The road to the Class 2A football playoffs has been mapped out and several teams are in position to get to the postseason without having to be renavigated.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY DAN BYERS
The majority of league play kicked off last week and a couple of key games put several teams in the forefront of battling to league crown and guaranteeing their spot in the postseason. But the road still has a few potholes left to dodge.
There are teams that can jump to 2-0 in league play and really cement their status as contenders for the remainder of the regular season.
Rather than focusing on top-10 matchups, we’ll spend the new few weeks highlighting key league showdowns that will have a major impact on the 2A playoff landscape.
- Resurrection Christian at Eaton
- Delta at Aspen
- Bayfield at Alamosa
- Northfield at Arvada
- Alameda at Elizabeth
Chronologically, Eaton vs Resurrection Christian is the last game on the slate, but it should be first in line as it features the top two teams according to the CHSAANow.com coaches poll. As the defending 2A champion, Eaton needs to be leery of payback. The Reds took down Rez in the state semifinals last year and it’s likely the loss still stings to this day. Ethan Florez has an increased role on the team this year and he should see a bigger workload than the 10 carries he had in the playoffs. To date this fall, he has 450 rushing yards and four touchdowns and Eaton will need him to be at his best on Saturday afternoon.
The Cougars look like a vastly different team than they were in 2020, but the results look very similar. They’ve surrendered just 20 points all season and that was to a solid 3A Holy Family team. Quarterback Eddie Lemos has been deadly with his feet, rushing for 667 yards and 11 touchdowns and when he’s been forced to throw, he’s been efficient. He has completed 61 percent of his passes for 163 yard and three touchdowns. More impressively, he hasn’t thrown a pick.
Out west, Delta is hot coming off a 63-0 win over Coal Ridge. The Panthers will head to Aspen as both teams try to move to 2-0 in league play and establish themselves as the league frontrunners. Timothy Horn powers the Delta running attack and has 452 yards and six touchdowns. Freshman quarterback Ty Reed has just as many rushing touchdowns but only has 154 yards to go with his 331 passing yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Panthers have been very opportunistic by creating 14 turnovers, 10 of them off interceptions. Alex Ward is one of three players to steal at least two passes and he has also returned one of them for a touchdown.
Aspen faced a barrage of 3A teams, losing three times in the process before beating Rifle to open league play last week. Despite a 2-3 overall record, the Skiers are outscoring their opponents 147-140 on the year.
After a winless 2020 season, Bayfield has looked more like the state championship contender it was four years ago. The Wolverines opened up 2A Southwest play with a 39-0 win over Salida last week and can find themselves on firm ground if they can beat Alamosa on Friday. It was the passing game that really stood out for the Wolverines in the league opener as quarterback Isaac Ross threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns. All four touchdowns went to different receivers as he put all his weapons on display. Bayfield was also steady on defense. They forced two turnovers as Caden Wood grabbed an interception and Kyler Woehrel recovered a fumble.
Since dropping its season opener to TCA, Alamosa has played some really good football in the last several weeks. That includes last week when they opened league play against Pagosa Springs and grabbed a 28-6 win. Kasey Jones put on a passing display of his own with 267 yards and four touchdowns. He certainly has a favorite target in Kadie Jones who hauled in seven catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns. The Mean Moose gave up fewer than 300 yards defensively but with Salida’s Aaron Aucoin throwing for 115 yards, there is a solid chance that Friday night turns into an air show between the two teams.
Northfield made a bold statement last week when it opened league play with a 42-0 win over Faith Christian. That put the Nighthawks right on a crash course with Arvada, who got a 42-0 win of its own. After both teams opened up Flatirons league play with a win, they’ll battle this week to establish who will have full control of their destiny moving forward. Northfield will have to continue focusing on the running game. Troy Motley has been averaging around 70 yards per game so far this season and he’ll have to maintain that steadiness against the Bulldogs.
Arvada got smacked in its season opener when Weld Central beat the Bulldogs 40-7. But since then they’ve taken care of their business and very effectively. They grabbed a 47-6 win over Clear Creek before beating The Pinnacle in their league opener. Friday’s showdown will serve as their first big test of the season and will establish an alpha of the Flatirons League.
Arvada is coming off a big win against The Pinnacle.. In their two wins before that, the Pirates had been in some pretty tight battles, edging out Jefferson 14-12 before beating Valley 28-27. In between those wins were their two losses, both of which were by a wide margin. They have a solid task ahead of them in Elizabeth this week and if the Pirates can keep up some of their defensive trends, they’ll certainly have a shot.
They’ve had no issue etting after the quarterback, posting 11 sacks as a team with Julian Gordon, Justin Le and Tony Villa each accounting for two. Elizabeth doesn’t throw the ball too much, but if the Pirates can pick their spots and get after quarterback Jason Weber, they can gain the edge.
The Cardinals will try and gain the edge by keeping the ball on the ground. Jace Perez had totaled 296 rushing yards going into last week’s game, a win over Englewood. He has also been a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks as he recorded three interceptions in their first five games. This is the league opener for Alameda and with every other team in the Colorado League, besides Elizabeth, having suffered a league loss, the Pirates might be the only team left that can slow down the Cardinals.
Over in the Tri-Peaks League, The Classical Academy should have little problem moving to 2-0 in league play as it travels to Lamar. Woodland Park will go out of the league to take on Salida this week. Manitou Springs could get themselves in the league hunt as they open Tri-Peaks play against La Junta.