A pair of highly anticipated Top 10 matchups will grab many of the headlines in 4A Football this week.  #2 Dakota Ridge is welcomed back from Florida to challenge 8th ranked Vista Ridge on the road while Western Slope rivals #5 Montrose and #7 Fruita Monument renew their long-time rivalry.  They’re joined on the schedule by at least five other contests that grabbed our eye.


Both Dakota Ridge and Vista Ridge are coming off quality wins in season openers.  The Wolves actually trailed Windsor 17-0 before coming all the way back for a 26-20 victory.  Dakota Ridge meantime edged First Coast Florida 23-20 as part of the KSA Classic last Friday.

Brayden Dorman tossed four TD passes and finished with 318 yards in leading the Wolves back from the 17-point hole.  Brandon Hills latched onto three of those scoring tosses and finished with six catches for 138 yards.  Defensively, they surrendered 253 yards rushing and nearly five yards a carry to the Windsor run game.

That’s where Dakota Ridge may choose to attack and if so, look for Noah Triplett to get plenty of carries.  He ran for 105 yards and two scores on 23 attempts last week.  Balance was provided through the air as QB Adam Graves completed seven passes for 169 yards.  Brayden Cusick and Matthew Orr each had seven tackles and the Dakota Ridge defense had nine stops behind the line of scrimmage overall.

NOTE:  The Dakota Ridge – Vista Ridge game has been cancelled as the Wolves are in quarantine and the school has gone to remote learning.  We also believe that Dakota Ridge will fill the gap by playing Thornton.

Physical play up front will be prominent between Montrose and Fruita Monument as both clubs want to establish the run.  Neither team was pushed in week one as Montrose rolled Grand Junction Central 46-6 and Fruita fought past Highlands Ranch 42-17.  In that win, the Wildcats gained 313 yards with five scores on the ground with much of the damage coming from Armony Trujillo.  He collected 164 yards overall and scored three times.

The backfield tandem of Austin Griffin (66) and Tayne Illa (55) combined for 121 yards rushing and each scored two touchdowns.  A big play came from QB Bridger Kurtz who connected with Ethan Hartman on a 57-yard TD pass.

Top ranked Palmer Ridge heads over to Mesa Ridge in what could be an interesting matchup.  The Grizzlies stunned Denver South 31-28 in their opener and can make another big move to the top 10 if they can upset the defending state runners-up.  It won’t be easy as the reloaded Bears easily took out Pueblo East 49-14 in their opener.  They blew the game wide open with three second quarter TDs.

Both teams displayed the ability to throw the ball in week one.  Bears sophomore Derek Hester completed 14 of 23 passes for 238 yards and three scores in his first varsity start.  Two of those scores went to Anthony Costanzo who finished with seven catches for 122 yards.  Nathanial “Gator” Robinson paced the ground game with 130 yards and a score.

Mesa Ridge trailed Denver South 28-15 at intermission but then outscored the Ravens 16-0 over the final two quarters.  While the Grizzlies ran for 157 yards, it was the passing of Noah Ramirez that paced the comeback.  The senior tossed three touchdowns on the night; completing 18 of 36 attempts for 298 yards.  Three different receivers caught a TD with Desmond Burton (7-153) and Tanner Widic (5-58) combining for 12 catches and 211 yards.

9th ranked Chatfield and 10th ranked Golden are new to the rankings this week and both look to build on momentum created with exciting first week wins.  Chatfield outlasted Longmont 49-43 and Golden held off Broomfield 29-22.  This week, the Chargers entertain Brighton and the Demons face local rival Green Mountain (3A).

Golden held off a furious fourth quarter rally to upset then 4th ranked Broomfield.  The Demons led 22-0 after three quarters; only to be outscored 22-7 over the final 12 minutes.  The key in the fourth was a 35-yard touchdown pass from Jazel Riley to Josh Torrey.  That made it 29-7 and turned out to be the winning score.

