The top two seeds in the Class 4A football playoff bracket remain alive and will battle semifinal opponents this weekend. Top seeded Pine Creek faces a rematch with Pueblo West while Broomfield looks to stay perfect on the season as they visit Dakota Ridge. Winners advance to the state championship game the following weekend at Mile High.
#1 Pine Creek (11-1) vs #5 Pueblo West (11-1)
It’s game two between the Southern Colorado rivals this week as Pine Creek handed the Cyclones their lone loss of the season (41-13) in non-conference play. Pueblo West has won seven in a row since including impressive playoff wins over Golden (27-7) and Montrose (31-19). Pine Creek is unbeaten against Colorado teams this year with the lone setback against 5A Valor Christian.
Pine Creek ran for 360 yards on just 25 carries in downing the Cyclones. David Moore did most of the damage with 202 yards and four touchdowns but Spencer Peterson (103) also had an impressive day. Gavin Herberg was also sharp in the passing game; completing 12 of 20 attempts for 201 yards and a score.
West managed 171 yards passing from Chandler Mason but he was also sacked five times and tossed an interception. And while Pueblo West collected 120 yards rushing, Mason finished with minus eight on 12 attempts. Jeremiah Sanchez, with 93 yards, was the most effective.
In the rematch, Pueblo West looks to establish a more effective running game, not fall behind and avoid turnovers. Opponents of Pine Creek have not been able to do that. In last week’s playoff game with Ponderosa, the Eagles jumped to a 24-0 first quarter lead and have now outscored their last six opponents 136-0 in the opening 12 minutes. Then with the big lead, Pine Creek picked off three passes and returned two for touchdowns. Moore also ran for 193 yards and is now just 254 yards from 7,500 for his career. He also scored three touchdowns.
West used some of that strategy in last week’s 31-19 win at Montrose. They led 17-0 at halftime and extended that margin to 24-0 before the Indians made a late rally. Mason threw for 122 yards and two touchdowns and added another 50 yards on the ground. Matt Rudd had another strong rushing effort with 180 yards and two touchdowns. He’s now at 309 yards for the two playoff games which represents nearly half of his season total (760).
- History: Saturday marks the third time the Cyclones and Eagles have faced off in the post-season. Pine Creek has wins in both; beating West 28-0 in the 2017 semifinals and 35-18 in the 2013 first round. Pueblo West has played in three previous semifinal matchups with their lone win coming during their 2007 state championship run. They edged Broomfield 21-14 that season. They’ve lost their last two final four games. In addition to the Pine Creek loss in 2017, the Cyclones also came up short to Monarch (14-6) in 2012. Pine Creek is 5-2 all-time in semifinal contests including wins in their last two. They also topped Chatfield 28-14 in 2016.
#6 Dakota Ridge (10-2) vs #2 Broomfield (12-0)
This shapes up as another classic battle of a high scoring offense against a stingy defense. Dakota Ridge is averaging 36.5 points a game in the playoffs with wins over Fruita Monument and Heritage and on the season has scored at least 34 points in seven of ten wins. Broomfield has allowed just 107 points through 12 games including just a dozen in wins over Grand Junction and Chatfield.
Last week’s defensive effort against Chatfied (27-3) was very impressive as the Chargers entered the game having scored at least 21 points in all but one game. Hall Edmonds led the Eagles with 14 tackles while Simon Worthley and Antonio Welch-Soto added seven apiece. Broomfield also collected three sacks and three interceptions.
Dakota Ridge is coming off a wild win over Heritage where they suffered through many ups and downs. The Eagles led Heritage 21-3 after the first quarter but needed a touchdown pass from Ben Gultig to Mason Galbreath with 19 seconds left to rally for the 38-34 win. It was the second scoring connection between the two on the day. Charlie Offerdahl added 190 yards and three TD’s and now has 300 yards with six scores in the post-season.
Part of Broomfield’s success on defense comes with their running game which chews up quite a bit of the game clock. The Eagles ran 53 times for 305 yards and averaged nearly six yards per attempt. On the season, Caden Peters has 2,374 yards and 20 TD’s including 179 yarfds and two scores in last week’s win.
- History: The playoff series is split as both teams have a win. The last meeting occured in 2014 with Broomfield collecting a 27-17 victory. Dakota Ridge topped Broomfield 35-7 in 2004 during a second round showdown. Broomfield is in the semifinals for the third time in four years and the fourth time since 2014. They’re 1-2 in the previous three matchups with the win coming in 2016 over Windsor (25-13). The Eagles then lost to Pine Creek (36-14) in the state championship game the next week. Broomfield has three state titles in school history with the last coming in 1984. Dakota Ridge is in the semifinals for the fourth time in school history. The lone win came in 2004 when they edged Greeley West 22-17. They’ve lost their most recent two visits in 2010 and 2008.