Well, we’re four weeks into the Class 3A prep football season.
Nine unbeaten teams remain, each at 4-0: Erie (RPI No. 12), Denver North (RPI No. 11), Canon City (RPI No. 9), Mead (RPI No. 7), Palmer Ridge (RPI No. 5), Berthoud (RPI No. 4), Harrison (RPI No. 3), Holy Family (RPI No. 2) and upstart Skyview, the top team in the RPI standings heading into this week.
There have been a handful of major surprises (see: Pueblo East falling to 0-4, Roosevelt rising after back-to-back upset specials).
And two passers — Palmer Ridge’s Ty Evans and Holy Family’s Stone Samaras — have already eclipsed 1,000 yards through the air.
Now it’s time to buckle up.
This week’s slate officially marks the halfway point for many teams, as well as the final tune-up before league play begins in earnest across the state.
With that being said, let’s dive right into the meat and potatoes of this appetizing Week 5 slate. Here’s how it all shakes out.
#10 Canon City (4-0) at #3 Palmer Ridge (4-0)
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Don Breese Stadium
The Blitz: Game of the week alert! Last year, Palmer Ridge escaped with a 26-23 win to move to 3-2, while the Tigers dropped to 2-3. What a difference a year makes. Now, these two nonleague foes head into battle with rock solid unbeaten records on the line. Led by quarterback Ty Evans, Palmer Ridge is fresh off a 49-28 dismantling of last year’s state runner-up, Discovery Canyon. Evans, who was already coming off an admirable junior campaign in which he threw for 3,130 yards and 30 scores, has already racked up 1,216 yards with 16 TDs on the year. Of course, he must have someone to throw to, and sophomore Anthony Roberson has stepped up in a major way to the tune of 569 receiving yards and 4 TDs. It’s been a banner start for the Bears, though they may face their toughest test to date in the Tigers, who climbed into the CHSAANow.com rankings at No. 10 for the first time all season. Canon City beat the other returning state finalist and three-time defending state champion, Pueblo East, 29-16. Zac Hanenberg (866 passing yards, 12 total TDs) has emerged as the playmaker that Canon City needs to contend against the likes of Palmer Ridge. This one should be fun.
#6 Silver Creek (3-1) at #5 Erie (4-0)
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Erie High School
The Blitz: Speaking of gamers, how about this Noah Roper? The Erie senior running back has been pert-near unstoppable up to this point, totaling 863 yards on just 80 carries — 13 of which have already gone for touchdowns. In his last two games alone, in wins against Northridge and Centaurus, Roper has averaged 292 yards per contest with 7 touchdowns. On the other side, Silver Creek is coming off its first loss of the season — only the second loss in the last 17 games for coach Mike Apodaca’s Raptors — by way of a 29-27 falter against Roosevelt. The Raptors still have a seat at the table, and rightfully so, when it comes to the state’s top contenders, sitting at No. 6 in both CHSAANow.com rankings and the RPI standings.
#1 Holy Family (4-0) at Longmont (1-3)
When: 6:30 p.m., Thursday
Where: Everly-Montgomery Field
The Blitz: Three straight losses for Longmont can certainly be chalked up as another of the season’s early surprises, while on the other hand the Tigers of Holy Family have been every bit as good as advertised. The Tigers have ruled atop the Class 3A rankings for the last three weeks, and they further defended that status with a 49-2 bludgeoning of Thompson Valley on the road last week. Stone Samaras has sliced up secondaries to the tune of 1,092 yards and 12 touchdowns thus far, connecting with favorite target Kyle Helbig, a 6-foot-3, 215 pound junior, for 9 of those scores. That dynamic duo figures to be a force for weeks to come.
#2 Mead (4-0) at Fort Morgan (2-2)
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Fort Morgan High School
The Blitz: The Mustangs have struggled without senior end Trey McBride and five other starters last week, dropping two straight — albeit to really, truly solid teams in Holy Family and Berthoud — and it doesn’t get any easier here against Mead. The Mavericks have quietly been one of the most complete and dominant teams, averaging over 47 points per contest while allowing just over 10. In last week’s win over Longmont, senior linebacker Evan Hansen snagged an interception and scooped and scored on a fumble recovery, while quarterback Tyler Keys accounted for 182 yards and a pair of scores. It’s a balanced, methodical attack from the Mavericks, one which has proven mind-boggling for opponents all year long.
#8 Skyview (4-0) at Lincoln (3-1)
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: All City Field
The Blitz: What list of big games would be complete without the NUMBER ONE team in the Ratings Percentage Index standings? Skyview has bolted to the top of the RPI and is now charted at No. 8 in the CHSAANow.com coaches’ poll after reeling off four straight to open the 2017 campaign, including a 27-16 win over Thomas Jefferson last week. Deyvon Butler, with some help from his offensive line, of course, has been the star of the Wolverines’ show thus far. Butler proved his mettle with another 100-yard performance last week, and now has 713 yards with 10 TDs on the ground to this point.
Lewis-Palmer (1-3) at #7 Roosevelt (3-1): The Rough Riders are on the rise. After two straight wins over ranked opponents — by a combined total of five points– Roosevelt finds itself on the up-and-up at No. 7 in the coaches’ poll and No. 10 in the RPI. In fact, the performance of the Rough Riders has even garnered some notice from the folks at Mile High, as coach Lane Wasinger was named the Broncos HS Football Coach of the Week. Roosevelt scored 15 unanswered in the fourth quarter to beat Longmont two weeks ago, while Trent Beall’s 206 total yards and Noah Craig’s last second touchdown plunge sealed the upset over Silver Creek last week; what antics await this week?
#4 Berthoud (4-0) at Thompson Valley (0-4): The Spartans scored a major win over Fort Morgan last week to remain unbeaten and climb to No. 4 in both the coaches’ poll and RPI standings. Quarterback Brock Voth has quietly been among the state’s best, tossing 10 TDs against just one interception. This is Berthoud’s final tune-up test before heading into Tri-Valley League play, which starts off with a bang against Erie on Oct. 6 and Roosevelt on Oct. 13.