VIDEO: Top 10 football plays of the week, Week 11
For four classes of football, it's time to show up or go home. Last week saw the conclusion of the regular season for Class 5A through 8-Man. Playoff brackets were released Sunday and action will begin as early as Thursday. (The Class 4A and 3A brackets will be released this weekend).
It marks the start of the journey to crown state football champions, one of the most exciting months of the year for all of high school athletics. Each bracket has perceived favorites and, regardless of classification, there are plenty of intriguing matchups to watch for over the weekend.
With state football playoffs now underway, there are countless storylines going around and we take a look at a few:Class 5A // BracketThe favorite(s):
For the first time in a while, it doesn't feel like there is a foregone conclusion when predicting the 5A football champion. Defending champion Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch)
might be undefeated against
Colorado teams this season, but they trailed at halftime in an eventual 24-14 win over Pine Creek (Colorado Springs)
on Sept. 19.
It wouldn't be a surprise if Valor was once again in the championship picture, but with strong play from Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village)
and Ralston Valley (Arvada)
, it appears that this could very much be anyone's title for the taking.Best first-round matchup:
(18) Castle View (Castle Rock)
at (15) Arapahoe (Centennial)
, 7 pm Friday, Littleton Public Schools Stadium
Arapahoe is a very much a different football team since suffering a Week 2 loss to Castle View. The Warriors are led by seniors Jaden Schmeling
and Xavier Harrell
on offense. They were winners of four straight games after falling to the SaberCats. Their three other losses this season came against Cherry Creek, Grandview (Aurora)
and Eaglecrest (Centennial)
Castle View has been successful mostly due to the diversity of its running attack. Jordan Jackson
, Zane Wodark
and Ian Peirce
have all rushed for at least 600 yards each and have scored a combined 23 touchdowns. The playoff opener should have a much different feel than the regular season contest and this game figures to be the best of the 5A slate.Class 2A // BracketThe favorite(s):
Heading into the 2A playoffs, Rifle
has shown it is willing and able to take on all comers. They have significant wins over Delta and Basalt this year, and the rushing attack of Levi Warfel
has been truly puzzling for the Bears' opponents.
The only underlying question in the bracket is Sterling
. The Tigers have looked impressive at times this year, including big wins over The Classical Academy (Colorado Springs) and Platte Valley (Kersey). Overall, they went 4-0 against 2A playoff teams in 2019.Best first-round matchup:
at (7) Lamar
, 1 pm Saturday
Eaton and Lamar have shown at various times that they belong in the top-10 of all 2A teams, and both enter the postseason with the benefit of playing tough schedules. The Reds suffered close losses to Sterling, Platte Valley and Resurrection Christian (Loveland) while spreading out its offensive attack. Gage Butler
led the way with 461 yards and eight touchdowns, while sophomore Ethan Florez
added 382 yards and seven touchdowns to the mix.
Lamar came out of a brutal Tri-Peaks League that advanced four teams to the postseason. The Savages weren't afraid to attack opponents on the ground or through the air. Zane Rankin
passed for more than 1,500 yards and tossed 20 TD passes, while Walker Kee
nearly had a 1,000-yard rushing season. Lamar won its last four games by a combined score of 156- 40.Class 1A // BracketFavorite(s):
There might not be a more intriguing bracket to look at this season than 1A. The race at the top is deep as Strasburg
can all make a case as the team to beat. And while Limon lost to both Strasburg and Holyoke, there is a reason the Badgers have more football championships than any school in the
state. Winning football games in November is kind of what they do.Best first-round matchup:
at (6) Florence
, 1 pm Saturday
This game shouldn't be long. Both teams love keeping the ball on the ground and both teams have a couple of running backs that have no problem putting up numbers.
Florence is led by Owen Busetti
and Jacob Kennedy
, who have combined for more than 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. As Bussetti and Kennedy go, so do the Huskies. Their lone loss when back on Oct. 25 when they went on the road and fell to Centauri (La Jara).
Wray's duo of Emmanuel Huerta
and Tyler Collins
don't quite have the same numbers, but they've combined for better than 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Eagles aren't necessarily going to win big, but if the game is close as the clock ticks away, they'll have every chance to advance to the second round.Class 8-Man // Bracket
At first glance it would seem that Dayspring Christian might be able to cruise through its first round game, but one look at Rangely will tell you that the Panthers are no pushover. Anthony Lujan
has been an effective dual threat this year with nearly 1,000 rushing yards and more than 700 passing yards.
He also has plenty of help in terms of weapons. Zane Varner
has rushed for 631 yards and Tytus Coombs
has 565 yards on the ground.
The Eagles have been solid through the air as Christian Still
has thrown for more than 1,100 yards and connected on 13 touchdown passes. They also have a balanced rushing attack with Caden Bonnell
, who has amassed 727 yards and eight touchdowns to go with Garrett Krehbiel
l's 583 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.Class 6-Man // BracketFavorite(s):
The 6-Man playoffs actually started a week ago, but that only means a clearer picture is starting to take shape. With a dominant win in the first round, Kit Carson
looks every bit the team to beat. But if anything was learned from 2018, it's that Stratton/Liberty
knows how to play well in big games, meaning a rematch of last year's championship contest could be in the cards for 6-Man.Best quarterfinals matchup:
(5) Prairie (New Raymer)
at (4) Fleming
, 7 pm Friday
The last time Prairie lost a football game is when they traveled to Fleming on Sept. 28. But a playoff atmosphere has a funny way of bringing out the best in teams, meaning the rematch Friday night should be one for the ages.
If the Mustangs are going to advance, they'll have to rely on the arm of Mitch Dollerschell
. His 27 touchdowns are impressive, but what's even more so is that in 139 passing attempts he has been intercepted only three times. If Arek Wulf
(562 yards) can help Dollerschell balance the offense on the ground, Prairie will have a fighting chance.
Fleming will try to win this one the way it has won all 10 games this season: with a heavy dose of Brandon Williams
. If he comes close to his average of 105 yards and two touchdowns per game, it's unlikely the Wildcats will suffer their first loss of the season.