The three most enticing match-ups on the Class 4A football schedule this weekend include a 250-mile roadie and two games stretching across classifications.
Players from three of the current Top 10 teams in Class 4A will spend the weekend relaxing and recovering like responsible young athletes. Maybe that’s a stretch, too.
The trio of games that command attention:
Thursday: #8 Ralston Valley (5A) at #2 Loveland
It was only a decade ago that these two strong programs were competing in the same classification. They last met in the 2007 Class 4A playoffs.
2nd-ranked Loveland (2-0, 0-0) compelled chatter across the state after blasting a Top 10 and then blanking their in-town rival. Senior QB Riley Kinney has multiple options – including himself – within that powerful rushing attack that has totaled 102 points. Senior LB Sean Boylan leads a tough brand of defense that hasn’t allowed a point yet. However, this next opponent is noted for personnel depth far beyond most 4A programs. And Ralston Valley (3-0, 0-0) has been rolling in all phases through three games: 18 offensive touchdowns, 9 sacks, 5 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery returned for a touchdown, and outscoring opponents 59-3 in the 1st half.
Friday: #1 Pine Creek Eagles at #2 Valor Christian Eagles (5A)
Snap that thing on real good, kid.
Juggernaut programs will cross over classification boundaries to clash under the lights of the Valor campus in Highlands Ranch.
Familiar figures have fueled top-ranked Pine Creek (3-0, 0-0) to efficient wins through three weeks of play. Junior RB David Moore III is rushing for 167.0 yards per contest. Junior WR/DB Max Lofy has caught a TD pass in each game while also making impact in a defensive secondary working behind the physicality of Eagles like senior LB Sam Miller and junior DE Elias Rolfe.
Valor (3-0, 0-0) is coming off a lid-knockin’ grind last week versus Pomona. Their defense has recorded 13 sacks plus five interceptions and yielded merely 12 combined points in three outings.
Collectively, the two programs have banked ten state championships since 2009.
Friday: #10 Fruita Monument Wildcats at #3 Chatfield Chargers
Imagine the visual of the Fruita bus weaving through Glenwood Canyon, over the Continental Divide, then bombing the final grade of their 250-mile journey to Jeffco Stadium for a Top 10 tango on the turf.
These are ranked opponents from opposite regions of Colorado and their respective styles of execution differ from each other in a way that demands us to look.
No team has scored more than 13 points in the Wildcats previous two contests.
10th-ranked Fruita Monument (1-1. 0-0) marches steadily and run-heavy with senior RB Treyton Queen. Senior DE Kaden Jolly and a physically-challenging defense will work on holding down #3 Chatfield (3-0, 0-0) – a team that averages 450.0 yards and 44.3 points per outing. Senior RB Hunter Barnes is averaging 255.7 combined rushing and receiving yards per game and has scored nine TDs.
Other games on the radar:
Thursday: #8 Windsor Wizards (1-1) at Silver Creek Raptors (1-1)
Friday: #4 Skyline Falcons (2-0) at Brighton Bulldogs (2-1)
Friday: #2 Pueblo East (3A) (2-1) at Pueblo West Cyclones (2-1)
Friday: Monarch Coyotes (1-1) at Greeley West Spartans (1-1)
Friday: Golden Demons (2-0) at Standley Lake Gators (1-1)