The Class 3A classification is ready to join the postseason football party.

After being the lone class to wrap up regular-season play last weekend, the field of 16 is set as the bracket was released Sunday. As expected, undefeated Roosevelt is the top overall seed, with Durango, Lutheran and Northridge rounding out the top four.

Undefeated Green Mountain is the fifth seed.

Four teams from League 7 – Roosevelt, Northridge, No. 8 Thompson Valley and No. 12 Resurrection Christian – made the field, and all four are in the upper half of the bracket. Three teams qualified from League 3, including a Palisade squad that lost its first four games of the season.

A new champion is guaranteed to be crowned after defending champ Fort Morgan and runner-up Mead missed out on the playoffs. Roosevelt and Lutheran reached the semifinals a year ago.

Four games will take place Friday night, with the remaining four set for Saturday afternoon. Here is a quick look at the eight first-round contests:


(16) Discovery Canyon at (1) Roosevelt, 7 p.m., Friday

Roosevelt was also the top seed a year ago, going undefeated during the regular season before falling to Mead in the semifinals. The Roughriders have taken those lessons to heart, and enter this weekend with an offense that averages more than 40 points a game and a defense that allows just more than 12. Five of the team’s victories this season came over current playoff teams, and the closes contest came against 5A Highlands Ranch. Quarterback Bronco Hartson has tossed 16 touchdown passes this season, with 12 of them going to Tucker Peterson. Xavier Ramirez (1,326 yards, 19 touchdowns) and Ryan Doucette (1,009 and 12 TDs) pace a rushing attack that averages 290 yards a game. Elizar Valencia’s 11.5 sacks and Doucette’s five interceptions lead the defense.

Discovery Canyon (7-3) made a late push, sharing the League 2 title with Pueblo East but being on top after defeating the Eagles late in the season. The Thunder bring a balanced ground game to the table, and Sam Janes has been a force on both sides of the ball. After being shut out by Lutheran and Evergreen midway through the season, Discover Canyon won five of its final six, with the only loss coming in overtime.

(9) Evergreen at (8) Thompson Valley, 1 p.m., Saturday

Consecutive losses late in the season to Northridge and Roosevelt had Thompson Valley on its heels, but the Eagles (6-4) made a statement in the regular-season finale with a 41-6 victory over Resurrection Christian to earn a home game. Christian Chase leads the team with 566 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, and Riley Suarez has 11 touchdown passes.

Evergreen’s aerial attack has given opponents fits throughout the season, and the Cougars (8-2) lost only two games by a combined six points. Senior Tommy Poholsky passed for more than 2,000 yards in the regular season and had 33 touchdowns. Six receivers caught at least five touchdown passes, and Gabe Zimmerer added balance on the ground with 936 yards and 11 scores – he added six more receiving. The defense has allowed less than eight points a game.

(13) Palisade at (4) Northridge, 1 p.m., Saturday

Northridge has done a bit of everything to this point. The Grizzlies have blown out opponents, and won their share of nail biters. A loss to No. 1 Roosevelt was followed up with a three-game winning streak to help secure a top-four seed. Now Northridge (9-1) enters Saturday’s game with a tough defense that allows 11.1 points a game, and an offense that has made plays when needed. The Grizzlies average nearly 180 yards rushing a game, backed by Isaac Kness (931 yards, nine touchdowns). Damon West added 12 rushing scores, and Jayden Marquez has eight interceptions and a fumble recovery to his credit.

Palisade (4-6) is a bit of an enigma. The Bulldogs’ biggest win came against 4A’s Golden, and the team lost to No. 2 Durango by just a 7-0 margin. Seniors Rhett Ward, Phallen Salvati and Malakhi Espinosa create a three-headed monster in the ground game, which has always been Palisade’s bread-and-butter.