Riley finished 10 of 19 for 174 yards and two scores.  He added 61 yards and two more TDs on the ground as the Demons chalked up over 400 yards of offense.  Dalton Summers ran for 101 yards and Luc Chevalier 81 in the victory.  On defense, Golden forced two turnovers and collected two sacks from Chase Brion.

Green Mountain allowed 206 yards rushing to Monarch but still handled the Coyotes 35-14.  Nowell Dacres gained 132 yards and Zach Wallace 126 on offense and each reached the end zone twice in the win.

Chatfield turned to a freshman for a big play to close out Longmont.  Brock Narva intercepted a loss near the one-minute mark to stop Longmont’s last chance in a game that featured 92 points and over 900 yards of offense.  The Chargers ran for 357 yards including 117 and four touchdowns from Jake Marshall.  Narva added another 80.

Brighton survived a weather delay to beat rival Prairie View 35-14 in week one.  27 of those points came in a wild fourth quarter.  Ethan Huss intercepted two passes and Max Cisneros ran for two scores as the Bulldogs opened 1-0.

Two Games Outside the Top 10 Could Have Playoff Influence

It’s only week two and with an expanded playoff field to 24 teams, starting off 0-2 is not as desperate in years past but three playoff regulars hope to avoid that start this week.  One will not be able to as Broomfield goes to Longmont.  As mentioned, the Eagles lost to Golden and the Trojans fell to Chatfield in week one so one of the tradition rich programs will go to week three seeking their first win.  Ponderosa is 0-1 after being blanked by Legend and they host a Fort Collins team filled with confidence after stunning Legacy 30-29 in their opener.  The Lambkins trailed 23-0 at one point.

The Longmont-Broomfield contest features two tremendous quarterbacks.  Keegan Patterson threw for 385 yards and ran for another 88 in the loss to Chatfield.  Cole Lacrue tried to spark Broomfield in the fourth quarter as he connected with Josh Dunn on scoring passes of 10 and 25 yards.  He also ran in for a score from eight yards out but the Eagles still fell short.

Ponderosa fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter to Legend and never recovered from that initial shock in a 42-0 loss.  The Mustangs gave up 218 yards on the ground and another 247 through the air while generating only 216 of their own.  They were hurt by turnovers as freshman QB Andrew Heidel had four interceptions.  Zachary Pekarek ran for 62 yards.

Fort Collins was down 24-0 with seven minutes left in the third quarter before turning the game completely around.  A 67-yard touchdown pass from EZ Campos to Dorion McGarity in the final minute finished off the remarkable rally.  It was McGarity’s third touchdown reception of the night as he ended up with eight catches for 209 yards.  Campos finished with 196 yards passing and Max Jones added 107 on the ground.

Remaining Top 10 Schedule

#3 Loveland vs Mountain View:  It’s the second straight in-city rivalry game for the defending state champions.  They rolled Thompson Valley 34-0 last week as the Indians generated 348 yards and five scores on the ground.  Tyson Williams ran for 109 yards and Garret Harstad 86.  Harstad added three touchdowns.  Mountain View fell to Silver Creek 37-9 but still ran for 271 yards.

#4 Fountain Fort Carson vs Liberty:  35 second quarter points pushed Fountain Fort Carson to a 48-0 shutout of Widefield in week one.  Dezmen Oliver picked up 117 yards rushing and three touchdowns on just 11 attempts.  Tavian Tuli also connected with Isaac Logo on a 49-yard touchdown pass.  Liberty came up short to Air Academy 34-14 and gave up 186 yards and four scores to Kadets’ standout Sam Beers.  Chris Hunter ran for 101 yards in the loss.

#6 Erie vs Pueblo East:  Sophomore quarterback Blake Barnett’s freshman season was cut short with injury but he returned to the field in a big way in leading the Tigers past Hinkley 64-14 last week.  He attempted just eight passes but completed four for 175 yards and three scores.  He also added 19 yards and a fourth TD on the ground.  That win pushed the Tigers into the rankings this week.  Pueblo East compiled just 158 yards of offense in last week’s loss to Palmer Ridge.