The Colorado high school football season is another week older, and this it’s another week wiser.
(That’s how age works, right?)
With that being said, what did the first week of Class 3A gridiron action teach us? A whole lot, actually.
We learned about the volatility of high school football from year to year, as the reigning Class 4A champions (Pueblo South) got a fairly rude welcoming into a smaller classification by a sneaky-good opponent (Holy Family). We learned that there are some big-time playmakers (Noah Roper, Luc Andrada) on some big time contenders (Erie, Pueblo East) – who, by the way, have yet to be locked down by any of their many suitors (put a ring on it, one of you local universities).
We learned that the smaller sibling (Palmer Ridge) can still put up a heck of a fight against the big dogs (Pine Creek).
We also learned that it’s still early in the season, and rankings – while extremely useful for the purposes of this here weblog – don’t mean a whole lot just yet.
What wisdom will we gain from the lessons of Week No. 2? Let’s dig in to some of the top games on the docket and find out, shall we?
#1 Erie at #10 Pueblo South 7 p.m., Friday
Erie running back Noah Roper picked up right where he left off last year – which was pretty much just pummelling opposing run defenses to smithereens.
The senior racked up 241 yards and two touchdowns on 22 attempts in the Tigers’ opening win against Evergreen. That leaves him just 890 yards shy of 5,000 rushing yards over the course of his prep run, and four TDs shy of 50. Yowzers.
But one of the things that Pueblo South can point to with some semblance of satisfaction after its week one loss was its run defense. Led by heavy-hitting linebacker Braden Christie, the Colts held Holy Family to just 77 yards on 28 attempts in the opener.
Pueblo’s Dutch Clark Stadium will be the sight of this clash of top 10 teams. Buckle up, sports fans!
Canon City at #2 Palmer Ridge 7 p.m., Thursday
Sure, the defending Class 3A state champs lost the season opener. Sure, the preseason No. 1 had its 14-game winning streak dating back to 2017 snapped. Sure, the Palmer Ridge Bears slipped down to No. 2 in the CHSAA football rankings.
Big whoop. Despite falling to another Colorado Springs powerhouse – Class 4A’s Pine Creek – in the season opener, the Bears are still the team to beat in Class 3A until the scoreboard says otherwise.
Ty Evans and Co. will look to have a bounceback game. Canon City will attempt to make the scoreboard say otherwise.
#7 Durango at #4 Palisade 7 p.m., Thursday
Speaking of a top-10 battle, the Demons and the Bulldogs are set to duke it out in a Thursday night Western Slope slobberknocker.
Durango picked up a 34-6 win over Pagosa Springs in its 2018 debut, while Palisade is set to take the gridiron for the first time this season.
Running back Dawson Marcum has emerged as a delightful compliment to the passing game, led by Jordan Woolverton, which makes Durango devilishly dangerous in Class 3A.
#9 Longmont (4A) at #3 Pueblo East 7 p.m., Thursday
Strangely enough, there are seven Thursday night games in Class 3A alone this week – and this one just might be the highlight of them all.
What has turned into a nice little rivalry, Longmont will head to the Steel City for its season opener against No. 3 Pueblo East, which is soaring high after an electrifying 47-8 win over then-No. 6 Roosevelt.
Eagles’ quarterback Luc Andrada, now in his third year as a starter, found big-bodied receivers Marvin London and Kain Medrano (a UCLA commit) with open arms in week one, going 12-14 for 263 yards and 5 TDs. Sheesh!
#5 Mead at #10 Skyline (4A) 7 p.m., Friday
Friday night high school football – the way it’s supposed to be!
After grinding out a 27-14 win over Lewis-Palmer in week one, the Mead Mavericks are doing what every scrappy fighter does – punching up a weight class in an effort to prove their mettle.
The Mavs, led by senior running back Ryan Bullock and sophomore athlete Brayden Keys, will do battle with Skyline – a somewhat surprising playoff team in Class 4A last year – in what promises to be a fun one.