Leading off our 3A Preview in week three is another important game inside the Northern conference. At the start of the year, we projected that Roosevelt, Mead and Fort Morgan would battle for the best record. Game one involving the three was last week as Roosevelt nipped Mead in overtime and game two is set for this week as #5 Mead meets #6 Fort Morgan. PHOTO BY PAUL DINEEN.
Both teams are right in the middle of the playoff picture. In addition to the coaches poll, both the Mustangs (#4) and Mavericks (#7) are also in the top eight of MaxPreps. RPI hasn’t been released this year and Packard won’t update until the final game of week takes place in eight man Tuesday night, but there’s a good bet both teams would also be in the top eight there as well. Post-season bids will be determined by a mix of those four sets of rankings.
Mead comes into the game off the tough one point road loss to Roosevelt in overtime. Both clubs scored on the first play of the overtime session but while the Riders booted their extra point, the Mavericks decided for a two point try and the win but their run up the middle was stuffed by the Roosevelt defense. Fort Morgan moved to 2-0 as they used 20 answered second half points to beat Frederick 41-21 last week.
Each club has a balanced attack. Mead threw for 191 yards and a TD against Roosevelt and also added 140 and two scores on the ground. Evan Morris led the ground charge with 81 yards on 17 carries. There are a few concerns defensively for the Mavericks as they surrendered 357 yards to the Riders.
Hoping to exploit that defense is Fort Morgan QB Briggs Wheatley. He tossed three TD’s against Frederick last week and finished with 193 yards through the air. He also led the ground game with 85 yards. Frank Ortega added 79 yards rushing while Brayden Fajardo caught a team-high four passes for 52 yards. The defense also picked off two passes in the win.
The scenario is basically the same for the matchup of #9 Holy Family and Discovery Canyon. In the preseason, the two clubs were projected to play for the top spot in the Colorado but #4 Lutheran loudly jumped into the fray by whipping the Thunder 57-17 last week.
Discovery Canyon was missing some key players due to quarantine and after falling behind 28-0 in the first quarter, they were taken out of their normal option running game. The defense allowed 318 yards on 38 rushing attempts (8.4 per carry) and also 198 and three TD’s through the air.
Most of the quarantined players are expected back this week and the Thunder will need them. The loss dropped them out of the CHSAA top 10 and down to 15th in MaxPreps so another loss could eliminate them from the playoff picture. With Riverdale Ridge, Niwot and Lewis Palmer on the schedule to close the season, the Thunder after this week, should win out but it may not matter if they fall short on Friday.
Holy Family has not been pushed in blowing past Niwot and Lewis Palmer by a combined 72 points. They’ll look to establish the run behind Tevin Johnson who’s racked up 332 yards on 24 carries including a 97 yard touchdown run against Lewis Palmer last week. QB Michael White offers balance with four scoring passes and 276 yards through two games.
A win by Holy Family puts them in great shape playoff wise and makes the Colorado a two team chase with Lutheran. The Lions and Tigers (oh my) are slated to meet in week five.
One other note on this week’s game. It’s been moved to six o’clock on Friday and will be played at Air Academy High School.
Ranked second this week, Durango meets unranked Pueblo County. Despite the difference in polling, both clubs are 2-0 so this one has a chance to be a sneaky good game. The matchup features two of the best quarterbacks in Class 3A. Durango’s Jordan Woolverton opened the season with five TD passes against Mitchell and is a serious contender for Player of the Year honors. Pueblo County’s Chase Hartman has totaled 613 yards of offense in two games and if the Hornets keep winning, he also will be in the running for POY.
Woolverton finished 14 of 22 for 276 yards as the Demons finally got on the field last week. Their first game with Pueblo South was postponed and they made quick work of Mitchell last Saturday. The Demons led 29-0 after one quarter and 50-0 at half. The defense intercepted four passes to set up short fields and the offense took advantage. Ben Finnesmith caught two TD passes, Gage Mestes latched onto four passes and Jordan Stanley added two receptions and a score.
Hartman passed for 164 yards and four TD’s in the win over La Junta last week. He also added 186 yards rushing and a fifth TD on just 10 carries. In the week one win over Pueblo Central, Hartman totaled 263 yards and was again over 100 yards in both rushing (127) and throwing (136). He’s been involved in seven touchdowns this season.
One other offensive threat is Ethan Mauger. He picked up 108 yards on 15 carries against La Junta.
#3 Pueblo South finally gets into the game action this week as they visit Pueblo Centennial. The Colts reached the state finals last year and opened the season ranked number one by the coaches. But they’ve not played this year after cancelling their first two games due to positive COVID tests on the football team. Now the Colts are ready to roll and may rely on George Longoria early this year. He ran for over 1,800 yards in 2019.
Pueblo Centennial looks to bounce back from a 17-9 loss to Pueblo Central in the Bell Game last week. The loss dropped them to 0-2 on the young season.
Top ranked Roosevelt looks to avoid a letdown from the Mead win as they visit Thompson Valley. Briggs Hartson threw three touchdown passes in the win over Mead; Keegan Sterkel ran for 102 yards and Keaton Kaiser caught 11 passes.
#4 Lutheran jumped six spots in the rankings this week due to their 40 point win over Discovery Canyon. They’ll be heavily favored against a Mitchell club that has surrendered 112 points in two games. Clayton Jacobs threw for 182 yards and three scores and also contributed 103 yards in the running game last week. Dorian Pacheco picked up 120 on the ground and Ryan Kenny 93. UPDATE: This game has been cancelled due to COVID issues at Mitchell high school.
#7 Palisade seeks a third straight win at Summit this week. The Bulldogs moved past Battle Mountain 49-15 last week; rushing for 358 yards on 51 attempts. QB Gabe Harrison led the way with 101 yards but three others finished with at least 56 yards. Jaden Spears had 79, Franklin Barks 73 and Nate Bollinger 56. Summit is 1-1 thanks to a 56-23 win over Thornton last week. QB Cameron Kalaf combined for 398 yards of offense and was involved in six touchdowns.
#8 Green Mountain scored a very impressive 31-0 shutout of Conifer last week as Darius Padilla passed for 168 yards and a touchdown. He also led the Rams with 88 yards and three scores on the ground. The Rams meet Eagle Valley this week and will be heavily favored since the Devils missed their first two games due to quarantine. Saturday will mark their first time on the field in 2020. Green Mountain must also avoid looking ahead to next week’s important battle with Palisade.
#10 Canon City is new to the rankings this week after stunning Pueblo East 21-18 last week. The Tigers were slated to host winless Niwot on Friday but have to sit out the next two weeks due to quarantine. Canon City is also slated to meet Pueblo Central in week four so that game may be delayed a couple of days or cancelled all together. An official decision likely won’t be made on that one until next week.
Outside the rankings, there are two games of interest as Mountain View goes to Conifer and Pueblo Central meets Pueblo East. All four teams are 1-1 on the season. Winners remain in the playoff discussion while the two other clubs fall to 1-2 and likely out of the bracket.