4A FOOTBALL PREVIEW – WEEK 2

Windsor began the season by knocking off a Colorado Springs-based foe. The Wizards will try to repeat that feat this week, but the degree of difficulty rises substantially.
The Wizards, who climbed from No. 5 to No. 3 in the CHSAANow.com poll after an opening 14-3 win against Vista Ridge, now will welcome top-ranked Pine Creek to its home turf. The defending-champion Eagles have won three of the past four Class 4A titles, the lone exception when Windsor won it in 2015.
That means, naturally, that these squads have combined for the past four championships in the classification. Add in the top-three status of each squad and it becomes exceedingly clear that this is the 4A game to watch in Week 2.
Windsor won its opener in familiar fashion — with its defense and special teams.  Big plays from the kick return units set up both Windsor TD’s; senior Nathan Cole registered 12 tackles and the Wizards limited Vista Ridge to a second-quarter field goal.   Big Halting the Pine Creek attack, though, will require an even higher level of efficiency.
The Eagles knocked off 5A ThunderRidge 23-7 in the opener on the strength of 155 yards and two touchdowns by sophomore running back David Moore. The Eagles didn’t pass much, but their nine completions (all but one by starting quarterback JC Coulter) averaged 16.6 yards a pop.
Windsor played solid in a 19-7 loss to Pine Creek last season, which accounted for the Eagles’ second-lowest scoring output of the season. It was their lowest against a 4A opponent. This one figures to be smash-mouth football at its finest
The opening week saw two new teams jump into the Top 10 — Pueblo South at No. 4 and Rampart at No. 9. Each team is 2-0, having also played on Zero Week. Despite a convincing win, Monarch fell from No. 8 to out of the rankings and No. 9 Denver South also fell out after a last-second home loss to Boulder.
While the Pine Creek-Windsor tilt (7 p.m., Friday) will command the most attention, here are a few additional 4A games to watch this week:
 
Monarch at Rampart (7 p.m., Friday)
Monarch wants its spot in the rankings back, and what better way to do it than defeating the team that took it from them in the first place? The Coyotes racked up 300 yards on the ground in an opening 39-13 win against 5A Bear Creek, including 96 yards and three TDs by senior Cole Polluconi. But apparently, it wasn’t enough for voters to keep them in the Top 10.
Rampart, meanwhile, has been impressive in starting the season with wins against Liberty and Heritage. The latter was a 20-3 decision spearheaded by 13 tackles from Chris Schockey. Quarterback Keion Cross has rushed for 237 yards and four touchdowns in the Rams’ two victories.
 
Wheat Ridge at Broomfield (7 p.m., Friday)
Broomfield tumbled from No. 2 to No. 7 after an opening 35-21 loss to 5A Legacy in the Mayor’s Cup. Quarterback Stephen Croell got off to an uneven start, completing 8-of-19 passes for only 53 yards and one interception. But Broomfield moved the ball well on the ground — Dylan Torres and Mitchell Gorman combined for 194 yards — and Croell will be eager to right the ship against Wheat Ridge.
The Farmers (1-1) rebounded from an opening drubbing at the hands of Pueblo South by doing the same to Palmer. Payton Dietrich rushed for 129 yards on 12 carries and found the end zone three times in the 47-6 whitewash.
 
Fruita Monument at Grand Junction (7 p.m., Friday)
In another testament to how quirky the rankings can be, Fruita Monument clobbered 3A No. 2 Discovery Canyon 49-14 last week. The Wildcats somehow dropped from No. 7 to No. 8 for the effort. While there’s debate to where they belong in the polls, there’s no questioning the immediate impact of the Wildcats’ two-pronged backfield attack of Braeden Graham and Treyton Queen. The tandem has combined for 295.5 yards per game on the ground and already has produced seven TDs.
They’ll attempt to keep that going at Stocker Stadium against a Grand Junction squad that was notably stingy in its opener. The Tigers shut out fellow rival Grand Junction 21-0 and forced four turnovers in the process. Junior Donovan Andrus converted one of those turnovers, a fumble, into a touchdown.
 
Arapahoe at Heritage (7 p.m., Friday)
They might be in different classifications now, but that hasn’t halted the fierceness of the Arapahoe-Heritage rivalry. Things could get ultra-intense here, as neither squad wants to fall to 0-2. Arapahoe, which remains in 5A, lost its opener 38-17 to Rock Canyon despite 245 yards in the air from junior quarterback Kevin Lukasiewicz.
In its 20-3 loss to Rampart, Heritage managed only a third-quarter field goal and allowed two long touchdown runs to Cross. The Eagles, who dropped to 4A last season, endured a 17-3 loss to Arapahoe last season in Week 2.
 
Other ranked teams in action include No. 2 Ponderosa, which will aim for its second consecutive win against a 5A opponent when it takes on Douglas County. The Mustangs defeated 5A Legend 31-21 in Week 1.
After an out-of-state Zero Week loss, Chatfield was idle in Week 1. The No. 5 Chargers will get back to action this week at Palmer. Sixth-ranked Loveland, fresh off a 28-0 win against Westminster, will take on in-town rival Thompson Valley. Of note, Loveland coach Wayne McGinn has now coached his teams to consecutive shutouts against Westminster, where he went to high school.
No. 10 Pueblo West will square off against area rival Pueblo East at Dutch Clark Stadium, hoping to gain steam for the following week against Pueblo South. Fourth-ranked Pueblo South, which has throttled its opening two opponents 77-0, is idle this week.
 
 

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