3A FOOTBALL PREVIEW – WEEK 5

3A Football
QB Zach Anderson (#18) has directed Discovery Canyon to four straight wins and now the Thunder prep for their annual regular season battle with Pueblo East. Both teams are ranked in the top four this week. PHOTO PROVIDED BY PAUL KALTHOFF.

This week represents the halfway point in the high school football season.

Well, kind of.

With Zero Week being virtually eliminated after the conference shake-up, different teams have byes scattered throughout their schedule.

But nonetheless, it is Week Five — and no team plays more than 10 games in the regular season — so, potato/tomato.

Here’s where we stand after four weeks of play in a wild, wacky Colorado high school Class 3A:

  • Six teams remain with unblemished records: Erie, Palisade, Discovery Canyon, Thomas Jefferson, Harrison, and Pueblo Central.
  • Of those six teams, only one doesn’t rank in the CHSAANow.com top-10: Pueblo Central (3-0).
  • Discovery Canyon (4-0) is the only team to have played every week thus far; the Thunder have their bye week scheduled right before league play begins, following this week’s top-10 showdown against Pueblo East.
  • Erie’s Noah Roper has 617 rushing yards in his first three games  — which is more than 26 Class 3A teams have gained all season.
  • And finally, approximately 967,000,000 popcorn kernels have been lodged in the unsuspecting teeth and gums of family, friends, and sportswriters who came to the field straight from the office and didn’t have time to eat dinner.

Here’s what Week Five has in store.

 

#2 Palisade (3-0) at #4 Montrose (4A)

This week’s marquee matchup takes place on the Western Slope, where there will be a clash of ranked clans from different classes. Palisade has fully earned its place among the contenders in Class 3A, knocking off Durango (currently No. 9) in the opener before edging 4A Grand Junction last week.

Can they slay the giant (or at least a school with a higher enrollment) for the second straight week? QB Cam Tucker may not hurl the slingshot — he only has nine passing attempts this year — but he has done real damage with his legs (475 yards, 5 TDs).

 

#4 Pueblo East (3-1) at #3 Discovery Canyon (4-0)

After reeling off three straight wins over ranked opponents, the Eagles of Pueblo East suffered their first setback of the season against 4A rival Pueblo West. It was a contentious, low-scoring affair that saw the Cyclones knock the Eagles off their perch — but there is little time for reflection.

Standing ahead of East now is one of the hottest teams in the state, the Thunder, who also happen to be the team that is perhaps most familiar with the Eagles.

It’s a rematch of the 2016 state title game. It’s the fifth meeting between the two in the last four years. It’s gonna be a doozy.

 

Canon City at #1 Erie (3-0)

The top-ranked Tigers are rested up and ready to roar after their bye week. Erie has put up at least 35 points in each of its three wins this year; junior quarterback Gavin Mendoza has accounted for five scores, including four passing touchdowns (out of eight total completions).

 

Northfield (1-2) at #5 Thomas Jefferson (3-0)

Thomas Jefferson High School (the original Kyle Freeland guys — go Rockies) has been one of the top stories of the season thus far.

After emerging onto the scene with eight wins in 2016 and reaching the playoffs in 2017, the Spartans are after another step forward in 2018 — and they might have the squad to do it.

From an offensive perspective, TJ might be the most balanced team in Class 3A, riding both a talented quarterback in sophomore Trenton Koser (24-50, 597 yards, 5 TDs) and an electric running back in junior Daveon Hunter (47 carries, 451 yards, 5 TDs) to an unbeaten start.

 

Pueblo Central (3-0) at #7 Harrison (3-0)

It’s a little surprising that Pueblo Central hasn’t made its way into the rankings yet — but in the end, rankings are really only useful when trying to add a little spice to an article like this one.

The only numbers that truly matter are in the win-loss column, and the Wildcats have three on the good side and a big ol’ goose egg on the bad side. It’s a welcome turnaround for a storied program that has struggled in recent years — Central won just two games in the last two seasons combined — and the resurgence has been led by do-it-all athletes Brandon and Nico Martin. (p.s., did you see this catch by Nico Martin last week? Sheesh!)

As for Harrison, the program made huge strides a year ago with an 8-0 start and a playoff appearance. What better follow-up could there be than to do it all over again?

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Nick Jurney
About Nick Jurney 34 Articles
Nick Jurney is a former sports writer at the Pueblo Chieftain who now makes a living as a digital marketing specialist and freelance writer in Fort Collins. You can follow him on Twitter @NVJurney for sports musings, movie reviews, and pictures of his dog.

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