With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, there are plenty of impactful games across Class 2A football.
PHOTO BY ANDY BOCKELMAN
Some league championship races are still up for grabs and while they won’t be decided this week, the games taking place with have a major impact over what the weight of games next week will have on those races.
We once again take a deep dive in notable league games taking place this week and even if they don’t directly impact league champions this week, the results could very much come into play when the regular season conclude next weekend.
- Severance at Eaton
- Bayfield at Montezuma-Cortez
- Manitou Springs at Woodland Park
- Moffat County at Delta
- Arvada at D’Evelyn
Thursday night presents a huge matchup that has Severance traveling to Eaton. The Reds could all but lock up a Patriot East championship with a win against the Silver Knights. They’ve already beaten Resurrection Christian, leaving Severance as the only team left with a shot to disrupt the league standings.
For the second straight week, Eaton had to grind and battle to remain undefeated. The Reds led University by just three points at halftime and actually trailed by three going into the fourth. It was the defense coming up big by forcing a safety and the offense took advantage of it by converting a touchdown on the next drive. A long Ethan Florez run setup a Walker Martin rushing score and the 2-point conversion gave Eaton a 27-20, which was eventually the final score.
Severance is looking to avoid consecutive losses for the first time in school history. The Silver Knights had to sustain an air attack in last week’s 24-14 loss to Resurrection Christian. Nolan Hertzke and Jaden Hoffman combined to throw for 167 yards and two touchdowns. But the running game was essentially non-existent as the Silver Knights netted 30 rushing yards. They’ll have to do better than that against an Eaton defense that has been very effective this season.
Montezuma-Cortez’s chances at a league title took a massive hit with a loss to Alamosa next week, but the Panthers can rebound in a big way. If they can pull off a win over Bayfield, they’ll be right back in the title picture with them, Bayfield and Alamosa all having just one loss. The Panthers defense needs to step up a bit as last week was the third time this season they had allowed 39 or more points. If they can keep Bayfield under 20, they stand a good chance at winning the game.
The Wolverines, however, have been very good at scoring points this season. Since opening the season with just a three-point effort to an out of state opponent, they’ve scored an average of 34 points per game. Quarterback Isaac Ross has been a big reason for that as he has thrown for 1,256 yards and 11 touchdowns. Cael Schaefer has also been a factor by leading the team with 10 rushing touchdowns. He had a big game last week when he ran for 167 yards and scored twice in a win over La Junta.
It’s hard to see anyone other than TCA claiming the Tri-Peaks League title, but things could at least get intriguing next week depending on the outcome of Manitou Springs vs. Woodland Park. The Panthers suffered their first league loss when the Titans rolled to a 41-0 win last week. But Woodland Park has looked good at times and if TCA stumbles and the Panthers beat the Mustangs, they could backdoor their way into a league title. The Panthers will try and control the game on the ground as Aiden Hernandez leads the team with 464 yards and four touchdowns. They’ll also try and take advantage of mistakes the Mustangs are likely to make. The Panthers have six interceptions and four fumble recoveries defensively.
Manitou has seen its share of struggles this year, but last week could have been a turning point for the Mustangs. Sophomore quarterback Nate Gentzel threw for 272 yards and four touchdowns. He opened the game with a 68-yard touchdown pass to Parker Salladay which gave him the confidence to keep the offense moving with the passing game. If he can guide the Mustangs to a win and if La Junta falls to Lamar, it would set up a Tri-Peaks championship game between Manitou and TCA in the regular season finale.
Out west, the biggest matchup of the week will likely crown the 2A West champion. Delta and Moffat County are the only remaining teams without a league loss. The winner will advance to the final week of the regular season with just one league loss and taking on a team with at least two. The Panthers jumped out to a quick lead in last week’s win over Basalt and freshman quarterback Ty Reed continued his solid season, going 5-of-7 through the air with 163 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for two scores and got a lot of help from Timothy Horn, who ran for 171 yards.
Moffat County is coming off a blowout win over Aspen and this week will be the biggest test for the Bulldogs as they look to finish the regular season undefeated. Evan Atkin had himself a monster game, running for 165 yards and four touchdowns while also completing one pass for 80 yards and a touchdown. On top of all that, he grabbed an interception on defense, giving him one of the best overall performances of the year throughout the entire state. The only cause for concern is that the 35 points to the Skiers is the most that the Bulldogs have given up all year and Delta has shown to be very effective on offense.
Arvada is clinging to the hope that they can somehow grab at least a share of the Flatirons title, but this week is pivotal to that hope. The Bulldogs rebounded from their loss to Northfield with a win over Middle Park to move to 2-1 in league play. They travel to D’Evelyn this week and hope that they can look more like the team that was scoring over 40 points per game in their first two wins of the season rather than the team that struggled against Northfield and needed overtime to beat Middle Park.
The Jaguars haven’t had their most successful season in 2021, but last week’s massive win over The Pinnacle has to have them feeling good for this week. They scored six offensive touchdowns, three on the ground and three through the air. Quarterback Austin Bushlack was 10-of-14 with 143 yards and three touchdowns and will try to repeat that performance and squash the Bulldogs’ slim league championship hopes for good.
In the Colorado League, Elizabeth is looking to remain unbeaten as it takes on Denver West. If the Cardinals win, it will setup a league title match with Kent Denver in the final week of the regular season. Platte Valley and Valley each need a win in Patriot West play to remain one game back of Brush for the league title. But with the Beetdiggers already holding wins over the Broncos and the Vikings, a win this week will allow them to clinch the league championship and an automatic playoff berth.