge's Charlie Offerdahl
and Ben Gultig
combined for 215 yards and five touchdowns as the Eagles rolled past Fruita Monument 35-21.
No. 5 Conifer (11-0) at No. 4 Palmer Ridge (Monument) (9-2), 1 p.m. Saturday, Don Breese Stadium
No. 6 Frederick (10-1) at No. 3 Discovery Canyon (Colorado Springs) (10-1), 1 p.m. Saturday, District 20 Stadium
No. 7 Durango (8-3) at No. 2 Pueblo South (10-1), 1 p.m. Saturday, Dutch Clark Stadium
The top eight seeds made it through the first round in 3A. … Green Mountain's Trey Towndrow
rushed for 214 yards and a touchdown as the Rams reached the quarterfinals with a victory over Erie. … Palmer Ridge's Luke Mcallister
picked apart Holy Family (Broomfield) in a 63-7 victory, passing for 332 yards and five touchdowns. … Conifer's J.R. Hart
was just as stellar in the Lobos' 38-21 victory over Fort Morgan, going for 394 yards through the air and four touchdowns. … Frederick senior Jake Green
rushed for 208 yards and three touchdowns as the Warriors blitzed Thomas Jefferson (Denver) 45-14. … Durango took down Palisade behind 199 yards passing and 82 yards rushing from quarterback Jordan Woolverton
, who had two total touchdowns.