With the top eight seeds advancing to the state quarterfinals, the 3A football playoff bracket has been chalk thus far. Now those eight squads are set for round two this Saturday with offensive firepower found across the board. So winners may be decided on which defenses can make a stand or two or come up with a big turnover at a crucial time.
We look at the four matchups below and will recap from 3:30-5:00pm this Saturday on a special playoff edition of the Colorado Preps Scoreboard Show.
Home teams are listed first in the previews.
#1 Mead (11-0) vs #8 Green Mountain (8-2)
Through the regular season, Mead won 10 games by an average of 33 points and carried that trend to the first round of the playoffs as they topped Harrison by 34 (41-7). Following a slow start and a scoreless first quarter, the Mavericks exploded for 27 second quarter points to take control of the game.
Turnovers by the Mead defense played a major role. A fumble recovery deep in Harrison territory set up the second touchdown and then Trey Ward picked off a pass deep to end a long Harrison drive. Then Ward finished the quarter with a pick-six helping the Mavericks to a 27-0 halftime advantage.
Mead ran for 233 yards and held Harrison to just 90. QB Brady Veltein completed just four passes on the day (in four attempts) but three came on a long 90 yard drive following Ward’s first interception. He finished with 104 yards on the day.
Now the Mavericks defense will try to slow down dual threat QB Trey Towndrow. He’s over 26-hundred yards of total offense and has been involved in 29 touchdowns. In last week’s 27-7 win over Erie, the senior ran for 214 yards and threw for 72.
Green Mountain’s defense has been playing very well of late. In their current five-game winning streak, the Rams have posted three shutouts and then limited Erie to just one score in the first round. Brad Golgart and Danny Wisor each have 81 tackles on the season. They’ve forced 21 turnovers and Towndrow is a factor there as well with four interceptions. Darius Padilla has three.
- History: This is the first playoff meeting between the two schools. Mead has won their last four first round games but they have just one second round win in that stretch. They topped Palisade 44-40 in 2016 but fell to Palisade (27-21) last year and Longmont (30-26) in 2017. Their last and only state semifinal appearance came in 1949 as a six-man program. That year there was just four teams in the playoffs so they entered in the semifinals. Green Mountain is in the quarterfinals for the second straight season. They lost to Erie 34-0 in this round a year ago. The Rams last won in the quarterfinals in 1999 (beat ThunderRidge 48-7) when they captured the 4A state championship. Their other state crown came in 1995.
#4 Palmer Ridge (9-2) vs #5 Conifer (11-0)
This may be a chip on the shoulder game for the Lobos as they may fell they have something to prove. The Lobos finished the season at 10-0 but were still placed behind three teams with at least one loss in the bracket. They were also seeded behind Palmer Ridge who entered the post-season at 8-2. The lower seed also hurts the Lobos as it forces them on the road in round two as they face the two-time defending state champions.
Offensive numbers are big for both teams as the Lobos have scored 498 points and the Bears 512. And each enters the game with a red hot quarterback coming off a strong showing in round one. Conifer’s JR Hart threw for 394 yards and four TD’s in a 38-21 win over Fort Morgan last week. Palmer Ridge standout Luke McAllister finished with 332 yards and five scores as the Bears blew past Holy Family 63-7.
On the season, the numbers are similar for both signal callers. Hart is at 2,195 yards and 26 scores with McAllister totaling 2,029 yards and 22 TD’s.
Defensively the numbers are close as well. Conifer has allowed 161 points through 11 games while Palmer Ridge has allowed 174. Two games account for most of the damage against the Bears as they surrendered 49 to Pine Creek and 56 to Discovery Canyon. They’ve allowed just 69 over the remaining nine. Conifer gave up 38 to Green Mountain and 28 to Fort Morgan in their first meeting but limited all others to 21 or less.
- History: This is the first playoff meeting between the two schools. Palmer Ridge has won their last nine post-season games. Over those nine games, they’ve won by an average of 32 points. Before winning the last two state championships, the Bears had just one playoff win in school history (2015). Conifer’s win over Fort Morgan was their first in the playoffs since 2012. A win this week earns the Lobos just their second semifinal appearance in school history. The first came in 2012 where they lost to Silver Creek (24-7).
