Once we hit the weekend in 1A football, more conference races could be sorted out and the playoff picture could become a bit clearer.Â Just two conference features matchups of first place teams and those games can be found in the Western Slope and Santa Fe.Â Updates on each conference are included in our report this week and records posted are league marks for each club.
Cedaredge (0-2) at Meeker (2-0)
Hotchkiss (0-2) at Grand Valley (0-2)
Paonia (2-0) at Olathe (2-0)
This is the only conference with three teams sitting at 2-0 so Fridayâ€™s meeting between Paonia and Olathe could be the most important across the classification this week.Â The winner likely ends up tied for first place with Meeker as the Cowboys are favored at home against Cedaredge.
Each team is coming off a tight league battle.Â Olathe held off Cedaredge 21-14 and Paonia edged Hotchkiss 28-21.Â Since both clubs prefer to run the football, line play will be the difference this one.Â Whichever team controls play up front should end up on tap and keep at least a share of the conference lead.
Jaden Miller continues to be the focus of the Paonia offense.Â The senior has 931 yards and 14 touchdowns this season and no opponent has held him below 140 yards this year.Â Heâ€™s also scored at least three touchdowns in four games this year including a season best four in the blowout of Roaring Fork.
Olathe has not posted game stats since week two but in their first two wins ran the ball 79 times and threw it just six.Â TB Cesar Suarez and QB Dante Nelson get most of the carries for Coach Ryan Cornâ€™s club.
The outcome is also important to the RPI standings as Paonia is 9th and Olathe 14th.Â The winner of course stays in the league championship chase but also stays alive to earn the top wildcard spot and play at home in the opening round of the playoffs.
Meeker is third in the RPI points this week and closes with games against Paonia and Olathe.Â Theyâ€™ve outscored opponents 209-34 this year but cannot look past Cedaredge.Â The Bruins have just two wins but as mentioned put together a strong effort in last weekâ€™s game with Olathe.Â They ran for 216 yards including 88 from Ty Grant and 67 from Pedro Madaleno.
QB Logan Hughes went past the 1,000 yard mark in passing yards for the third time in his career last week.Â The senior needs another 119 yards to reach 5,000 for his career.Â One more TD pass also gives him 50 in a Cowboy uniform.
Crowley County (1-0) at Ellicott (1-0)
Dolores Huerta (0-2) at Rocky Ford (1-1)
Trinidad (1-1) â€“ BYE
Ellicott came roaring back from their bye week in blowing past Dolores Huerta 61-0 to end their four-game losing streak.Â But they know a much better effort will be needed against pre-season league favorite Crowley County.
The Chargers are the team coming off a bye this week as they used the extra time to recover from a physical 40-8 win over Rocky Ford to open league play.
Both teams were playoff clubs a year but Crowley County won the head-to-head league matchup 48-20.Â They scored twice in each of the three first quarters and controlled most of the game.Â Crowley ran for 430 yards and seven touchdowns including 86 from Cannan Gehringer and 83 from Chris Meyer who both return to the Chargers offense this year.Â Ellicott ran for 127 yards including 65 from returnee Chianteâ€™ Stewart.
Stewart is over 1,000 yards rushing this year including three games of at least 200 yards.Â Heâ€™s also thrown for 469 yards and five touchdowns including three last week against the Scorpions.Â Gehringer has 376 yards in his last two games for Crowley and 607 for the season.Â Meyer has moved to the outside this year but leads the Chargers with 21 catches for 384 yards and six scores.
As mentioned, Rocky Ford lost their league opener to Crowley County and if the Chargers get by Ellicott this week, it will be difficult for the Meloneers to finish higher than second.Â Theyâ€™re battling for a playoff spot as they enter week seven 20th in RPI points.Â Only the top 16 advance.
