With #1 Kent Denver, #2 Bayfield and #7 Sterling having byes and coming off a week that included four top 10 matchups, the Class 2A schedule this week is a bit then.  There’s one meeting of ranked clubs as #4 Classical Academy heads to #10 D’Evelyn and if you look hard enough, there are other attractive matchups.
Many of the games on our list are important to RPI standings which will be released for the first time next Tuesday.  Teams that don’t win conference championships must rely on their RPI standing to earn a playoff berth.
#4 Classical Academy (2-0) at #10 D’Evelyn (1-1)
Both teams have already played Sterling so the #5 Tigers serve as the comparison in this one.  And based on those results, Classical Academy is favored as they earned a 17-point win last week while the Jags lost at Sterling 42-28 in week one.
With Sterling’s defense focused on slowing down talented QB Cade Bethany, Brayden Luft had a big day rushing for 168 yards in the win.  Bethany threw for 76 yards but was limited to just 19 rushing.  The Titans defense was also strong as they forced three turnovers with John Bull picking off two passes.
D’Evelyn bounced back from the Sterling loss to take out local rival Green Mountain 21-10 last week.  Cody Dines threw for 303 yards and three touchdowns giving him 680 yards and five scores through two games.  Cody Bell caught two of the scoring passes and finished with five catches and 101 yards.  Cullen Flynn latched onto a career best 10 receptions for 128 yards and the third score.  Flynn now has 17 catches in two games after ending 2016 with just three catches overall.
#3 La Junta (2-0) at Elizabeth (2-0)
After blowing past Gunnison 42-0 in their first game as defending state champions, La Junta worked their way through a slugfest last week holding off Alamosa 21-13.  They’ll be favored again this week but must focus on the task at hand and not the week four state championship rematch with top ranked Kent Denver.
The Tigers used 116 yards rushing from Wyatt Buhr and 98 from Jon Nuschy in getting past Alamosa.  Each scored a touchdown.  Nuschy added 109 yards passing and a scoring pass to Matthew Espinoza.  Espinoza was his main target ending up with four of the seven completions.
Despite being the underdog, Elizabeth also checks in with two wins in two weeks.  They’ve come in different fashion.  The Cardinals rallied from a 14-0 deficit to take out Woodland Park 21-14 in week one and then rolled past Alameda 41-6 last week.  Reece Ullery has been a factor in both wins.  He ran for 209 yards in the Woodland Park win and added 116 on just eight carries against Alameda.  Ullery scored twice against the Pirates and was joined in the end zone by teammates Ralph Jorgensen, Thomas Stieb and Drew Francis.
#6 Delta (1-1) at Basalt (1-1)
Both teams recovered nicely from zero-week losses to post impressive victories in week two.  Delta lost to Durango 3-0 in their opener but blasted Moffat County 40-7 last week. Basalt fell to Rifle 34-14 in zero week but blanked Grand Valley 44-0 last Friday.
Delta’s offense showed major improvement after two more weeks of practice.  The Panthers totaled just 150 yards against Durango but tallied 303 yards rushing and 170 passing against Moffat County.  Drake Horn tossed four touchdown passes; all to Colton Galvin.  Horn finished with 170 yards passing and Galvin 150 receiving.  Brendon Starr, with 149 yards rushing, provided balance.
Defensively, the Panthers were again strong as 16 players recorded at least one tackle.  They ended the day with four interceptions including two from Cameron Schaal.
There were many standouts for Basalt in their win over Grand Valley.  Trevor Reuss threw for 138 yards and a touchdown, Raul Torres caught seven passes for 82 yards and Noah Williams led the ground game with 84 yards.  Griffen Jenkins both threw and caught a touchdown pass.
#5 Platte Valley (2-0) at Resurrection Christian (0-2)
Saturday’s meeting in Loveland is the third time the two teams will play in the past two years.  Resurrection Christian beat the Broncos twice last year; 24-22 in the regular season and 30-20 in the playoffs.  Despite those wins, the Cougars are the underdog this time with an offense looking for ways to put points on the board.  The Cougars averaged 37 points a year ago but with heavy graduation losses on that side of the ball, they’ve scored just eight combined points in losses to Sterling and Faith Christian.
