Faith Christian needs a victory over Middle Park to capture the Flatirons title and the Eaton-Resurrection Christian winner is the Patriot West champion.  Those are the two main storylines as the Class 2A football schedule concludes this weekend.  We break down those games and get an in-depth look at the RPI standings in our weekly report.


Sheridan (0-4) at Kent Denver (4-0)
Machebeuf (3-1) at Elizabeth (3-1)
Ridgeview Academy (1-3) at Englewood (1-3)
With Kent Denver already clinching the league championship, the focus is on the battle between Machebeuf — Elizabeth as the winner will end up second.  Machebeuf is 11th in RPI and Elizabeth 14th so both teams are currently in the playoffs but each would feel much better about their prospects with another win.
Based on their matchups with Kent Denver, Machebeuf is considered the slight favorite.  They fell to the Sun Devils 21-6 last week while Elizabeth gave up 23 first quarter points in a 35-0 loss.
Elizabeth managed only seven yards rushing and 54 yards passing in their loss to Kent Denver.  The defense surrendered 216 yards and three scores on the ground and 92 yards with two TD’s through the air.
Machebeuf picked up 105 yards on the ground in last week’s loss including 78 from Joe Paolucci.  Daniel Francis also threw for 89 yards completing 11 of 17 attempts.  Defensively, the Buffs gave up 216 yards on the ground including 108 to Seven Lindsey.  The Sun Devils played the game without starting QB Joey Licht.  His backup, sophomore Bobby Fraser, went 1-8 for 25 yards.
Kent Denver is battling Platte Valley for the top overall playoff seed.  Platte Valley is at .744 with the Sun Devils at .741.  Strength of schedule this week favors the Broncos as they meet Weld Central (4-4) while Kent meets Sheridan (1-7).


D’Evelyn (3-1) at Denver West (1-3) — Thursday
Jefferson (0-4) at Arvada (1-3)
Faith Christian (4-0) at Middle Park (3-1)
Faith Christian sits alone atop the standings but still must beat Middle Park to officially clinch.  The opposite result leaves both teams tied with D’Evelyn in first place if the Jaguars get by Denver West as expected.  The Eagles of course are heavily favored.  They’re 7-1 overall and sit 8th in the RPI.  Middle Park got back to the 500 mark by beating Arvada 33-14 last week.  The Panthers enter the game 30th in RPI and in a must-win situation as a league title is their only route to the playoffs.
Jordan Abbot (481 yards) leads Faith Christian in rushing and his two touchdowns paced the team in the important win over D’Evelyn two weeks ago.  Isaac Kroll has thrown for 717 yards and 11 TD’s this season.  Those two and the rest of the Faith Christian offense faces a Middle Park defense giving up 33 points a game.
The Panthers average 36 points a game and have scored at least 40 in four games this year.  They’re 3-1 in those matchups.  Blake Weimer, with 1,074 yards rushing and Boston Gleich with 1,322 yards through the air, are the two main offensive threats.  They’ve been involved in 29 touchdowns overall.
While Faith Christian is safely in the bracket, D’Evelyn is squarely on the bubble.  The Jaguars are #16 and won’t gain much ground based on their opponent in their season finale.  They’re counting on non-conference opponents such as Platte Valley, Sterling and Classical Academy to win this week to again boost their overall strength of schedule.


Bayfield (4-0) at Alamosa (2-2)
Gunnison (0-4) at Delta (2-2)
Montezuma Cortez (1-3) at Pagosa Springs (3-1)
RPI standings are the complete focus of all teams as Bayfield has clinched the title and Pagosa Springs has secured second place.  The Wolverines are 4th in RPI points and will be at home in round one as a conference champion.  Pagosa Springs is 13th and very close to making the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Teams which the Pirates will be scoreboard watching include Elizabeth, Resurrection Christian and D’Evelyn who are the three clubs directly behind them in the standings.  Pagosa though is .047 ahead of #16 D’Evelyn so that margin should be enough to keep them in the bracket.
Bayfield (.692) also seems in good shape to land a top four playoff seed.  They lead Classical Academy (.668) by a comfortable margin and has a chance to catch La Junta (.699) for the third spot.
Losses last week for Delta and Alamosa probably eliminated them from the playoff chase.  They’re 20th and 21st respectively in RPI this week so many things must fall in place for either to move back into the top 16.  Delta should get the win over Gunnison but their strength of schedule will take a hit.  Alamosa has the difficult task of trying to upset Bayfield.


