There are two very attractive matchups in the 1A football semifinals this Saturday as unbeatens Centauri and Buena Vista face off while league rivals Limon and Wray collide for a second time this year and sixth time in the past six years.  Winners move to the state championship game the following Saturday at 1:00pm in Pueblo.




Saturday marks the third straight year the two North Central league rivals will meet in the playoffs.  Limon is the three-time defending state champions so they won the two previous matchups; downing the Eagles 24-14 in the semifinals last year and also 41-14 in the 2019 quarterfinals.  The Badgers also dominated the regular season matchup this year 41-0.

Expect a closer game in the rematch as the Eagles have won four straight since the loss to Limon with the defense playing at a high level over that stretch.  That group has allowed just 30 points in the past month and held a powerful Florence offense to 11 total yards in last week’s 36-7 quarterfinal win.  Florence ran the ball 44 times but was pushed back to a minus 33 yards.  Tell Wade had 10 tackles, Brady Collins added seven and the Eagles overall recorded 9.5 sacks.  Wade and Collins combined for six with Bryant Schoenthal adding another 2.5.

Wray’s defense has allowed just 30 points in four games since the regular season loss to Limon. PHOTO PROVIDED BY OT SPORTS CHECK

The defense also limited Highland to 89 yards rushing in the first-round win over the Huskies (34-9).  Collins had 10 tackles and Ryce Peterson finished with eight.  Peterson and Jackson Bledsoe each recovered a fumble as well.

The Eagles defense faces a Limon offense that has rushed for 708 yards in playoff wins over Bennett (45-0) and North Fork (46-19).  Jeremiah Leeper ran for 108 yards in round one and then nearly doubled that with 209 yards in last week’s win over North Fork.  Gabe Schubarth has been over 100 yards in each win with a total of 219 yards and four touchdowns.  QB Trey Hines has needed to complete just six passes in the postseason but three have gone for touchdowns with all three tosses to Brady Rockwell.

Ky Bandy continues to lead the Badgers defense.  He has 17 tackles in the playoffs including 11 against North Fork a week ago.  The Badgers have also forced five turnovers in the two wins.  North Fork’s 19 points were just the fourth time an opponent has reached double digits against the Limon defense.

Freshman QB Casey Midcap has thrown for 273 yards with three scores in his first two playoff games.  He added 55 yards rushing in the opening win over Highland.  Caeden Bauer ran for 90 yards against Highland and then went for 122 in last week’s road win at Florence.  Brady Collins added 103 and two touchdowns in last week’s victory.

None of those three were able to generate much offense in the regular season loss to Limon.  The Eagles overall, created just 156 total yards with Midcap completing just four of 14 attempts.  Bauer was limited to 40 yards rushing.  The Badgers meantime ran for 315 yards with Leeper getting 107 and Schubarth 97.  Hines added 74 yards rushing and also connected with Rockwell for a scoring pass.  Bandy registered 11 tackles and Schubarth seven.

  • PLAYOFF HISTORY: As mentioned, Limon has won the last two playoff matchups and leads the overall series 5-3.  Wray had won the previous two battles in 2009 and 2010.  Limon is in the semifinals for a fourth straight year and is two wins away from a fourth consecutive state championship and a state best 21st in school history.  Wray is in the Final Four for a second straight year and posted their last win in this round in 2010 and ironically beat Limon 49-6.


Both clubs enter the 1A semifinals with unbeaten records but they’ve taken completely different routes to get there.  Centauri moved past Wray 28-14 in their season opener and has won their remaining nine games by at least 29 points.  Buena Vista meantime has four wins by single digits and rallied from 14 points down in two of them to gain the victory.  They also rallied past Meeker 22-15 in the quarterfinals just one week ago.

Buena Vista is unbeaten this year with four wins coming by single digits including last week’s overtime win against Meeker. PHOTO BY DAVID SCHIEFELBEIN/ CHAFEE COUNTY TIMES

In that win, the Demons picked up a fourth quarter touchdown to tie the game 15-15 at the end of the regulation.  In the overtime period, Buena Vista took the first possession and scored a touchdown; then watched Seth Moss seal the win with an interception on the first play from Meeker.  It was one of two picks on the day for Moss who also finished with 11 tackles.

Tucker Storms also recorded 11 tackles in the win and had plenty of support from Ethan Flavin (9) and Orion Herrie (8).  They allowed 192 yards rushing and two scores to the Cowboys but did enough to post another late win for the Demons.

The offense ran for 298 yards and two scores with both touchdowns coming from Hayden Camp.  He finished with 96 yards while Jacob Phelps led the way with 137.  Both were over 100 yards in the opening playoff win over Gunnison.  Camp has three TD passes in the playoffs with all three going to Storms.

Centauri’s offense was boosted the return of standout tailback Mason Claunch last week.  He had been limited to just six games due to injury but returned with 119 yards and a touchdown in last week’s hard-fought win over Yuma.  The Falcons ended up with a 33-point win (40-7) but led just 20-7 so it was one of the few times the front-line players got extended minutes in the third and fourth quarters.

QB Byron Shawcroft threw four TD passes in last week’s quarterfinal win over Yuma. PHOTO BY OT SPORTSCHECK

QB Bryon Shawcroft also played a high-level last week; tossing four touchdowns including two to Baron Holman.  Deven Brady and Peyton Polzin each caught one.  Holman added a whopping 21 tackles and Chaz Holman chipped in 17.  Zach Buhr had 15 and Claunch 14 as the Falcons slowed down the running game of Yuma.

Brady is another key for Centauri.  With Claunch back in the lineup, he won’t get as many touches in the running game but can score in various ways as he returned both an interception and punt return against Peyton in a first round win.  The Falcons dominated that game; leading 26-0 after one quarter and 45-0 at halftime on their way to a 45-6 decision.  By comparison, Buena Vista knocked off the Panthers 21-8 in the regular season.

  • PLAYOFF HISTORY: Buena Vista has won both previous playoff meetings; recording a 48-8 win in 2015 and 52-20 decision in 1979.  Centauri is in the semifinals for a fifth straight season with their last win coming in 2017 where they toppled Limon 20-12.  Buena Vista reached the semifinals during this past spring season but fell short to Manitou Springs.  They scored their last semifinal win in 2015 on their way to the state championship.