Front Range Christian (0-2) at Bennett (2-0)
Vail Christian (0-2) at Clear Creek (1-1)
Manual (1-1) at Platte Canyon (2-0) â€“ Saturday
If the playoffs opened this week, four league teams would be in the bracket as Bennett sits 1st, Clear Creek 6th, Platte Canyon 7th and Manual 16th in RPI standings.Â That makes Saturdayâ€™s battle between Manual and Platte Canyon very important inside the conference and outside concerning the post-season picture.
Manual opened 3-0 but has dropped two of their last three contests including last weekâ€™s 48-26 loss to Clear Creek.Â The game was tied at 20 going to halftime but the Golddiggers outscored the Thunderbolts 28-6 in the second half.
The Thunderbolts gave up 270 yards and four touchdowns passing in the loss but the secondary wonâ€™t be challenged in the same manner this week.Â Against Platte Canyon, the safeties will likely be close to the line of scrimmage to try and control the Huskies running game which churns out 266 yards per game.Â On the season, Platte Canyon has attempted only 12 passes.
Trevor Sander leads the Huskies with 423 yards and nine scores.Â Colton Carson has chipped in 281 and Mathias Johnston 251.Â Itâ€™s not a big play offense as Coach Mike Schmidt simply wants to move the chains every two or three plays.Â His club averages almost six yards per carry.
At 277 yards per game, Manual has a better per game average than Platte Canyon.Â Masiah Hudson is the biggest threat.Â The senior has 1,145 yards and 12 touchdowns this season while averaging nearly 16 yards per attempt.Â Hudson ran for a career best 354 yards and four TDâ€™s last week.
The rest of the team has totaled 514 yards on the ground and QB Tayvon Toliver has added 300 yards passing.
Bennett and Clear Creek should roll to easy victories this week.Â Both opponents are just 1-5 on the season and have given up 369 combined points.
Limon (2-0) at Wiggins (0-2)
Wray (1-1) at Burlington (2-0)
Yuma (1-1) at Holyoke (0-2)
Results through the first two rounds of league play point to another season ending clash between Limon and Burlington to determine the league champion.Â Limon has posted back-to-back shutouts over Wray and Holyoke to start their conference run and Burlington has won with offense, totaling 40 points in each win over Holyoke and Yuma.
Record wise, Burlington has the tougher chore this week against a Wray club still battling for a playoff berth.Â Theyâ€™re 19th in RPI points this week and coming off a 40-8 thrashing of Wiggins.Â How well the Eagles can run the football could determine their outcome against Burlington.Â Coach Levi Kramerâ€™s club averages 391 yards per game in wins but just 179 in three losses.Â Theyâ€™ve also scored 16 touchdowns on the ground in victories and just two in losses.
Cade Hillman is the main threat.Â He needs 145 yards to reach 1,000 for the season and leads the Eagles with 11 touchdowns.Â Emmanual Huerta is next on the rushing chart with 330 while both Dax Collins and Junior Arambula are over 125 yards.
Burlington was held to just six points in an opening loss to Strasburg but has not been held below 38 since.Â The 38-point effort was in a quality loss to top ranked Bennett.Â Complete season stats are not posted to MaxPreps but the Cougars have several threats in the backfield including QB Case Reiber, RB Kaden Meurisse and WRs Jonah and Micah Hanson.
Wiggins picks up 183 yards per game on the ground and would like to establish the running game against Limon.Â Thatâ€™s easier said than done.Â The Badgers defense gave up 170 yards rushing to Wray and shut down the Holyoke running game.Â Limon also limited defending state champion Strasburg to 166 yards in week four.
Byers (1-1) at Cornerstone Christian (1-1)
Estes Park (0-2) at Strasburg (2-0)
Highland (1-1) at Lyons (1-1)
Positioning behind Strasburg the goal for the four 1-1 teams that square off this week.Â With the defending state champions expected to get by Estes Park with ease, only the winners of the two remaining contests will stay one game back of the Indians.
