League leaders in Class 2A clash on two fronts this week.  Pagosa Springs challenges Bayfield inside the Intermountain and Faith Christian heads to D’Evelyn for the Flatirons lead.  In both cases, each team is 2-0 in conference play.  Elsewhere, teams continue to work their way into position for a league crown and playoff berth.


Montezuma Cortez (0-2) at Delta (1-1) (Thursday)
Pagosa Springs (2-0) at Bayfield (2-0)
Alamosa (1-1) at Gunnison (0-2)
Sole possession of the conference lead goes to the winner between Pagosa Springs and Bayfield. With their 4-2 record, Pagosa Springs already has their most wins since the 2011 campaign (7-3) but on Friday they get a chance to see how much they’ve improved.  Bayfield is ranked second in Class 2A and considered a strong candidate to play for another state championship late next month.
Pagosa Springs last beat Bayfield during the 2008 season (23-21) and has lost the last eight in the series.  Only two of those losses have been competitive.  Bayfield won 15-13 in 2013 and 21-20 in 2009.  Otherwise the margin of victory has been at least 21 points.
The Pirates opened this season 0-2 but have won their last four including a 26-7 conference win at Delta two weeks ago.  They weren’t pushed last week in blowing past Gunnison 56-7.  An upset of the Wolverines on Friday gives them a chance to clinch the league title the following week against Alamosa.
But beating the Wolverines will not be an easy task.  They’ve outscored their first six opponents 255-46.  They’ve had just one competitive game; downing Durango 20-13 getting the winning touchdown on a long TD pass in the closing minutes.
First year starter Hayden Farmer has been a difference maker at quarterback.  He needs just 48 yards passing to reach 12-hundred for the season but more importantly the junior has already thrown 20 touchdown passes.  He tossed a career best six against Bloomfield NM in week two and has added nine more in conference wins over Gunnison and Montezuma Cortez.
Dax Snooks had caught nine of the scoring passes and Hunter Killough four.  Killough is also second in rushing yards with 316 trailing team leader Dax Snooks (505 yards).  David Hawkins has added 221 yards this season.
Alamosa lost a share of first place with their home loss to Delta last week (18-15).  The loss also dropped the Moose to 17th in the RPI standings so they would not be in the playoffs if the bracket was determined this week.  The Moose were held to just 84 yards rushing against Delta but did throw for 147 yards.  Both John Lujan and Angelo Ramirez tossed a touchdown pass in the loss.
Despite the win, Delta remains on the short end of the playoff race.  They’re 24th in RPI but last week’s result kept them in contention for the league championship.  They would be helped if Bayfield beats Pagosa Springs this week.  The Panthers have already lost to the Pirates but still have a game left with Bayfield in week nine.


Arvada (0-2) at Denver West (1-1)
Jefferson (0-2) at Middle Park (1-1)
Faith Christian (2-0) at D’Evelyn (2-0) (Saturday)
With the four remaining teams combining for just four wins the entire season, the league champion should be crowned on Saturday when Faith Christian goes to D’Evelyn.  Through two weeks of conference play, the Eagles and Jaguars have been dominant; combining for 197 points and given up just 44.
Last year’s contest was defensive minded as Faith Christian earned a 19-6 decision.  The Jaguars threw for 269 yards but also tossed four interceptions in the loss.  Faith Christian collected 234 combined yards; almost equally split between rushing (121) and passing (113).
The Eagles feature that same type of balance through six games this year throwing for 117 per game and rushing for 149.  Jordan Abbott (366 yards) and David Nagy (351) combine to lead the ground attack.  Isaiah Kroll has thrown for 11 touchdowns and 700 yards.  As a freshman starter, he threw for 113 yards against D’Evelyn a year ago.
Chad Dines leads the D’Evelyn offensive attack with 1,378 yards passing and 11 touchdowns.  He’s also thrown 10 interceptions on the season.  Cody Bell and Cullen Flynn are his top targets.  Each has 36 catches for the season and together have 1,040 yards and nine scores.
Peter Flack is the top defender with 73 tackles including six behind the line of scrimmage.  Brady Sullivan is next with 65.  The Jags have 13.6 sacks including three apiece from Evan Linden and Jack Vannice.  Flynn has three interceptions and has caused two fumbles from his secondary spot.


Englewood (1-1) at Kent Denver (2-0)
Machebeuf (2-0) at Sheridan (0-2)
Ridgeview Academy (0-2) at Elizabeth (1-1)
Neither Kent Denver nor Machebeuf has been pushed thus far in conference play.  The top ranked Sun Devils have given up just six points and scored 91 in beating Elizabeth and Ridgeview Academy.  Machebeuf has totaled 94 points and allowed 22 in downing Ridgeview and Englewood.  The two leaders are set to meet next week.
Of the two opponents this week, Englewood should provide the better competition.  The Pirates are 3-3 on the season while Sheridan has just one victory.  Ikaika Gonzalez, with 659 yards rushing, gets most of the carries in the Englewood running game.  Perrion Gray is the top threat for Sheridan with 375 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
RPI wise, Kent Denver is second this week; trailing only Platte Valley.  Machebeuf is 9th and in better shape for a playoff berth than a year ago.  Elizabeth would also be in the bracket if the playoff started this week.  The Cardinals are 12th.  No other league member is in the top 25.


