While all other classifications turn the page and get involved in conference play, teams in Class 3A football have one more round of non-league activity. And with five of the top ten teams in the rankings this week taking byes, the schedule is also a bit lighter than normal.
The man attraction this week is the battle of unbeatens between #5 Frederick and #8 Eagle Valley. The teams are far apart mileage wise but have taken virtually the same trip in reaching 3-0. Both have been impressive in their three wins but each has also missed a very important game due to COVID within their own camp. Eagle Valley was slated to meet Mead in week two but had to cancel that game and Frederick did not get the chance to play Fort Morgan in week three.
Eagle Valley has had two overtime games already this year with both ending up 38-30 in their favor. The first win came in week one against Thomas Jefferson and the second against University in week four. They were off last week. Frederick has scored at least 43 points in every game this year and feature a defense that’s given up only 41 the entire year.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY FREDERICK HIGH SCHOOL
The Warriors offense is averaging 343 yards on the ground and is over 1,000 yards for the season as a team in just three games (1.028). They’ve also scored 15 times in the running game. Parker Ayres has seven of those scores and is second with 268 yards rushing. Curz Zammudio tops the rushing yardage with 283 and has scored twice.
On defense, Frederick is a big play unit with nine sacks including four by talented sophomore Kemarly Davy. They’ve forced just two turnovers and will look to increase that number against Eagle Valley and other opponents down the stretch.
A win for Eagle Valley this week sets them up as a strong candidate to win the Western Slope championship. Their league schedule is also backloaded a bit as they don’t face either Palisade or Glenwood Springs until the final three weeks of the season.
Glenwood Springs (3-1) is coming off a bye so they’ll be well rested in their challenge against top ranked Roosevelt (4-0). The Demons may also welcome back top running back Blake Nieslanik from injury this week. He’s played just one game; rushing for 102 yards in the opener before leaving with injury. HIs running last Spring pushed the Demons into the state semifinals and he’s one of just three starters back on the field this Fall.
The Demons last stepped on the field two weeks and fell short to 2A Basalt 34-14. They surrendered 248 yards and three TDs through the air and that secondary now faces a Roosevelt team with 15 touchdowns passing in just four games.
Brock Saya is a major reason why. The first-year starter is completing three of every four passes and has thrown for 735 yards and all 15 scores. Tucker Peterson has six touchdown receptions and is one of many talented receivers for the Roughriders. Peterson has three more catches defensively (interceptions) for a group that has nine picks overall.
Overall, Roosevelt has simply dominated their first four opponents; outscoring them 202-7. Their first win was the best; a 49-7 blowout of Holy Family. They’ve not been tested since and may need to be pushed ahead of next week’s showdown with Mead. There’s a good chance the teams will be ranked 1-2 in Class 3A going in; provided the Riders get by the Demons this week.
Another good pairing on tap this week is between George Washington (3-1) and Evergreen (4-0). They have a combined seven wins but each seeks their first “quality win” of the season in regards to RPI. The Cougars haven’t faced a team with a current winning record; in fact their first four opponents have a combined record of 1-16. Because of that schedule, the Cougars are only 16th in RPI despite entering week six without a loss.
G-W scored a nice win over Monarch last week (41-34) but also has a 41-13 setback to 2A Brush on their resume from week one. They open the game 14th in RPI.
In the win over Monarch, it was the trio f Gabe Smith, Silas Evans and Cellus Honeycutt that led the way. Smith threw for 244 yards and four scores with two of the touchdowns going to Evans. Honeycutt ran for 134 yards and caught five passes. He also scored twice.
On defense, the concern is stopping the run and the Patriots have struggled in that area. They allowed 298 to Brush in the week one loss and that number jumped to 379 in last week’s win over Monarch.
Evergreen features a balanced attack as they’ve averaging 181 yards passing and 157 on the ground in their four wins. Tommy Poholsky has 682 yards and nine TDs; Jacob Rutherford has caught 16 passes with three scores and Gabe Zimmerer enters the game with 456 yards rushing and nine scores.
Pueblo South and Green Mountain collide in a very important game this week. Both clubs have faced a strong schedule but each sits at 2-2 and needing a win to boost playoff hopes entering the conference season. The Rams are 20th in RPI this week with South at #22. The teams have a common opponent in Holy Family and both came up short; the Colts fell 34-27 in week one and the Rams lost 28-6 in week four.
Green Mountain’s loss continued their pattern of rotating wins and losses this year. In addition to the Holy Family loss, the Rams also fell to Golden in week two but beat Monarch (35-14) and Standley Lake (17-14) in weeks two and four. They worked through a bye last week.
The Rams are much better at running the football than throwing right now. They have 690 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground compared to just 123 yards and no scores through the air. Noah Dacres tops the offense with 327 yards rushing and two trips to the end zone. On defense, sophomores Ryan Bourne (29) and George Soppe (25) are the top two tacklers. Soppe also has all three of the Rams’ fumble recoveries.
South has won their last two games; beating Lewis Palmer 26-7 and Thomas Jefferson 42-18. The margin of victory against TJ was impressive especially when you consider that gave up 487 yards of offense. South ran for 216 yards including 103 from QB Jace Bellah. Ethan Gonzalez and Davon Washington also combined for 72 yards and each scored twice.
UPDATE: Holy Family vs Canon City has been cancelled. Game five on our list is an interesting matchup of Holy Family and Canon City. Both sets of Tigers are 2-2 on the season but they’re separated by 24 spots in this week’s RPI. As mentioned, Holy Family has wins over Green Mountain and Pueblo South but also losses to #1 Roosevelt from 3A and #2 Resurrection Christian from 2A. Canon City has quality losses to 4A Mesa Ridge and unbeaten Frederick but their wins are against Harrison and Sierra; two teams have not experienced a win this season.
Canon City is virtually 50-50 in yardage on offense. Maxamus Hagans has thrown for 666 yards while the Tigers have also generated 691 yards rushing. They may lean a bit more on the run game this week after seeing Holy Family allow 371 yards rushing to Resurrection Christian last week. If that’s the case, then Dylan O’Rourke may get a lot of chances. He leads Canon City with 369 yards and six touchdowns rushing.
Holy Family also moved the ball well against Resurrection Christian but couldn’t match the Cougars in points (lost 35-20). Rylan Cooney threw for 156 yards in the loss and the Tigers added 139 yards and three touchdowns rushing.
CLASS 3A – TOP 10 SCHEDULE – WEEK SIX
#1 Roosevelt at Glenwood Springs
#2 Lutheran – BYE
#3 Mead – BYE
#4 Fort Morgan – BYE
#5 Frederick vs #8 Eagle Valley
#6 Durango – BYE
#7 Evergreen vs George Washington
#9 Holy Family vs Canon City
#10 Palisade – BYE