Fort Lupton (0-4) at Brush (2-2)
Valley (2-2) at Sterling (3-1)
Weld Central (1-3) at Platte Valley (4-0)
Platte Valley is the league champion and top overall playoff seed at this point.  The Broncos (.744) lead Kent Denver (.741) by just .003 so that race is not over completely.  The Broncos, as mentioned gets the bigger boost in strength of schedule with opponents this week.  The difference in seeding between #1 and #2 is very little unless the two teams end up meeting in the state championship game.
Sterling needs a win over Valley to wrap up second place behind Platte Valley.  Maybe of more importance to the Tigers is their RPI standing.  They’re 7th going to the weekend and in the running to be the highest ranked non-league champion which would give them a home game in round one.
The team they’re chasing is Classical Academy.  The Titans are fifth but the gap between the two is only .006.  TCA right now has the advantage in both winning percentage and strength of schedule so if they beat Manitou Springs, the Titans should remain in the lead.  That scenario leaves the Tigers as a likely #9 seed and on the road against the winner of Eaton-Resurrection Christian in a playoff opener.
The road trip to Sterling is also extremely important to Valley.  The Vikings are 17th in RPI and currently on the outside of the playoff bracket.  They trail D’Evelyn by .004 so they have a chance to move ahead of the Jaguars.  A loss to Sterling though could end the Vikings chance as they would end up with the same overall record as D’Evelyn.  And the Jaguars already have the advantage in strength of schedule.
Sitting 19th in RPI standings, Brush has very slim playoff hopes.  They’re .025 away from the top 16 and won’t be helped in strength of schedule against Fort Lupton.


Academy (1-3) at Prospect Ridge (2-2) — Thursday
Resurrection Christian (4-0) at Eaton (4-0)
University (1-3) at Pinnacle (0-4)
The final week scenario for the Patriot West is very simple.  The winner between Eaton-Resurrection Christian is the champion and gets a playoff berth.  The loser ends up second and will anxiously wait for final RPI standings to be posted on Sunday to see if they get into the bracket.  Prospect Ridge (24th) is the next highest team in the RPI so the league will get at most, two bids.
Eaton is 12th in RPI and Resurrection Christian is 15th.  The winner plays at home next week and probably lands the number eight overall seed.  The loser is likely still in the bracket but could face a top four seed on the road in round one.
Through conference play, the teams have had virtually identical runs.  Eaton has posted two shutouts and allowed just 12 points in the four wins.  Overall, the Reds have won league games by 147 combined points.  Resurrection Christian has given up 15 points in conference play and has two shutouts also.  They’ve won their four games by 114 points but included is a narrow 14-8 win over University two weeks ago.
Resurrection Christian QB Isaac Crane enters the game with a team best 675 yards passing and six touchdowns.  He’s thrown for at least 100 yards in three games including twice in league action.  His season best 160 yards came in the tight win over University.
Zane Zuhlke is the top defender with 81 tackles.  No other Cougar has more than 46.  The team has recorded 10 sacks but forced only seven turnovers on the season.
Eaton signal caller Austin Coalson has a touchdown-interception ratio of 13-2.  He’s thrown for 914 yards on the season.  Travis Cunningham, with 827 yards and 12 scores, paces the ground game.
Trenton Kramer leads the Reds in tackles with 62 tackles.  Overall, the Reds have 45 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and have forced 10 turnovers.


Florence (1-3) at La Junta (4-0)
Lamar (0-4) at Salida (2-2)
Classical Academy (3-1) at Manitou Springs (2-2)
La Junta is the league champion with Classical Academy and Salida grabbing second and third with wins this weekend.  All three teams are playoff bound as each is in the top 10 of RPI entering week nine.  La Junta is #3, Classical Academy #5 and Salida #9.
The Tigers, as league champions, are guaranteed to play at home.  Classical Academy is also very close to hosting a first round game as well.  As we broke down inside the Patriot East recap, the Titans have a narrow edge on Sterling in the race to be the one wildcard to get a home game in the opening round.  Salida will be on the road and could be looking at seed 10th or 11th as the Patriot West champion will move ahead of them in the seeding process.
La Junta has momentum coming off a 39-16 win over Salida.  The Tigers opened with 20 first quarter points and extended their lead to 32-0 at halftime.  That margin allowed the defending state champions to celebrate a league championship throughout the second half.  The Tiger defense limited Salida to 43 yards rushing and 203 through the air.  They also intercepted three passes and recovered a fumble.
Even though they’ve clinched the league title, we don’t expect a letdown from La Junta this week.  They host Florence and the Huskies are the alma mater of Tigers coach Clint Buderus.


Moffat County (3-1) at Aspen (3-1)
Roaring Fork (0-4) at Basalt (4-0)
Steamboat Springs (1-3) at Coal Ridge (1-3)
Basalt’s dominating win at Moffat County last week wrapped up the league title for the Longhorns and eliminated the Bulldogs from the playoff picture.  Moffat County can still earn second in the league race by beating Aspen but last week’s loss dropped them to 23rd in the RPI standings.  The gap to the top 16 (.056) is simply too big and the Bulldogs would need to leapfrog six other teams to get into the bracket.
Aspen is 10th in RPI and regardless of the outcome against Moffat County, will be in the playoff bracket when announced on Sunday.  The Skiers are favored this week and another win gives them three straight going into the playoffs.  When the bracket is announced this weekend, we expect the Skiers to be in the seed range of 10-13.
The league champion Longhorns are now sixth in the RPI standings and just .002 back of fifth place Classical Academy.  Their opponent this week though is winless on the season and that will hurt their strength of schedule. As a result, it appears the Longhorns will earn either the sixth or seventh playoff seed.
Coal Ridge is 18th in RPI points and clinging to playoff hopes.  The Titans snapped a three-game skid in blowing past Roaring Fork last week.  A win this week may not be enough to get them into the playoffs but will give them four more wins than in 2016.