A couple of cross classification matchups out west top the 3A football week four schedule as Palisade is challenged by 4A Montrose and Glenwood Springs welcomes in 2A Basalt. Both the Indians and Longhorns are ranked fourth in their respective class and both will be tough outs on the gridiron this week.
Glenwood Springs is 3-0 overall and moved up to seventh in Class 3A this week. Fans for the Demons are learning they need to stick around for the entire game before seeing the outcome. Two weeks ago, they scored a late touchdown to edge Rifle 14-6 and then last week survived a wild fourth quarter in a 35-27 win over Conifer. The Demons led 21-13 through three and then each team allied two scores over the final 12 minutes.
Stats are not available for that win but through their first two wins, Glenwood Springs used the duo of Ray Rosenmerkel (151 yards) and Blake Nieslanik (102) to control the game clock and time of possession. Joaquin Sandoval added 250 yards through the air; taking advantage of defenses when they creep up to stop the running game.
Basalt will be facing their second 3A opponent this year as they also downed Battle Mountain 40-34 in double overtime back in week two. They were banged up in that game but recovered quickly to handle Faith Christian 37-0 last Friday. Kade Schneider threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns in the win. He connected with eight different receivers overall with Ryan Garcia and Sam Sherry both getting into the end zone. Cooper Crawford added two more scores on the ground and finished with 79 yards.
Palisade’s strong second half pushed the Bulldogs past Delta 28-10. The Bulldogs trailed 10-8 after one quarter but then outscored the Panthers 20-0 over the final three quarters. A physical running game was the difference as they generated 360 yards overall. Malakhi Espinoza topped the team with 120 yards and three scores while Rhett Ward added 110 yards with a touchdown. Two others picked up at least 57 yards as the Bulldogs attempted just two passes.
The Bulldogs offense could see some success against Montrose. The Indians surrendered 24 yards in last week’s 39-7 win over Durango. They actually faced 17 more plays than they ran but limited the Demons to four fewer first downs and only seven points.
On defense, Palisade faces a mirror image as Montrose also wants to establish the run. They’ve been effective each of their first three wins and big plays boosted their effort last week as they scored on both a 80-yard run and kickoff return.
Fort Morgan heads to week four ranked fifth in the CHSAA coach’s poll but they’re first in the RPI standings. The Mustangs were scheduled to face Frederick in our feature matchup from last week but that game was cancelled when the Warriors went into quarantine. Now they return to the field with a nice challenge on the road at Conifer.
As mentioned, the Lobos lost a wild one with Glenwood Springs last Friday. It was the first time they’ve struggled defensively this year as they had allowed just seven points before giving up 35 in the loss. The offense is strong as Zach Zalla threw for 168 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those went to Grady Forsythe. Gauge Womack and Nicholas Hudson each ran for 58 yards. Womack also registered 12 tackles on the defensive side.
Briggs Wheatley has totaled 563 yards of offense in two weeks but has several other weapons on the offensive side. One of them is Frankie Ortega who leads the team with 176 yards rushing. Aiden Derry (19) and David Keller (17) lead the defense in tackles.
This game marks the start of a difficult two week stretch to close non-conference play as the Mustangs also tangle with Discovery Canyon next week.
Northridge is off a nice 3-0 start but they face by far their biggest test of the season to date as they head to 2nd ranked Mead. The Grizzlies are vastly improved this year and the matchup will give them a good gauge on how close they are to the top programs in Class 3A.
The Grizzlies have already achieved one goal this year as they’re the city champions by beating Greeley Central and Greeley West over the past two weeks. Cooper Rose, with 397 yards and seven touchdown passes, is the leader of the team. Numbers wise, his favorite targets are Reece Pratz and Jace Reid. Pratz has a team best six catches and Reid the most yardage with 113. Ian Kness, with 446 yards, paces the ground game.
Defense though may be more critical against Mead as the Mavericks are routinely one of the best offensive teams in Class 3A. That high powered group was again on display last week as they rolled through Discovery Canyon 50-7. It was an impressive win as both clubs were ranked in the top six going in. The victory pushed Mead up to #2 this week.
Overall, the Mavericks gained 390 yards rushing and got the job done by committee. No back had more than 11 carries and the team averaged over nine yards an attempt.
Corby Tecu will play lacrosse in college but is one of the best football weapons in any class this year. The senior ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries last week and also caught two passes for 82 yards and a third score. You can beat he will be the focus of the Northridge defense later this week.
A fifth game of note finds Green Mountain going to Holy Family in a battle of one-loss squads. Holy Family has not played since a disappointing effort vs Roosevelt that resulted in a 49-7 loss. They’ve had two weeks to think about that game and also work on some tweaks to be better down the road.
Against the Roughriders, the Tigers gave up 431 yards on 55 plays and didn’t muster many stops. And on offense, they generated only 35 yards rushing on 26 attempts. Both numbers need to be better against Green Mountain this week.
The Rams are battled tested after beating Standley Lake 17-14 last week. They led 7-0 after three quarters and extended the lead to 14-0 before surviving the Gators comeback. It was tied at 14 before the Rams booted through the game winner in the final 30 seconds.
Nowell Dacres was almost the entire Green Mountain offense last week. The Rams totaled 152 yards and Dacres ran for 148. They did not complete a pass in the win.
Outside the rankings, Durango and Discovery Canyon hope for quick bounce backs from lopsided losses last week. Of the two, the Thunder have the more difficult chore as they face Pine Creek. The Eagles are 3-0 and are ranked fourth in Class 4A this week. That game is also Thursday so the Thunder have one less day of prep work. Durango is favored on the road against Farmington NM.
Frederick has another frustrating week as well. As mentioned, they could not make the trip to Fort Morgan last week and this is their regular bye week. So the Warriors will have two weeks off before getting back on the field at Palmer on the 23rd.
Top ranked Roosevelt and #3 Lutheran are favored to post wins this week. The Riders have scored 98 points in their first two victories and could have another strong offensive showing against Harrison (0-3). Lutheran is coming off a 61-point outburst against Battle Mountain and has outscored three opponents 144-28. Clayton Jacobs has tossed at least two touchdowns in every game and has eight on the season. The senior has also thrown for 506 yards and averages nearly 17 yards per completion.
#9 Evergreen dropped into Class 2A to earn a 50-0 rout of Sterling last week and now jump up to 4A to visit Gateway on Saturday. The Cougars defense has been stout this year; giving up just 16 points in three games. The top six tacklers are juniors; headed up by Jack Johnson (33), Gabe Zimmerer (26) and Russ Woodward (24).
CLASS 3A – TOP 10 SCHEDULE
#1 Roosevelt vs Harrison (HURS)
#2 Mead vs Northridge
#3 Lutheran vs Pueblo Central
#3 Durango at Farmington NM
#5 Fort Morgan at Conifer
#6 Frederick – BYE WEEK
#7 Glenwood Springs vs #4 Basalt (2A)
#8 Discovery Canyon at #4 Pine Creek (4A) (THURS)
#9 Evergreen at Gateway (SAT)
#10 Holy Family vs Green Mountain