VIDEO: Top 10 football plays of November
The final week of the Colorado high school football season should offer something for everyone, with the varied storylines spread among the title games in the state's three-largest classifications.
For instance, the Class 5A features a matchup between two of the state's heavyweight programs in Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village)
and Columbine (Littleton)
, pitting two legendary coaches head-to-head in Dave Logan (Cherry Creek) and Andy Lowry (Columbine). Between them they have 12 state titles.
One the field in the 4A championship game will be the state's top two rushers, regardless of classification, in David Moore III
of Pine Creek (Colorado Springs)
and Caden Peters
. And, the 3A title matchup is a regular-season rematch between Pueblo South
and Palmer Ridge (Monument)
, which will be after its third consecutive crown.
Here's a capsule look at each game:Class 5A // Bracket(1) Cherry Creek (13-0) vs. (6) Columbine (11-2), 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Empower Field at Mile High
After losing in the 2018 championship against Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch), it could be considered a
surprise that Cherry Creek, despite being the largest school in the state, is back on the main stage. After all, the Bruins graduated 36 seniors from that team. But there's a reason Logan has seven state championships between four schools. The Bruins are able to adjust to the style of each game: last week it was a defensive struggle against Pomona (Arvada) in a 14-7 semifinal win. Cherry Creek relied on its ground game in that one, rushing for 226 yards. More than 90 of those yards came from
(on only nine carries). The Bruins also feature University of Colorado-bound Jayle Stacks
, who has rushed for 1,010 yards and 14 TDs this season. In addition, Cherry Creek has a dynamic performer at quarterback in Julian Hammond III
. The junior has thrown for 2,268 yards passing and 27 TDs against only six interceptions. His favorite target is Chase Penry
(49 receptions, 576 yards, 9 TDs). Cherry Creek is after its 10th championship and first since 2014.
Every opponent knows Columbine is going to run the ball, then run it some more, then run it again. The challenge is stopping it. The Rebels average nearly 275 rushing yards per game and are the highest-scoring team in 5A with 514 points. After a two-game skid late in the season (losing both games by a point), Columbine has been on a nice playoff "run". It knocked out Valor Christian in the quarterfinals before avenging one of its regular-season losses to previously unbeaten Ralston Valley (Arvada), 29-15 in the semifinals. Senior running back
had two TDs in that win. Hollens has been the catalyst all season and has excelled in the playoffs. He's totaled 413 yards and seven TDS in the postseason to run his season totals to 1,667 yards and 28 TDs. He's complemented by senior backfield mate Adam Harrington
(929 yards, 14 TDs). While the Rebels don't throw it much, quarterback Jadon Holliday
has been efficient, especially in the postseason. In the three games he has completed 10 of 13 passes for 166 yards and three scores. Justin Lohrenz
(Washington State commit) leads the Columbine defense with 17 sacks. One item of note: Lowry is 5-0 in championship games.Class 4A // Bracket(1) Pine Creek (12-1) vs. (2) Broomfield (13-0), 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Empower Field at Mile High
These teams are familiar with each other as this is a rematch of the 2016 title game, won 36-14 by Pine Creek.
Pine Creek is in the championship game for third time in four seasons and fifth time since 2011. The Eagles are after their fourth crown. Pine Creek's strength is its offense, as it has outscored its playoff opponents 137-30, including 34-0 against Pueblo West in the semifinals. Senior running back David Moore III will complete a storied career, one that has him currently in fourth-place all-time with 7,515 rushing yards (92 TDs). On the season Moore has 2,490 yards and 34 TDs. Perhaps more impressive is that Moore is averaging 12.7 yards per carry in the playoffs (55 carries, 664 yards). Pine Creek, whose only loss came to Valor Christian, also has balance in the passing game with
. He has passed for 1,670 yards and 24 TDs against only five interceptions. Elias Rolfe
leads the defense with 8.5 sacks and 60 tackles.
Broomfield, also the Eagles, counters with the state's leading rusher in Caden Peters (2,568 yards, 22 TDs). The senior has done the heavy lifting in the playoffs, including last week in the semifinals against Dakota Ridge (Littleton) when he carried 26 times for 194 yards and two TDs. Broomfield survived a 17-15 thriller thanks to a 25-yard, last-second field goal from
. The Eagles showed some grit, too, converting three fourth downs on the fateful drive. Much of the pressure Saturday figures to rest with the Broomfield defense. The unit has not yielded more than 17 points in any game this season, while allowing only 122 points total. Linebackers Simon Worthley
, a senior, and junior Hall Edmonds
have been the leaders on the defensive side, with 74 tackles each.Class 3A // Bracket(4) Palmer Ridge (11-2) vs. (2) Pueblo South (12-1), 1 p.m., Colorado State-Pueblo
This one will be a rematch from a Sept. 27 game won 24-19 by Palmer Ridge at the same site. Pueblo South
led 13-10 at halftime, before
Anthony Roberson II
, Raef Ruel
and the rest of the Bears rallied late. Roberson II, the all-time state leader in career receiving yards, played quarterback in that first meeting while starting signal-caller Luke McAllister
missed the game for team reasons. McAllister is the third-leading passer in 3A with 2,346 yards, 24 TDs against only two interceptions, giving the Bears a triple-threat in Round 2. He most certainly will look to Roberson II, who has 49 receptions for 1,000 yards and 11 scores this season. For his career, he has 208 receptions and 4,002 yards, which broke the previous mark of 3,900 yards, set by Grand Junction's Ryan Lenderman (1986-89). As if that duo wasn't enough, running back Ruel chews up yards on the ground, amassing 1,715 and 31 TDs this season. He has been the ultimate workhorse in the playoffs, churning for nearly 700 of those yards (10 TDs). Most impressive, he has carried the ball 81 times the past two weeks.
Pueblo South is no stranger to the bright lights as the Colts won the 4A title in 2017 before dropping down a classification. The offense features its own three-pronged attack every bit as robust as that of Palmer Ridge. Junior
is the fourth-leading rusher in the state overall with 1,827 yards and 22 TDs. Senior wide receiver Jackson Dickerson
keeps defenses honest on the outside, as he's hauled in 65 catches for more than 1,110 yards (second-best in 3A) and a whopping 17 TDs. Getting them both the ball is quarterback Logan Petit
. Petit has passed for nearly 2,100 yards and 22 TDs but will need to protect against the turnover: he has 13 interceptions on the season. Of note, defensively Jace Bellah
has been a ball hawk for the Colts. His seven interceptions are tied for second-best in the state.