Things played out the way they seeds said they should have in the first round of the Class 4A football playoffs. No lower-seeded team came away with an upset and in fact, each game was decided by at least two scores.

So now the fun begins. The teams that earned byes are back in action this week as everyone is preparing for a chance to move into the quarterfinals. For the teams that were in action last week, they all hope they can pull off the upsets that they avoided as the favorites a week ago.


Quadrant 1

(16) Skyline at (1) Palmer Ridge, Friday 7 p.m.

The Bears had a week to get rested and healthy as they begin their quest for another state championship. They last won a title in 2019 when they were playing in 3A and have yet to capture a state title as a 4A team. They have the talent to do it this season as Derek Hester has thrown for 1,439 yards and rushed for another 701. Gator Robinson doesn’t have the big numbers as he has rushed for just 688 yards (due to missing some time) and eight touchdowns. He had two clutch runs against Vista Ridge to help Palmer Ridge finish the regular season undefeated.

Skyline jumped out to a fast lead against Widefield last week and poured on 20 more points in the fourth quarter to come away with a 43-13 win.

(9) Fruita Monument at (8) Vista Ridge, Saturday 1 p.m.

Contrasting styles will be on display as each of these teams try to advance to the quarterfinals. The Wolves have had a couple of weeks to recover from their close loss to Palmer Ridge and they’ll try to regain their offensive rhythm against a physical Wildcats team. If Brayden Dorman can come close to throwing for 342 yards per game average he may be able to force Fruita to abandon the run which has made the team so successful.

Fruita has totaled nearly 3,000 rushing yards through the course of the year. Corben Rowell had a solid rushing performance in last week’s win over Grand Junction Central. He ran for 149 yards and two touchdowns and his command of the offense will be vital to getting the Wildcats into the next round.

Quadrant 2

(13) Dakota Ridge at (4) Loveland, Friday 7 p.m.

The Red Wolves haven’t lost a game since August and now is not the time they’d like to break that streak. They open their postseason run coming off a bye week where they could rest and get healthy. Garrett Harstad knows the feeling of making a state championship run and has been solid running the offense. He has rushed for a team-high 1,352 yards and 20 touchdowns.

The Eagles jumped out to a fast lead and rolled to a big win over Longmont in the first round of the playoffs. Noah Triplett rushed for 98 yards and three touchdowns and caught three passes for 43 yards and a score. With a dynamic playmaker on each roster, this should be one of the more entertaining games of the weekend.

(12) Golden at (5) Montrose, Friday 7 p.m.

Gage Wareham and Torrie Eckerman still feel the sting of losing prior to last year’s semifinals, so the Red Hawks are likely to come out swinging in their first playoff game of 2022.

The Montrose defense will have to contend with Jazel Riley, who passed for 168 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 147 yards and two scores as the Demons beat Rampart in the first round of the state tournament.

Quadrant 3

(15) Windsor at (2) Broomfield, Saturday 1 p.m.

Fresh off Cole LaCrue’s commitment to Wisconsin, the Eagles begin their quest for a state title this week. In many ways, they’ve looked like the best team in the classification and all they need to do now is prove it themselves and everyone else. LaCrue is a key factor in that as he has thrown for 1,854 yards and 21 touchdowns this year while also rushing for 627 yards and a team-high 13 touchdowns.

Windsor advanced to the second round thanks to a 23-6 win over Bear Creek. Freshman Wyatt Gustafson threw for 154 yards and a touchdowns while Jaden Thomas rushed for 119 yards.

(10) Mesa Ridge at (7) Heritage, Friday 7 p.m.

There was just one team to lose to Broomfield by less than a touchdown this year and that was Heritage. The Eagles closed out the regular season with a 17-13 loss to the No. 2 seed on the bracket, showing that they can hang with the best teams in the 4A field. Noah Shoen has been a solid dual threat quarterback all year, throwing for 704 yards and rushing for 801.

Mesa Ridge advanced through the first round with a 49-21 win over Monarch. Isaiah Jones rushed for 224 yards while freshman Trevon Salas added 124. They combined to score three touchdowns to help the Grizzlies advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Quadrant 4

(14) Pueblo West at (3) Ponderosa, Friday 6 p.m.

Perhaps no team needed the bye more than Ponderosa. When healthy, the Mustangs have looked darn good this season so that week off could benefit them more than most teams on the bracket. In just eight games, quarterback Zach Stryker threw for 1,153 yards and 13 touchdowns while rushing for 785 yards and 10 scores.

The Cyclones beat Standley Lake 32-22 to advance to the second round. Andrew Plutt broke out with 192 rushing yards while Gavin Henderson scored two of their three rushing touchdowns.

(11) Erie at (6) Denver South, Friday 6 p.m.

The Ravens got to rest up for a week, but face a tough challenge as Erie rolls into All City Stadium. It will be a display of dynamic quarterbacks for the right to advance to the quarterfinals. Joseph Capra has thrown for 1,640 yards and 24 touchdowns while running for 832 yards and 15 scores.

Blake Barnett helped Erie jump out to an early lead over Air Academy and rolling to a 49-7 win.