Following an opening loss to Strasburg, Highland had to beat Cornerstone Christian last week to stay in the title chase and thatâ€™s exactly what the Huskies did.Â Defense led the way as the Huskies limited Brayden Kelch to just 30 yards on 12 carries.Â He entered the contest with 607 yards over the previous three games but could not find any open space against the Huskies.Â Koby Anderson led that charge with 11 tackles and Ulysses Jaquez had nine.Â Four turnovers were forced and both Anderson and Trey Allmon returned a fumble for a touchdown.
Allmon also scored the lone offensive touchdown for the Huskies.Â He finished with 116 yards as Highland ran for 243 yards and averaged nearly six yards per attempt.
That defense faces a Lyons club coming off their best offensive effort of the season in their 31-6 win over Estes Park.Â Jake Laurienti totaled 184 yards and scored four touchdowns for a team that had scored just 47 points in their first five outings.
Byers opened league play by downing Estes Park 42-18 and played well into the third quarter against Strasburg before falling 57-20.Â They allowed 499 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground so Cornerstone hopes to re-establish the ground game with Kelch this week.
Ignacio (1-1) at Centauri (1-0)
Monte Vista (1-1) at John Mall (0-1)
Dolores (1-1) â€“ BYE
Centauri scored a very important win over Monte Vista last week but Ignacio made the race a bit more interesting with their win over Dolores last week.Â Now the two teams collide on Friday in what suddenly is an important matchup.
A quick start defensively led Centauri to the rivalry win over Monte.Â Taj Cornum returned a first quarter interception for a touchdown and another turnover led to the Falcons second score.Â Bennie Chacon finished with 21 tackles and Adam Chacon added 15 and Jackson Price 12.Â Cornum paced the ground game with 87 yards.
Ignacio opened conference action by falling to Monte Vista 28-7 but last weekâ€™s unexpected win over Dolores (35-14) kept their playoff hopes alive.Â The win also snapped the Bears three-game winning streak.Â The Bobcats hope to rely on big play ability on offense to stun the Falcons and earn a share of first place.
Monte Vista is 13th in RPI points so despite last weekâ€™s loss, the Pirates are still very much alive for a playoff berth.Â Their offense could get healthy against a Panthers defense giving up 33 points per game.Â John Mall had their league by last week but lost to Dolores (19-0) in their opener on September 29th.
Buena Vista (2-0) at St Maryâ€™s (0-2)
Rye (0-2) at Colorado Springs Christian (1-1)
Lake County (1-1) at Peyton (2-0)
Peyton is the defending league champion and expected to be at the top of the standings, but following an 0-4 start, very few expected Buena Vista to be there with them.Â The Demons though used an outstanding catch from Jordan Yates on a touchdown pass to stun Colorado Springs Christian 14-6 last week.Â The win was the second straight for the Demons and kept them in the thick of the league championship chase.
QB Parker Johnson completed just five passes on the day but four went to Yates who finished with 40 yards and the tremendous one-handed reception.Â Johnson was more effective on the ground; rushing for a season high 127 yards on just 10 carries.Â He had picked up only 123 yards rushing in the previous five games.
St Maryâ€™s has yet to taste victory but the Pirates have been close against two quality clubs.Â They fell to Manitou Springs by just seven points in the opener and then pushed Rocky Ford to a 20-17 decision.Â Buena Vista cannot afford to look past the Pirates as a loss there could end any hope of a playoff berth.
Peyton has outscored league opponents Rye and St Maryâ€™s by a combined 81 points in rolling up two wins.Â The Panthers ran for 260 against Rye and 216 against St Maryâ€™s.Â QB Trevor Walker has also been a threat in the passing game totaling 128 yards and three scores against the Thunderbolts and 93 and two against the Pirates.Â Before those two games, the senior had just 99 yards and two touchdowns through the air in four games.
Colorado Springs Christian needs a rebound win to keep thinking about the playoffs.Â The Lions, sitting in 17th, would be on the outside looking-in if the post-season bracket was determined this week.Â They managed just 193 yards of offense and committed two turnovers against Buena Vista.