Class 3A continues a very good non-conference schedule where many of the top clubs face off every week. Week four continues the trend with battles between Holy Family-Discovery Canyon, Mead-Roosevelt and Pueblo West-Pueblo East among others. We look at all in our 3A preview.
Pueblo West (3-0) at Pueblo East (1-2)
The latest edition of all the great in-city rivalries down south pits Pueblo West against Pueblo East in a game that doesn’t have a title like most of the others. And in 2019, it’s a tale of two completely different defenses. West has been very effective on that side of the ball in allowing just 16 combined points in wins over Fruita Monument, Pueblo County and Mesa Ridge. East meantime, is still developing roles for new faces and has allowed 101 points in their first three games.
The Cyclones gave up just 105 total yards in blowing past Mesa Ridge last week including just 28 on the ground on 19 attempts. They’re also solid against the pass; surrendering just 100 yards overall this season.
The Eagles though have not held any opponent to under 162 yards on the ground or 171 through the air. Palmer Ridge totaled 376 yards in last week’s win, Longmont picked up 439 and Roosevelt finished with 414.
That defense will try to slow down a red hot Chandler Mason. The Cyclones QB completed all 10 pass attempts against Mesa Ridge for 248 yards and four TD’s. Two of the scores went to Tanner Tate with Reece Bundy and Dawson Menegatti catching one apiece.
Holy Family (1-1) at Discovery Canyon (2-1)
It’s still early in the season but the two clubs have a common opponent in third ranked Pueblo South. And neither fared that well. Holy Family fell to the Colts 49-25 and Discovery Canyon came up short 32-22 last week. As you would guess, neither team posted very good defensive numbers against a very good Pueblo South offense. Holy Family gave up 219 yards rushing and 256 through the air while Discovery Canyon surrendered 200 on the ground and 179 passing. Both will look for better efforts this week.
Holy Family is well rested as they’re coming off a bye week following a 29-0 shutout at Glenwood Springs in week two. Talk is always centered on the Tigers offense but for the defense, it was their second shutout in the past four games. They also blanked Skyview to close out the 2018 regular season.
Benito Hernandez had eight tackles and Ryan Biehler seven tackles and two sacks. On offense, Calahan Carter attempted only 17 passes but still threw for 122 yards and two scores. Trevin Johnson was also effective; gaining 137 yards with a touchdown on the ground.
Fort Morgan (2-0) at Thomas Jefferson (1-1)
Both teams are coming off tight wins in week three as Fort Morgan edged Lutheran 15-14 and Thomas Jefferson held off rival Denver South 21-17. The Mustangs scored the only points of the second half in what turned out to be a 30 yard field goal from Adam Cardona. South used 111 yards rushing and a touchdown to overcome three turnovers against the Rebels.
Defense was also a big factor for Thomas Jefferson. That group also forced three turnovers including a fumble recovery from Avery Shunneson who led the team with 14 tackles.
Fort Morgan also looks to avenge a home win against the Spartans (22-14) last year. A win also gets
Mead (3-0) at Roosevelt (1-1)
Quick starts have pushed Mead to a 3-0 start on the season as they’ve outscored opponents 55-0 in the first quarter. They led both Lewis Palmer and Evergreen 21-0 after the first period and were also up on Skyline 7-0 at that point. Overall, they outscored those opponents by 109 points.
In averaging 46 points per game on the season, the Mavericks pick up over 10 yards per carry. They’ve also scored 12 touchdowns on the ground in just three games. Nathan Bailey has four of those touchdowns and Jake Wachter three. They’ve also combined 626 yards. The Mavs’ defense is also playing at a high level; forcing five turnovers with 10 sacks. Trey Ward has two picks and Jacob Bartholomew three sacks.
To keep the Mead offense on the sideline, Roosevelt looks for an effort similar to the win over Pueblo East than the loss to Discovery Canyon. They ran for 239 yards rushing and passed for 175 against East but totaled just 115 yards in last week’s loss to Discovery Canyon. Braeden Saya is their main offensive threat. The QB has thrown for 227 yards and 121 rushing. He also has two interceptions defensively.
Two sophomores lead the Roosevelt defense. Cooper Walton (17) and Clayton Robinson (15) have combined for 32 stops.
Weld Central (1-1) at Frederick (3-0)
Coming off the huge win over Erie to capture the Miners Trophy for the first time in six years, Frederick needs to avoid a letdown against a team they beat 54-6 a year ago. That’s because Weld Central is much improved from 2018 as evidenced by a win over Englewood (30-21) and a quality loss to University (21-8). The Rebels generated 296 yards against University but four turnovers proved too costly. Zayne Stam led Weld Central with 136 yards on 24 carries.
The fourth quarter was an emotional ride for Frederick last week. Trailing Erie 14-7, they scored two quick touchdowns to take a 21-14 lead then watched Erie scored a late touchdown. The Warriors though turned back a potential game winning two point conversion try to gained the big win. Jake Green was the difference as the QB gained 197 yards rushing. Brandon Hornby added 83 yards on jur four carries but one was a 75-yard TD sprint.
On defense, Riley Dufour, Bryce Schust and Sean Holbrook were all involved in 15 tackles.
Other Games to Watch
Green Mountain (2-0) at Lutheran (1-1)
Another team looking to avoid a letdown is Green Mountain. The Rams picked up a statement win at Palisade (28-14) last week and must not look past a Lutheran team that is only a late FG away from being 2-0. Their one win came against 2A Platte Valley when the Broncos were ranked #1 in their division.
Trey Towndown is coming off a tremendous junior year but is well ahead of the pace set last year. He tossed four touchdowns in last week’s win; giving him nine for the season which matches last year’s total. He completed 15 of 22 attempts for 334 yards which pushes his season total to 593.
Sand Creek (2-0) at Palmer Ridge (2-0)
After recording just two wins in four years, the Scorpions 2-0 start is among the better stories of the early season. More wins are likely down the road but probably not this week as they face the two-time defending 3A state champions. Palmer Ridge is coming off an easy 41-0 win over Pueblo East last week.
Niwot (2-1) at Littleton (0-2)
A couple programs that have had difficulty posting wins in the past both have a chance to earn one on Friday. Niwot has not won more than three games in a season since 2008 when they finished 7-4 and in the playoffs. Littleton has dropped 15 straight with their last win coming in 2017 against Palmer (27-12). They’re also seeking their first points of the season for new head coach Zeric Martinez.