Platte Valley is coming off a track meet where they outscored Eaton 41-21 last Friday.  The game was tied at 21 before the Broncos put up the final 20 points of the game.  The biggest play came from Zach Waite as he returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.  That play came before halftime and just after Eaton had tied the game at 21.
Waite also scored on a 65-yard TD run in the first and finished off the scoring with a third quarter touchdown run.  QB Trevon Wehrman was also involved in three touchdowns scoring on runs of one and 27 yards to go along with 24-yard pass to Kaleb Johnson.
Despite the 20-point win, there is some work to do on the defensive side for the Broncos.  They gave up 170 yards and three touchdowns on the ground and another 200 yards passing.
Manitou Springs (1-1) at #8 Faith Christian (1-1)
Both teams are coming off frustrating losses in week two.  The Mustangs gave up a 14-0 first half advantage in a 27-21 loss to Valley while the Eagles allowed 52 points in a 19-point loss to top ranked Kent Denver.  The defensive effort was especially frustrating for Faith Christian after they blanked Resurrection Christian in their opener.
Trinidad (1-2) at #9 Alamosa (2-1)
The Mean Moose blew past Florence and Buena Vista in their first two games but likely gained much more respect statewide by playing so well in the loss to La Junta.  They’re expected to get back in the win column the next two weeks as they Trinidad on Friday and then Montezuma-Cortez in week four.
Trinidad failed to score in losses to Peyton and Raton NM to open the season but then pitched a shutout of their own against John Mall last week (21-0).  QB Josiah Portenier had his best game of the young season running for 122 yards and passing for 81.  His 203 total yards was 51 better than the first two games combined.
Academy (2-0) at Valley (2-0)
We mentioned the RPI standings at the top of the story and this is one of the many non-conference games that could eventually determine a playoff berth.  The winner should get a leg up in that race.  Both teams finished 5-4 last year and the 2016 battle was a good one as the Vikings won a tight one 24-14.
The Vikings have momentum thanks to the come-from-behind win at Manitou Springs last Saturday.  Brandon Damian, who ran for 148 yards in the season opening win over Pinnacle, scored two touchdowns including the game winner.  Gabe Delgado and Josh Flanagan also scored to help the Vikings avenge a 47-6 loss to Manitou the year before.
Cameron Doerfler (147), Joe Hammer (106) and Jakob Miller (97) combined for 350 yards rushing in Academy’s 47-27 win over Middle Park last week.  The Wildcats also beat Ridgeview Academy 32-6 in week one but the trio managed just 127 yards on the ground.
At least a few members of the Kent Denver coaching staff and maybe some players will be at Elizabeth on Friday to watch the Cardinals and La Junta.  The Sun Devils will have a chance to get a first-hand look at the defending champs.  They will also have two weeks to prep for the matchup as they have a bye this week.  Kent picked up 338 yards rushing against Faith Christian including 163 from Seven Lindsey and 134 from Josh McDonald.
Bayfield has beaten three out-of-state clubs by a combined 118 points and sits at 3-0.  Next up is a week four date with 3A power Durango so the Wolverines could also make the trek to Farmington NM to watch their matchup with the Demons.  Bayfield has over 13-hundred yards and 20 touchdowns on offense this year.
Following last week’s loss to Classical Academy, Sterling is at 2-1 but that’s a major improvement from last year’s 0-3 start.  They next go on the road to Eaton in week four and then open the Patriot East schedule at home against Brush.  Bodie Hume threw for 240 yards but tossed two interceptions against TCA.  The Tigers defense gave up 263 yards rushing in the loss.
Aspen won just two games in 2016 but with their hot 3-0 start, the Skiers are just outside the rankings this week.  They also have a bye this week but will take a 54-point per game scoring average into their week four battle with 1A Grand Valley.  QB RJ Peshak has thrown for 748 yards and 10 TD’s with another 413 yards and nine scores on the ground in wins over Middle Park, Arvada and Cedaredge.