League overview: The West League won’t see a tremendous amount of change. Delta, the reigning league champion, shifted to another league. They were replaced by Grand Valley, which had to move up to 2A despite just barely moving above the enrollment cutoff. Moffat County and Basalt both made the postseason last year but lost in the first round.



Head coach: Travis Benson

2021 Record: 3-6 (2-3 West)

Returning All-State Players: None

Aspen engaged in some high-scoring contests a year ago, but finished fourth overall in league play. The team’s schedule will keep it on the western side of the state this fall, including non-league games.



Head coach: Carl Frerichs

2021 Record: 7-3 (3-2 West)

Returning All-State Players: None

Basalt finished third in league play, losing only to Moffat County and Delta, before running up against eventual state finalist Brush in the first round of the playoffs. Longtime coach Carl Frerichs returns some good experience though, led by seniors Trevin Beckman (RB/LB), Kade Schneider (QB), Cooper Crawford (RB/DE) and Dylan Madden (WR/DB). Juniors Maverik Dombrowski (C/LB) and Noah Johnston (OL/LB) should add to that depth. Schneider had 19 touchdown passes last fall, and Crawford rushed for nearly 700 yards and nine touchdowns.


Coal Ridge

Head coach: Crockett Williams

2021 Record: 0-9 (0-5 West)

Returning All-State Players: Angelo Perea (Honorable Mention)

Coal Ridge endured a rough 2021 season, though the team was young and inexperienced. Defensively the team had some senior leaders, but again should return some experience going into the season. Tight end Lochlan Wade was among the team’s bright spots as a sophomore, catching all three of the team’s touchdown passes – from three different quarterbacks. Angelo Perea was honorable mention all-state as a junior on the offensive and defensive lines.


Grand Valley

Head coach: James Miller

2021 Record: 5-4 (3-3 1A Western Slope)

Returning All-State Players: None

James Miller takes over a Grand Valley program that ended a three-game losing streak late last year with victories in the team’s final two games. But the Cardinals were one student above the enrollment threshold, moving the team up a classification. Miller returns senior quarterback Steven Hicks, who had a combined 15 touchdowns passing and rushing. Senior center/middle linebacker Jacob Doyle is back, along with senior tight end/middle linebacker Colton Clark. Seniors Manuel Velasco (K/P/WR/FS), Brandon Garcia (OL/DL), Jordan Cedeno (RB/CB), Alex Alegria (WR/CB) and Kade Sackett (WR/FS) add to that senior leadership. Sophomores Richard Terraraz (OL/DL), Gabe Mendoza (RB/LB), Mason Schoppner (RB/LB) and Preston Johnson (RB/LB) are underclassmen to watch. Miller said the team needs to be able to stop the run because the league is a “smashmouth, run-the-ball league.” That said, he also said his team needs to be able to run the ball as well.

Moffat County

Head coach: Lance Scranton

2021 Record: 8-2 (4-1 West)

Returning All-State Players: Evan Atkin (First Team)

Moffat County was a 17-14 loss to Delta away from capturing the league crown last fall, but the team couldn’t get past University in the playoffs. Evan Atkin, a first-team all-state pick as a junior, returns after rushing for 1,341 yards and 29 touchdowns. He also led the squad in receiving yards. Other key returners include seniors Cort Murphy (quarterback/linebacker), Johnny Lopez (WR/DB), Issac Vallem (OL/DL), Michael Voloshin (OL/DL) and Catcher Jackson (C/DL). Underclassmen to watch include juniors Ian Hafey (DE/TE), Caleb Squires (LB/OL), Hudson Jones (RB/LB), Bryant Carlson (RB/DB) and Evan Beaver (QB/LB) and sophomore Aron Aguilar (RB). Coach Lance Scranton pointed to senior leadership as being the team’s biggest key going into the season.



Head coach: Ryan Whittington

2021 Record: 3-6 (1-4 West)

Returning All-State Players: None

Rifle showed some flashes a year ago, including taking Basalt to overtime late in the season. The team was senior-heavy on both sides of the ball, forcing the Bears to earn experience on the field this fall.