4A FOOTBALL PREVIEW FOR WEEK 9

An undefeated mark eight weeks into the season speaks volumes by itself, but the Loveland football team has managed to add style points.

En route to their 8-0 mark, the Indians have shut out four opponents, allowed only two to reach double digits, have played in only one one-score game and have outscored opponents by a composite 359-49.

For the non-math experts, that’s a 310-point spread, which is approaching an average margin of 40 points per game. But you don’t need to be adept at trigonometry or calculus to understand that coach Wayne McGinn’s Indians have simply been dominant.

They have the opportunity to wrap up the Class 4A Longs Peak League at home Thursday night against Brighton (6:30 p.m., Ray Patterson Field) in a matchup involving the league’s lone 3-0 teams. Loveland has already defeated third-place Broomfield, so a win here provides the Indians the title outright with a week to play.

Junior quarterback Ryan Kinney possesses an absurd touchdown-per-attempt ratio, as he has tossed 15 in only 51 pass attempts. Kinney (34-for-51, 863 yards) has spread the scoring wealth to five different receivers and is averaging a hefty, nearly-as-absurd 25.4 yards per completion. The timely passing game has been set up by a dominant rushing attack that averages 319 yards a game, led by junior Zach Weinmaster (893 yards, 15 touchdowns).

Defensively, junior outside linebacker Trey Cardenas has led the way with 54 tackles – including 11 for a loss – and five sacks. The fine print will tell you that the Indians have played only one opponent that is currently .500 or better (that’s Broomfield, which is 4-4), which might explain why they only are ranked No. 6. But the Indians have done what good teams do against inferior opponents – put them away early.

That’s why Brighton figures to provide such a solid test this week. The Bulldogs (6-2 overall) have won four straight and have outscored their opponents 229-93 overall. Drake Cortez has proven to be a reliable threat on the outside for quarterback Robbie Coffin, and running back Jes Ramirez has already found the end zone 14 times for coach Casey Pelton’s group. Nathan Baca has been a ball hawk with 78 tackles and Daniel Wilson has picked off five passes.

While this one will get the week off to a good start Thursday, here are a few others to keep tabs on this week:

 

Dakota Ridge at Chatfield (7 p.m., Friday, Jeffco Stadium)

The Plains League is likely at stake here as each team enters 3-0 in league play. Fourth-ranked Chatfield (7-1) is rolling, having won seven straight after an out-of-state loss to begin the season. Running back Ben Frenette is 53 yards away from the 1,000-yard plateau and has scored 13 TDs. Dakota Ridge (5-3) has resurrected its season, having won four straight since a 1-3 start. The Eagles have topped the 40-point mark in three straight weeks, including last week in a 42-21 win over Heritage in which Jered Garcia rushed for three touchdowns. Dakota Ridge can win the league outright with an upset here.

 

Standley Lake at Denver South (4 p.m., All City Stadium)

This one most likely will determine second place within the Mountain League. While Fruita Monument appears poised to win the league after last week’s convincing victory over Standley Lake, the Gators (6-2, 2-1) will look to get back on track here. After a rough start to the season, Denver South (4-4, 2-1) has won five of its past six and is getting a solid season from quarterback Kwesi Singleton. Martin Jiple has provided a big-play target on the outside, averaging 19 yards on his 23 receptions.

 

Skyline at Windsor (7 p.m., Friday)

This battle of 7-1 squads should capture the attention of the classification, as Skyline looks to take an immense step in its surge into contender status. No. 4 Windsor, meanwhile, will take a business-as-usual approach as the Wizards aim to nail down the Northern League. This one will pit strength against strength, as Skyline’s high-powered offensive attack will seek to find wiggle room against Windsor’s lockdown defense. Skyline’s Jeremy Hollingsworth has rushed for 1,528 yards and 27 touchdowns, but he hasn’t yet faced a defense of this caliber. Windsor’s Darren Peeples has intercepted four passes, while Nathan Cole and Brett Freitag have combined for 21 tackles for a loss.

 

Pine Creek at Widefield (7 p.m., Friday)

Pine Creek (7-1, 3-0) will look to take another step toward securing the Southern League while Widefield is seeking a monumental upset. Second-ranked Pine Creek has been very much its vintage self this season despite several key graduations, and sophomore Derek Moore is a single yard shy of 1,000. Assuming he plays, it’s a safe bet that he gets it considering he’s averaging about 125 yards a game. Xavier Hill, Daniel Bone and Max Lofy have been terrors to the opposing passing game, having combined for 14 interceptions. Widefield (6-2, 2-1) won’t be afraid to test them, as quarterback TJ Davis has thrown for 15 touchdowns. If the passing game is locked down, Davis can do it with his feet as well, having rushed for another 12 scores.

 

Also in action this week is top-ranked Ponderosa, which will welcome Cheyenne Mountain to its home turf (1 p.m., Saturday). The Mustangs (8-0) finally yielded points last week in a 26-7 win against Grand Junction Central, which snapped a streak of three consecutive shutouts.

Other ranked teams on the schedule this week include No. 5 Fruita Monument (8-0), which routed Standley Lake 42-8 last week behind 14 tackles and a sack from Ryan Ficken to remain unbeaten. The Wildcats play host to George Washington (6 p.m., Friday).

Meanwhile, No. 7 Pueblo West is at home against Pueblo Centennial (7 p.m., Friday), No. 8 Pueblo South is home against Sand Creek (7 p.m., Friday), No. 9 Monarch is at Fort Collins (6 p.m., Thursday) and No. 10 Rampart is at Coronado (7 p.m., Friday).


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Paul Willis

A newspaper veteran who has covered various levels of high school, college and pro sports, Paul's career has included stops at the Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post and Daily Camera. He currently is a content specialist for LinnellTaylor Marketing and continues to cover sports on a freelance basis.

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