After scoring a quality win at Pueblo South last week, 4th ranked Holy Family jumps right back into the fray in week two as they challenge top ranked Roosevelt. That’s the highlight game in Class 3A football this week but is just one of two top 10 pairings. #9 Pueblo South also visits #7 Discovery Canyon.
PHOTO BY JON YUNT
Not only did Holy Family pick up the win on the road, they also did so in come-from-behind fashion. Trailing 20-7, the Tigers reeled off 20 straight points to gain a 27-20 advantage on their way to the 34-27 decision. Tyler Stevens threw for 220 yards and connected with Dominic Mazzulla four times for 190 yards and two scores. Jacob Lawyer led the ground game with 114 yards on just 13 carries.
Against Roosevelt, Holy Family will face an opponent making their first appearance in 2021. The Riders, who reached the state finals last Fall, were off in week one so they’ll be fired up and ready to play against a familiar foe.
Roosevelt turns to Brayden Saya as their new quarterback but the senior will have major skill talent all around him. Cooper Walton ran for 324 yard and eight TDs as a junior last year and should get more attempts this fall. Receivers Keaton Kaiser (41) and Tucker Peterson (24) also return after combining for 65 catches and 11 TDs in the COVID shortened season. The top six tacklers from last year also return on defense; a group led by Walton (75) and Logan Pool (61). The Riders had 73 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and 18 sacks including 5.5 from Clayton Robinson.
The health status of QB Jace Bellah is the key moving forward for Pueblo South. He missed the late portion of last week’s loss to Holy Family and we’re not sure if he’ll be in uniform for the Colts against Discovery Canyon this week. Before the injury, Bellah threw for 53 yards and TD and ran for 40 yards as well.
Kaleb Ortiz stepped in for Bellah and completed six of 11 attempts for 78 yards. He’ll be the starter again if Bellah cannot go. Elijah Aguilar was effective on the ground as he gained 74 yards with two scores in his first varsity start. He will need another big game and the South defense will need to step up to avoid an 0-2 start.
Discovery Canyon spotted Lewis Palmer a first quarter TD and then rolled off 42 unanswered points on their way to a 42-21 decision in week one. The Thunder offense is centered quite a bit on tailback Ethan Emmons. He gained 223 yards in limited duty as a sophomore but his 75-yard TD dash sparked the offense in the opening victory.
South and Discovery Canyon last played in 2019 with the Colts grabbing a 31-22 victory on their way to a state championship game appearance.
3rd ranked Mead heads west to Eagle Valley but could face a tougher challenge than many thought in the preseason. The Devils scored one of the more impressive victories in week one as they outlasted returning 4A champion Thomas Jefferson (Season C) 38-30 in double overtime last Saturday. The Devils were playing their first game since losing former and long-time coach John Ramunno to cancer and they scored a big win in his honor.
The Devils defense forced two turnovers but also gave up 301 yards rushing to Thomas Jefferson. Mead may try to exploit some of those holes after gaining 181 yards on just 22 carries in their 45-0 blowout of Pueblo Centennial in week one. Evan Morris reeled off 109 yards and Corby Tecu had 53 with both scoring once. QB Gavin Garrettson completed 8 of 17 attempts for 108 yards and three TDs including two to Tecu.
The Mav’s defense was also strong as they recorded five sacks and recovered three fumbles. Stefan Riepler had three of the sacks while Christian Ayers both recovered and forced a fumble.
Fort Morgan easily had the longest and most frustrating win in week one which included two trips to Scottsbluff NE over a four-day period. The Mustangs were in the Nebraska Panhandle last Friday and played two quarters before weather delayed the contest at halftime. The game was tied 7-7 and since the teams could not decide how to handle the outcome for playoff points, the Mustangs headed back to Scottsbluff on Monday to finish up. They scored on every possession but their last (took a knee) on their way to a 31-14 win.
The confusion came about because two state associations were involved. As we understand, Nebraska does not have a solution for playoff points concerning a tie game so Scottsbluff wanted to finish so they could earn more playoff points with a win compared to a no-contest. Had the game remained a tie and not resumed, Fort Morgan would have gained basically half a win for RPI points; must like the situation between Englewood and Weld Central in Class 2A when the Pirates and Rebels could not finish a game due to weather. It ended up 21-all last Friday.
All that confusion left the 8th ranked Mustangs with a short week to prep for arch-rival Brush. They host the Beetdiggers this Friday. Brush was also involved in a weather game but they were in complete control against George Washington (41-13) when the game was called midway through the fourth quarter. The Beetdiggers may look to run the football as Fort Morgan allowed 346 yards rushing to the Scottsbluff single wing attack.
Outside the Rankings
Canon City and Harrison are two regular playoff challengers that suffered losses in week one. They meet in week two with the loser facing an uphill post-season climb at 0-2. League championships always get a team in regardless of record but Canon City must battle Pueblo South and all the other Steel City teams for the Southern 2 title and Harrison has both Durango and Discovery Canyon with them inside the Southern 1 division.
Harrison is coming off a 41-13 loss to Glenwood Springs. Canon City fell to Frederick 43-21 despite 211 yards passing and three touchdowns from Max Hagans. The Tigers defense allowed 411 yards and five scores to the Frederick running game.
One other contest on our radar involves the Northwest Colorado rivalry between Steamboat Springs and Moffat County (2A). Both teams were winners in week one. Steamboat Springs beat Valley 28-15 for just their 27th win since playing for the state championship in 2009. Cade Gedeon caught a touchdown pass and also returned an interception for another score. Moffat County rolled Northfield 42-0 as Ryan Peck threw for 197 yards and two scores. Evan Atkin also reached the end zone three times while gaining 76 yards rushing.
Remaining Top 10 Schedule
#2 Durango vs Aztec NM: 28 first quarter points and 424 yards rushing led the defending state champion Demons to an easy 58-0 win over Pagosa Springs last Friday. Nate Messier exploded for 126 yards and two scores on just six touches. Zach Haber added 97 yards and Dylan Whatcroft 93 as the duo combined for three scores on just 15 total carries. Aztec has split two games with their win coming last week over Montezuma Cortez (26-6).
#5 Lutheran vs Denver North: The second half was kind to Lutheran last week as they outscored Lutheran MO 21-0 on their way to a 35-14 victory. Clayton Jacobs finished with 224 yards passing and connected with both Joseph Ciccio and Dorian Pacheco on touchdown passes. Jacobs also scored once on the ground as did Pacheco. Together they ran for 136 yards. Denver North was off in week one so they will make their 2021 debut this week. The Vikings were 1-5 last year but return a starting QB, their top two rushers and top receiver on offense.
#6 Palisade vs Grand Junction Central: Palisade also used a strong second half to post a first week win. They led Rifle just 6-3 at intermission but then outscored the Bears 29-0 over the final two quarters to earn a 35-3 decision. The Bulldogs nearly had three 100-yard rushers. Phallen Salvati (160) and Malakhi Espinoza (105) got there while Rhett Ward (95) was just five yards shy. Salvati and Ward combined for five scores. Central struggled in a 46-6 loss to Montrose.
#10 Frederick at Pueblo Centennial: The Warriors chewed up 411 yards and five touchdowns on the ground in handling Canon City 43-21 last week. Parker Ayres gained 188 yards with four scores while Cruz Zamudio added 145 yards with the fifth TD. The Warriors attempted only two passes. Centennial is regrouping following a 45-0 loss to Mead in their opener.