(12) Resurrection Christian at (5) Green Mountain, 7 p.m., Friday

The only other undefeated team in the 3A bracket is the Rams (10-0), who haven’t really been challenged in 2022, save for a 24-23 overtime victory over Evergreen in early October. That will change Friday when Resurrection Christian visits Lakewood. The Rams can put up points in bunches – the team averages nearly 45 points a game – and the defense only allowed 61 points in 10 games. Quarterback Zach Wallace is the team’s leading rusher, but it’s all about balance as Green Mountain has 46 rushing touchdowns from 13 players. Dominic Sanchez has 5.5 of the Rams’ 22 sacks.

Resurrection Christian (7-3) won seven of its first eight – the only loss coming to Roosevelt – before the Cougars dropped their past two games. Quarterback Carter Evans has 15 total touchdowns, and sophomore Hunter Hansen has 11 scores on the ground.

(14) Pueblo East at (3) Lutheran, 7 p.m., Friday

These two teams played back in September, with Lutheran taking a 56-27 victory. The Lions (8-2) have won five in a row and eight of nine, allowing only a combined 34 points over the past five games. Junior Ryken Daugaard has thrown for more than 2,000 yards with 21 touchdowns in nine games, 12 of which have gone to Joe Ciccio (51 catches, 960 yards). Ryan Kenny topped 1,000 yards rushing with 17 scores, and four players have at least five sacks. Lutheran has 34 as a team.

Pueblo East (8-2) was rolling along until a four-game winning streak was snapped by Discovery Canyon. The Eagles have an explosive offense and are strong on defense, but that will be put to the test in the rematch with Lutheran. Sophomore Zayden Stevens has 19 touchdowns passes in nine games and six more scores on the ground. Another sophomore, Izaiah Trujillo, snagged nine touchdowns. East also has 16 interceptions on the other side of the ball.

(11) Frederick at (6) Summit, 6 p.m., Friday

Summit will be looking to prove itself in the playoffs after posting a 9-1 mark during the regular season. The Tigers, whose only loss came to No. 2 Durango, haven’t played since Oct. 21 though after winning by forfeit the past two weeks. Quarterback Jack Schierholz is a dual-threat player with 11 touchdown passes and 11 rushing scores. Keaton Smith is averaging more than 10 tackles a game.

Frederick (7-3) just missed out on a league title after George Washington posted a 41-36 comeback victory last weekend. The Golden Eagles have had their share of close games, winning by one point twice and two points another time, and also losing by one point in the season opener. Cruz Zamudio has rushed for 1,100 yards with 12 touchdowns, and three more receiving. River Lakey averages nearly 70 yards a game on the ground as well.

(10) George Washington at (7) Holy Family, 1 p.m., Saturday

This is another game-of-the-week candidate, as a Holy Family team whose three losses came to Roosevelt, Lutheran and 4A’s No. 2 Broomfield, has won four in a row. The Tigers (7-3) are just as dangerous through the air as on the ground, with Rylan Cooney throwing for 1,850 yards and 12 scores while the team rushed for 1,812 yards in 10 games. Cooney also had 12 rushing scores, and Chase McNaughton has rushed for more than 900 yards and nine scores. Holy Family also has 26 takeaways.

George Washington (9-1) had its only loss come to Far Northeast. In the finale against Frederick, Cellus Honeycutt Jr. ran wild to the tune of 301 yards and five touchdowns. Honeycutt and Marquevious Lee each rushed for more than 1,000 yards with 25 combined touchdowns, and senior Jarai Vaughn is a terror on defense – the tackle has nine sacks and averages nearly 11 tackles a game.

(15) Harrison at (2) Durango, 1 p.m., Saturday

Like Green Mountain, Durango is fierce on both sides of the ball. The Demons allow only 7.4 points a game, and no team has scored more than 14 against them. Eleven players have at least one sack, and the team has 12 fumble recoveries. On offense, Tyler Harms has 16 touchdown passes and six rushing scores, and Jeric Baruch and Zachary Haber each average at least 80 rushing yards a game and have a combined 24 touchdowns.

Harrison (8-2) is the lone representative from League 1 after winning the league title. After being shutout in the first two games of the season, the reeled off eight consecutive victories. Carlos Preciado leads the way with 1,236 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns.