VIDEO: Top 10 Football Plays of the Week, Week 14.
The second time around is always a tough hill to climb.
That's the task facing a handful of teams this weekend headed into the semifinal round of the Class 5A and 4A state football playoffs. Both semifinals in 5A are rematches of regular-season games, along with one of the 4A semifinal contests.
"We're ready. We've just got to put the work in again this week," Pine Creek (Colorado Springs)
junior defensive back Beau Freyler
said of facing Pueblo West
for the second time. "We have to prep for them like we haven't played them and not worry about the game we played earlier this season."
For top-seeded Pine Creek (11-1) and fifth-seeded Pueblo West (11-1), it's a little bit of a déjà vu moment. In 2017, the Eagles were the No. 1 seed and met up with the Cyclones in the state semifinals. The two teams had also played earlier in the year – Pine Creek came away with victories in both games.
The Eagles rolled to a 41-13 victory over Pueblo West on Sept. 27 – the Cyclones' only loss this season. Obviously both teams have changed since that time. Pueblo West has won seven consecutive games since that setback, including a 31-19 road victory over Montrose last weekend in the state quarterfinals.
"(We can't get) overconfident because we beat them last time," Pine Creek senior quarterback Gavin Herberg
told CHSAANow.com after a 55-17 quarterfinal victory over Ponderosa (Parker) last Saturday. "The same thing happened two years ago. We ended up winning, but we can't think about it. We take it one game at a time, and they're a new team, so we've got to prepare for them."
In 3A, upsets played a big role in the quarterfinals. Green Mountain (Lakewood)
– the fifth Jeffco team playing for a state-title berth this weekend – knocked off previously unbeaten and No. 1 Mead 30-21 last Saturday. No. 6 Frederick
took down No. 3 Discovery Canyon (Colorado Springs) 32-25 on the road as well.
The winners of this weekend's semifinals will square off Dec. 7 for a state title. The 5A and 4A games are at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, and the 3A game will be at CSU-Pueblo.
Here is a quick look at each of the six semifinal matchups:
Class 5A // Bracket
No. 1 Cherry Creek (12-0) vs. No. 5 Pomona (8-4), 1 p.m. Saturday, NAAC
No. 2 Ralston Valley (12-0) vs. No. 6 Columbine (10-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Jeffco Stadium
For only the second time since moving up to 5A in 2012, Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch) won't be
playing for the 5A state title. Instead, Cherry Creek and three teams from the 5A Metro West League will contend for the championship. … Cherry Creek played for the title a year ago, falling to Valor. Pomona went to the championship from 2015-17, winning it in 2017, and Columbine last won 5A in 2011. Ralston Valley has never played for the state championship. … Cherry Creek held off Fairview (Boulder) 42-28 in the quarterfinals.
rushed for 199 yards and two touchdowns, and Julian Hammond III
had a pair of touchdown passes. … Pomona handed Regis Jesuit (Aurora) its first loss and avenged an earlier regular-season defeat with a 28-14 victory over the Raiders in Aurora. Sanjay Strickland
and AJ Zamora
each rushed for more than 100 yards and combined for three touchdowns. Strickland had two sacks and now has 15.5 on the season. … Ralston Valley rolled to a 42-14 victory over Eaglecrest (Aurora). Walker Brickle
tossed two touchdown passes, Chase Wilson
rushed for a pair of scores and the Mustangs had two defensive touchdowns. … Columbine took down aforementioned Valor Christian 37-30. Tanner Hollens
rushed for 216 yards and three scores, and Adam Harrington
added 110 rushing yards and three more scores.Class 4A // Bracket
No. 1 Pine Creek (11-1) vs. No. 5 Pueblo West (11-1), 1 p.m. Saturday, District 20 Stadium
No. 2 Broomfield (12-0) vs. No. 6 Dakota Ridge (10-2), Noon Saturday, Jeffco Stadium
Pine Creek has won three state titles since 2013 and played in five title games since 2011. Pueblo
West won its only title back in 2007; Broomfield win three titles in the early 1980s, and last reached the championship in 2016; and Dakota Ridge last went to the title game in 2004. … Pine Creek has put plenty of points on the scoreboard this fall, and the Eagles did exactly that last Saturday with a 55-17 victory over Ponderosa.
David Moore III
rushed for three touchdowns and the Eagles returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns. … Pueblo West started strong and withstood a second-half surge from Montrose for a 31-19 victory. Senior Matt Rudd
rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns and Chandler Mason
had two touchdowns through the air. Mason has 23 touchdown passes this season. … Broomfield's stingy defense hasn't allowed an opponent to score more than nine points over the past six games, including a 27-3 victory over Chatfield (Littleton) in the quarterfinals. Senior Caden Peters
had two of the team's four rushing touchdowns, and finished with 179 yards on the ground. … Dakota Ridge outslugged Heritage (Littleton) in a high-scoring 38-34 victory. Charlie Offerdahl
rushed for 190 yards and three touchdowns, and Ben Gultig
tossed a pair of touchdowns.Class 3A // Bracket
No. 4 Palmer Ridge (10-2) vs. No. 8 Green Mountain (10-2), 4 p.m. Saturday, Jeffco Stadium
No. 2 Pueblo South (11-1) vs. No. 6 Frederick (11-1), 1 p.m. Saturday
There is plenty of recent tradition from the two higher-seeded teams. Palmer Ridge (Monument)
won the past two 3A state titles, putting up 46 and 47 points, respectively, in those games. Pueblo South won the 4A title in 2017 before dropping down to the 3A ranks last season. Green Mountain won 4A crowns in 1995 and 1999, while Frederick has never won a state championship. … Palmer Ridge, which averages more than 47 points a game, lit up the scoreboard in a 56-35 victory over Conifer. Senior
ran wild to the tune of 324 yards and five touchdowns, and Luke McAllister
threw two touchdown passes to Kaden Dudley
. … Green Mountain, which lost to Conifer in early October, upset No. 1 Mead 30-21. Quarterback Trey Towndrow
accounted for five touchdowns, with three coming on the ground and two more through the air. The Rams have won six in a row. … Pueblo South
, which dropped its only game to Palmer Ridge back in September, won its eighth consecutive game by holding off Durango 21-14. The Colts scored late to earn the victory, as Logan Petit
threw for a touchdown and also rushed for a score. … Frederick's only loss came to Mead. The Warriors defeated Discovery Canyon 32-25 behind a strong fourth quarter. Quarterback Jake Green
had a brilliant performance, passing for 237 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 171 yards and another score.