Few surprises were found in week one of conference play in Class 1A. Favorites picked up wins in almost every game but some of the week one winners now square off this weekend. Results there will give fans a good indication of which teams may go on to land league championships.
Bennett (1-0) at Vail Christian (0-1)
Manual (1-0) at Clear Creek (0-1)
Platte Canyon (1-0) at Front Range Christian (0-1)
The most important game is likely the Manual-Clear Creek matchup but we must start with top ranked Bennett as they put up video-game like numbers last week. In slamming Clear Creek 76-36, the Tigers totaled a whopping 647 yards rushing including 515 in the first half. The averaged 18.5 yards per carry and scored ten touchdowns on the ground. And they reached those numbers despite missing Jesse Rodriguez for a second straight game.
QB Rocky Lechman continued his high octane season with 322 yards and five scores on only nine carries. He now sits at 1,161 yards for the season. Mason Wakeham also rushed for a career best 210 yards and a touchdown.
The effort pushed Bennett’s team average to 508 yards per game on the ground. And they should have another big game on the road at Vail Christian Friday. The saints threw the ball 45 times last week with Tom Engleby completing 22 for 265 yards.
Clear Creek looks to bounce back in what is a very important game with Manual. Both teams are 4-1 on the season and each probably needs to land a wildcard berth to make the playoffs. RPI wise, Clear Creek is 8th entering the week but Manual is 16th.
Manual picked up 248 yards rushing in their win over Front Range Christian (27-0) and you can be the Thunderbolts will look to run the football again this week. Clear Creek is just the opposite. They threw the ball 49 times against Bennett last week and Ty Judge ended the game with 406 yards and five touchdowns. The ‘Diggers ran the ball just five times as they played from behind from the get-go.
Platte Canyon totaled 249 yards rushing in their win over Vail Christian. The Huskies will be favored on the road at Front Range Christian again this week. Mathias Johnston led the Huskies with 84 yards and Trevor Sander added 72 with three scores.
Wiggins (0-1) at Wray (0-1)
Burlington (1-0) at Yuma (1-0)
Holyoke (0-1) at Limon (1-0)
Yuma opened league play with a 20-14 win over Wiggins and an upset of Burlington this week puts the Indians right in the middle of the playoff chase. They enter week six at 2-3 on the season but winners of their last two. Defense carried them last week as they limited Wiggins to just 31 plays for the entire game.
Burlington overpowered Holyoke 40-7 last week and with two losses, the Cougars are flying a bit under the radar statewide. But the losses are against #1 Bennett and #3 Strasburg and Coach Glynn Higgs’ club played well in both outings.
Limon posted their third shutout of the season in collecting an important 13-0 road win at Wray late Friday. Wray finished with 170 yards rushing but other than a 15 and 26 yard run, the Eagles could not break off the big play. Limon’s defense also forced three turnovers including fumble recoveries from Kory Tacha and Javier Zamora. Braden Sandersfeld also intercepted a pass.
Offensively, Limon ran for 234 yards and both Hauk Hubbard and Tacha scored. Hubbard led the team with 168 yards and tops the team in rushing for the season.
Holyoke has played a tough schedule and won’t be an easy out of the Badgers. The Dragons though have struggled to score in losses; managing just 20 points in losses to Meeker, Burlington and Machebeuf.
Wray fell to 2-3 with last week’s loss and down to 25th in the RPI. The Eagles likely need to win out to make a serious push for the playoffs. They’ll be favored in their next two and then close against Burlington in what could be a very important game in getting to the post-season.
Cornerstone Christian (1-0) at Highland (0-1)
Lyons (0-1) at Estes Park (0-1)
Strasburg (1-0) at Byers (1-0) – (SAT)
Strasburg is the defending state champion and played like one in last week’s 42-0 win over Highland. The Indians made some changes in the offensive lineup during the week and it paid off to the tune of 307 yards rushing.
Nine players picked up at least 10 yards rushing as the Indians spread the ball around like they did during their state championship run. Leading rusher Hunter Bergstrom totaled just 39 yards but Michael Spence picked up some of the slack with 93 yards and two scores.
Byers continues to improve. The Bulldogs beat Estes Park 42-18 last week and have beaten the Bobcats for their last two wins. Rhett Davis ran for 268 yards and three touchdowns and James Linnenbur added 96 and another score. Both teams committed four turnovers.
Highland gained just four yards rushing against Strasburg last week and must be better against Cornerstone Christian this week. It’s a very important game for both teams and their playoff potential. The Huskies dropped to 18th in RPI this week while Cornerstone bumped to 9th thanks to a dominating win over Lyons (41-7).
With 248 yards rushing, Brayden Kelch led the Cornerstone Christian. They tallied 369 yards on the ground and received 100 combined passing yards from Zach Dube and Nate Roach. Cornerstone began varsity football in2 010 and has never made the playoffs. A win over Highland this Friday could get them there.
Dolores Huerta (0-1) at Ellicott (0-0)
Rocky Ford (0-1) at Trinidad (1-0)
Crowley County (1-0) – BYE
There are four weeks of conference play remaining but Crowley County took a major step to winning another conference championship by beating Rocky Ford 40-8 last week. The rest of the league is a combined 6-15 so the Chargers stepped into the drivers’ seat with the victory.
The bye comes at a perfect time for Crowley County. It was a very physical game and the Chargers defense faced 70 plays on the afternoon. Several players got banged up so Coach Brandon Roe’s club can likely use the extra week to get healthy.
Cannan Gehringer ran for 154 yards and Bradley Clabey passed for 115 yards and three touchdowns. He connected twice with Michael Cortes on scoring passes including one right before halftime that put the game out of reach.