Brush (1-1) at Weld Central (1-1)
Sterling (1-1) at Fort Lupton (0-2)
Platte Valley (2-0) at Valley (1-1)
Platte Valley took the outright lead and control of the league race by downing Sterling 42-21 last Friday.  The game was tied at halftime (21-21) but the Broncos scored the only points of the second half to stay unbeaten overall.  Now the job for Coach Troy Hoffman’s club is to keep winning to improve their RPI standing.
Against Valley, they face a Vikings club that came up short at Brush (21-14) last week.  The Vikings managed 209 yards of offense but allowed 213 yards rushing to the improving Beetdiggers.  The loss also dropped Valley to 18th in the RPI standings but an upset of the Broncos should get them right back into the playoff picture.
Even on the road this week, Brush might be favored to get the win at Weld Central.  The Beetdiggers beat Valley but the Rebels lost to the Vikings 35-8 the week before.  Nick Wellen led the Beetdiggers with 109 yards and two touchdowns against Valley.  QB Cade Uhrick added 85 yards passing.  Ben Brown and Isaac Morales each caught two passes.
Weld Central bounced back by beating Fort Lupton 24-14.  Against Brush, the Rebels begin a brutal closing stretch that includes games with Platte Valley and Sterling over the final two weeks.  Marc Berry tops the Weld Central offense with 407 yards passing and Andrew Younger 494 yards with six touchdowns rushing.
Sterling should return to the win column on the road at Fort Lupton.  The Blue Devils have allowed 191 points in six games this year.  Sterling has scored 185.  Bodie Hume threw for 258 yards in the loss to Platte Valley pushing his season total to over 15-hundred.


Academy (1-1) at Eaton (2-0)
Resurrection Christian (2-0) at University (0-2)
Prospect Ridge (1-1) at Pinnacle (0-2) (Saturday)
Based on results through the first two weeks of league play, the regular season finale between Eaton and Resurrection Christian should again decide the championship.  The Reds have won their first two league games by a combined 83-6 score with Resurrection Christian earning a 73-7 advantage.
Eaton ran for 291 yards and five touchdowns on only 25 attempts in last week’s win over Pinnacle.  Four backs picked up at least 57 yards and five different players reached the end zone.
Resurrection Christian topped Academy 38-0 last week rushing for 218 yards and throwing for 162.  The Cougars averaged 7.5 yards per carry with three different players scoring touchdowns.  Zane Zuhlke threw for 107 yards on just three completions.  He threw a touchdown as did Isaac Crane.
Prospect Ridge seeks the first two-game winning streak in school history.  And they should get it against winless Pinnacle.  The Miners picked up a 16-10 win over University last week pushing their mark to 2-4 overall.  They won just one game all last season; their first as a varsity program.
Jake Thiret ran for 123 yards and a touchdown.  Micah Honea added 116 yards on just 15 attempts.  Andrew Johnson also picked off two passes returning one for a score.


Florence (1-1) at Classical Academy (1-1)
La Junta (2-0) at Lamar (0-2)
Manitou Springs (1-1) at Salida (1-1)
Three teams seem to be solid playoff picks as La Junta is 3rd, Classical Academy 4th and Salida 7th in the RPI standings this week.  Now the goal is to win the league championship to earn a first round playoff game at home.
Alone in first place, La Junta is control of the chase.  They beat Classical Academy two weeks ago and then were helped when the Titans took out Salida 27-19 last week.  The Tigers host Salida next week but first must focus on Lamar in the annual Whistle Game.  Lamar has just one win this season so La Junta is heavily favored to keep the whistle.
The Manitou Springs-Salida game shapes up to be the most important.  As mentioned, Salida fell to Classical Academy last week so they need a win to stay within a game of La Junta and make next week’s battle important to the league title.  The game though is also important to the Mustangs.  They sit 21st in RPI points and need more wins to improve their wildcard chances.
Salida missed some opportunities against Classical Academy last week; twice missing on points despite driving inside the Titans 20-yard line. Ben Fuller opened the Spartans scoring on a one yard run.  Bridger Russell added two touchdowns through the air.  Jenson Hall scored twice for the Titans.


Roaring Fork (0-2) at Aspen (1-1)
Coal Ridge (0-2) at Basalt (2-0)
Moffat County (2-0) at Steamboat Springs (1-1)
Basalt and Moffat County both earned important wins last week and they enter week seven tied for the conference lead.  They meet next week in Craig in what could be the league championship game.
First up though, both clubs must get by conference foes this week and of the two, it appears Basalt has the more difficult assignment.  They host Coal Ridge in what could be a very physical battle.  Both teams like to run the football so interior line play could determine this one.  The Longhorns easily won that battle a week ago in downing previously unbeaten Aspen 48-22.
In that win, Noah Williams exploded for 287 yards and six touchdowns.  He missed the school record for scores by just one.  It was the first game this season the Texas transfer had more than 16 carries and he responded with his Colorado career best.  Williams has now scored 10 touchdowns with 432 yards rushing in two conference wins.
Coal Ridge ran for 325 yards against Aspen two weeks ago and totaled 216 against Moffat County last week.  But the Titans fell short in both games and now must get an upset of Basalt to stay in the playoff picture.
Jacx Powers is their top offensive threat.  On the season, the senior has 1,043 yards and ten scores.  He’s been over 100 yards in all six games this year including a 384 yards outburst in a quality win over Olathe.  If Basalt stacks the box to control him, some pressure could turn to QB Oscar Salazar.  He’s thrown for just 166 yards on the season but 81 came last week against Moffat County.  He completed six of nine passes but also lost four fumbles.
It was the opportunistic defense that pushed the Bulldogs to the win as they also had issues keeping the football.  Colby Beaver threw three interceptions but also tossed a decisive TD pass to Mikinzie Klimper.  Jefferson Piatt added a second touchdown and Dominic Pascetti provided 66 yards rushing.
Steamboat Springs broke into the win column by trouncing Roaring Fork 41-0 last week.  Ford Louden scored twice on the ground and Tanner Raper and Drew Bowers each threw a touchdown pass.  The Sailors had scored just 19 points on the season through the first five games.