#3 Discovery Canyon (10-1) vs #6 Frederick (10-1)
Here’s a third game where the scoreboard operator may be worn out by game’s end. Discovery Canyon tallied 56 in a recent win over Palmer Ridge and has 421 points on the season. Frederick is even more explosive as their 512 point total is tied with Palmer Ridge for the top number in Class 3A.
QB Jake Green continues to post remarkable offensive numbers for Frederick. He started all 11 games as a junior and finished with 1,020 total yards but through 11 games this season, he needs just 163 yards to reach 3,000 for the season. IN last week’s win over Thomas Jefferson (45-14), Green ran for 208 yards and three scores. He also threw for 47.
Discovery Canyon has not posted offensive numbers in last week’s 28-11 first round win over Roosevelt but Marshall Pike remains their top threat. He ran for 1,539 yards in ten regular season games and leads a Thunder offense averaging 335 yards per game on the ground.
Neither team has been pushed in the fourth quarter much this season. Discovery Canyon lost to Pueblo South 31-22 and beat Palmer Ridge 56-49 and two other games have been decided by 13 or 14 points. Frederick is 1-1 in games decided by one score as they beat Erie 21-20 very early and closed the regular season with a 27-20 loss to Mead. Only one other game was determined by 14 points with all others by at least 31.
- History: This is the second straight year the two clubs have met in the post-season and the first matchup was a thriller. Discovery Canyon picked up a wild 34-31 double overtime win in the first round. Marshall Pike ran for 131 yards and three scores in leading the Thunder to the win. Brandon Hornby and Jake Green each scored twice for the Warriors. Discovery Canyon has now five of their last six first round games. They lost to Pueblo East (42-0) in the quarterfinals last year. Their last second round win came in 2016 when they beat Fort Morgan 33-26. The Thunder reached their only state championship game that season. Frederick’s win last week ended a four game playoff losing streak. They last earned a win over D’Evelyn 20-17 in 2011. That year also marks their lone semifinal appearance in school history.
#2 Pueblo South (10-1) vs #7 Durango (8-3)
Fans across the board should be excited about this contest as the first battle between the two league rivals was maybe the best regular season game in Class 3A. Pueblo South won the game 35-34 on October 25th but needed two touchdowns in the final 90 seconds to get the victory.
The Colts took the lead 28-27 with about 90 seconds left only to watch Durango QB Jordan Woolverton dash 47 yards for a score with 50 seconds remaining. A long kickoff return gave the Colts a chance and they responded with a touchdown pass from Logan Petit to Jordan Dickerson in the final 20 seconds for the winning score. The win gave the Colts the South Central league and helped them lock down the number two overall playoff seed.
Even though they came up short on the scoreboard, Durango had a big day moving the football in game one. They rushed for 339 yards and added 132 through teh air. Wolverton ran for 147 and picked up all the passing yards while Everett Howland added 171 yards rushing and a touchdown. Pueblo South ran for 141 including 106 from George Longoria. Petit threw for 124 yards and Dickerson caught five passes for 69 yards.
In round one, South clubbed Lutheran 46-8 to earn a seventh straight win. Longoria ran the ball 39 times and totaled 204 yards. Petit threw for 214 yards but also had three interceptions. Dickerson caught a TD pass and ended the day with five receptions.
Durango avenged an early loss to Palisade by beating the Bulldogs 23-14 last week. Howland had another big day with 137 yards rushing and a TD. Woolverton finished with 199 yards and one TD passing and 82 yards and another score on the ground. The QB is closing in on 3,000 yards of offense this year and over his career, he’s thrown for 4,359 yards and 47 TD’s. He’s just a junior.
- History: This is the first playoff meeting between the two schools. Pueblo South needs a win to reach the semifinals for the second time in three years as they won the 4A championship in 2017. They were bounced in the first round a year ago. They’ve split their last four second round games. Durango has not reached the semifinals since 1997. Last week’s win was just their fourth playoff win since that season. They’ve lost three straight in the quarterfinals dating back to 2000.