Two top-10 matchups.
One state championship game rematch.
A slew of unbeatens putting their records on the line.
If the first few weeks of the Class 3A prep football season are any indication, we’re in for a real doozy in Week 3.
The big story of the week is a battle of unbeaten, top-five teams in No. 5 Fort Morgan and new No. 1 Holy Family.
The Tigers claimed the top spot simply by staying idle in Week 2, as their bye week, coupled with a Longmont loss to Greeley West, bumped them up to new heights. Of course, the two games Holy Family has under its belt — a 33-27 win over Mountain View and a 56-20 shellacking over Palisade — were good enough resume boosters on their own merit.
The Tigers’ matchup with Fort Morgan, which is also 2-0 after a 31-8 drubbing over Falcon last week, features a test of one of the state’s premier offenses up against an imposing defense. Fort Morgan has given up all of eight points in its first two games — and those only came in the form of a fourth quarter touchdown in last week’s lopsided victory. The Mustangs are, however, without standout senior tight end/defensive end hybrid Trey McBride, who reportedly broke his collarbone against Brush in Zero Week and will likely miss upwards of six weeks.
That may create an opening, albeit a slight one, for Holy Family gunslinger Stone Samaras (373.5 passing yards per game) and his Tigers to do some damage in an important nonleague contest between state title contenders.
That battle of juggernauts somewhat overshadows another important top-10 meeting between last year’s state finalists, as No. 9 Discovery Canyon is set to head down I-25 to take on three-time defending state champion Pueblo East, which has struggled to find its footing thus far in the season. Here’s how all of the big matchups of the week shake out.
No. 5 Fort Morgan (2-0) at No. 1 Holy Family (2-0)
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Holy Family High School
The Blitz: Really, what more needs to be said about this one? These two teams have a strong history of success over the past handful of seasons, with each making deep postseason runs a year ago only to fall to the eventual finalists (see below). In last year’s meeting, Samaras threw for over 400 yards, but Fort Morgan also picked him off three times and got the 45-28 edge thanks to three receiving touchdowns by McBride. How will the Mustangs cope without him in this year’s matchup?
No. 9 Discovery Canyon (1-1) at No. 10 Pueblo East (0-2)
When: 7 p.m., Thursday
Where: Dutch Clark Stadium
The Blitz: The start of these two teams has been one of the early surprises of the season. Discovery Canyon, after losing just one game all of last season (the last one, to Pueblo East), dropped its first game of this season 49-14 (albeit to a ranked 4A opponent in Fruita Monument) before rebounding with a 28-14 win over Brighton last week. Meanwhile, the Eagles are off to their first 0-2 start since 2007, which also happened to be their last losing season. Nevertheless, expect The Dutch to be rocking and filled to the brim with gold for this newfangled rivalry game, which marks the 12th meeting between the two perennial powers (counting the playoffs) since 2010.
4A No. 7 Fruita Monument (3-0) at Palisade (2-1)
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Stocker Stadium
The Blitz: After a thrilling 28-27 win over Montrose last week, Palisade has a tough test against unbeaten Class 4A No. 7 Fruita Monument in a game that marks the Bulldogs’ third consecutive home game and fourth game total at the friendly confines of Grand Junction’s Stocker Stadium this year. Last week, Palisade overcame a huge deficit (21 points, to be exact) and scored 22 unanswered against Montrose to move back into the win column at 2-1. Last year, with the exact same record, the Bulldogs ran roughshod over Fruita in a 40-14 win.
Skyview (2-0) at Summit (2-1)
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Summit High School
The Blitz: Well hello, Skyview. Welcome to the conversation. And deservedly so. After an admirable 2016 campaign which saw them make the playoffs, the Wolverines are off to their first 2-0 start in six years and they’re hungry for more. After commanding wins over Centaurus (33-14) and Weld Central (41-20) to start the year, Skyview now travels to take on a Summit squad which has also won two straight. The Wolverines are led by senior running back Deyvon Butler, who has put up video game numbers (194 yards avg., 3 TDs per game) in the early going of the season.
Frederick (2-0) at No. 4 Silver Creek (2-0)
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Everly Montgomery Stadium, Longmont
The Blitz: Silver Creek rode a big second quarter to take down a pesky Mountain View squad last week, thanks to a pair of rushing scores from both Andreik Knechtel and T.J. Blazon, and now square off against the unbeaten Warriors who are looking to come out and do more than just play — they want a signature win. Senior James Jones (213 yards, 4 TDs rushing) has Frederick knocking on the door of the top-10, while the Raptors are looking for their second straight 3-0 start.
Thompson Valley (0-2) at No. 2 Mead (2-0): It’s somewhat of a wonder that the voters in the CHSAANow.com poll didn’t boost the Mavericks up to No. 1 (they were No. 1 in this week’s Colorado Preps rankings) after another dominant performance. Mead, fresh off a 52-13 blasting of Vista Peak, looks to be in peak form already in this young season. Quarterback Tyler Keys connected on just three completions last week — though two of them went for touchdowns — and he added 150 yards and two more scores on the ground. The Mavericks have three players who are already averaging more than 100 yards rushing per game (Keys, Derek Edwards, Nathan Mackey). Which leads us to ask, who can stop these Mavs from rumbling?
No. 3 Longmont (1-1) at Roosevelt (1-1): Longmont’s reign as the top team in Class 3A lasted all but one week and ended in strange fashion, as a gas leak at Greeley’s District 6 Stadium ended the game with just over two minutes and change remaining and helped preserve a 34-20 win by 4A’s Greeley West. However, the Trojans don’t fall too far after going toe-to-toe with the Spartans, and now Drake Engelking and the crew head into Johnstown with an eye on rebounding.
Lewis-Palmer (0-2) at No. 6 Palmer Ridge (2-0): The monumental battle for Monument features a pair of teams trending in opposite directions; the Bears, with an aerial attack led by Ty Evans (498 yards passing, 9 TDs), have put up a combined 100 points in their first two wins, while the Rangers have struggled to score more than a pair of touchdowns in each game. Still, throw records out the window when it comes to this one. Last year’s score: Lewis-Palmer 51, Palmer Ridge 9.
Northridge (0-2) at No. 7 Erie (2-0): Erie has been riding the legs of Noah Roper (279 yards on just 25 carries with 6 TDs) to climb up the ranks in the past two weeks. The Tigers will take on a struggling Northridge team at home on Friday.
Harrison (2-0) at Evergreen (2-0): While the reigning South-Central League (and state) champ Pueblo East sits at 0-2, it’s a darkhorse team in Harrison which has emerged as a possible successor to the throne. The Panthers, coming off a 6-4 campaign, are off to their first 2-0 start since 2015, and the dynamic duo of dual-threat QB Orlando Westbrook and running back Aumiere Shedrick makes them strong candidates to make some real noise this year. But first, they must get past an equally improved Evergreen team, led by senior Mason Edwards and a stout defense.