Because of the loss, Rocky Ford must focus on winning their remaining games. It starts on Friday at Trinidad where the Miners are coming off a second straight win. Josiah Portenier leads Trinidad in rushing (320 yards) and passing (478) but attempted only two passes and did not run the football in last week’s win over Dolores Huerta.
Brandon Robinson stepped in nicely and lead the ground game with 177 yards helping the Miners total 325 for the game. Matt Martinez added 57 yards passing.
Ellicott had the bye last week. They’re looking to shake off a rough 1-4 trek through non-league play. A playoff team the last two seasons, the Thunderhawks might need to win the league title to make it three straight appearances. They’ll be favored at home against Dolores Huerta but have a big game with Crowley County next week.
Monte Vista (1-0) at Centauri (0-0)
Ignacio (0-1) at Dolores (1-0)
John Mall (0-1) – BYE
Each year it seems the matchup between Centauri and Monte Vista decides the league championship. That wasn’t the complete case a year ago. Centauri won the head-to-head battle 8-6 but a later loss to Center cost them a playoff berth as they ended up at the tail end of a three-team tiebreaker. It was a costly tiebreaker as it prevented the Falcons from making the playoffs.
Centauri has had two weeks to prep for the matchup as they worked through a bye last weekend. The Defensively, the Falcons have been stingy giving up only 37 points in five wins. Bennie Chacon is the top tackler with 70 and Adam Chacon has 50. Brian Shawcroft is sixth on the team in tackles with 28 but still leads the defense with 7.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. Brandon Buhr (3) and Nate Anderson (2) have also combined for five interceptions.
Anderson also quarterbacks the team and has 632 total yards on that side of the ball. He’s thrown five touchdown passes with four of them in the direction of Sam Anderson. Taj Cornum (434 yards) and Buhr (367) head up the ground attack and have combined for 11 scores.
Monte Vista may try to shorten the game with Jacob Chavez. The running back has churned out 738 yards and 10 touchdowns in five games. If he has a big game, the Pirates can move the chains and limit the chances for the Centauri offense. Chavez has gained at least 167 in each of the three wins but totaled just 197 in the two losses.
The Pirates won five straight in the series from 2004-08 but since, the same team has won in back-to-back seasons only once. Centauri managed that in 2013-14 and overall has won three of the last four.
Watching the game with great interest is Dolores. The Bears are 3-2 and coming off a conference win over John Mall last week. Bears QB Justin Purkat has been involved in 13 touchdowns this year and has over 11-hundred yards of total offense. Forest Pejsa set the school record for tackles last season and is second on the team this year with 56. Austin Hackney is the leader with 67 stops including 16 behind the line of scrimmage.
Buena Vista (1-0) at Colorado Springs Christian (1-0)
Rye (0-1) at Lake County (0-1)
St Mary’s (0-1) and Peyton (1-0)
Buena Vista got off the snide last week posting their first victory of the season; beating Lake County 42-16. Now the Demons can shake up the entire league chase by upsetting the 4-1 Lions in Colorado Springs. CSCS has won four in a row since falling to Crowley County in their opener.
After scoring just 41 points in their first four games, the Demons surpassed that total in one game last week. Parker Johnson threw for 168 yards and three scores and ran for two touchdowns and 48 yards. Jordan Yates, Andy Limoncelli and Cain Lairdon all caught touchdown passes.
Johnson faces a CSCS defense that has forced 12 turnovers this season. Nine of those are fumble recoveries including four from Freshman Joe Gunn. With 46, Peyton Bones is the top tackler and leads the squad with ten behind the line of scrimmage. Austin Gaylor has added 40 tackles.
The Lions offense generated 341 yards rushing in the 27-9 win over St Mary’s including 129 from Gabe Danzik. The senior also scored twice. Jordan Greager chipped in 101 yards and another score.
Peyton is the returning league champion and began that defense by downing Rye 49-7. They used 29 fourth quarter points to blow it open. The Panthers picked up 260 yards rushing and average 270 on the year. Four backs total between 255 and 383 yards for the season. Tyler Noffsinger led the way last week with 111 yards. Gunner Saarela was next with 94 and Trevor Walker added 58.
Cedaredge (0-1) at Olathe (1-0)
Meeker (1-0) at Grand Valley (0-1)
Paonia (1-0) at Hotchkiss (0-1).
We’re not surprised that Olathe, Meeker and Paonia collected wins in the opening round of league play but the margin of victory was bigger than expected. Meeker dumped Hotchkiss 36-7, Olathe beat Grand Valley 47-17 and Paonia clubbed Cedaredge 49-8. Add up the numbers and the average margin of victory was 34 points.
None of the first week winners square off this week so we could see more of the same type of result.
Meeker last week led 36-0 at halftime and cruised to their 5th straight win. Logan Hughes was nearly perfect completing 13 of 17 passes for 212 yards and two scores. Doak Mantle added two touchdowns on the ground.
Paonia ran for 223 yards against Cedaredge including 145 from Jaden Miller. Miller also scored three touchdowns and Jesse Burns two. Miller is now up to 784 yards on the season and has 13 touchdowns over the last four games.
Defensively, the Eagles will focus on Hotchkiss running back Colton Peebles. He totaled 183 yards in the loss to Meeker.
The stats are not posted but Olathe’s run defense was much better against Grand Valley. That after allowing over 500 yards to Coal Ridge the week before. The Pirates are 13th in RPI this week and could use another win to improve that standing.
Meeker is second in the RPI standings through five weeks. Paonia is 11th and Hotchkiss 14th. Cedaredge and Grand Valley sit 23rd and 24th.