It’s a big weekend for Class 5A prep football, the final one of September. Teams open up league play Thursday evening, with the classification’s top three ranked teams (Cherry Creek, Columbine and Valor Christian) playing, along with Legacy.

Undefeated No. 7 ThunderRidge opens league play with a one-loss Mountain Vista team, while upstart Eaglecrest looks to keep its momentum going Saturday against fourth-ranked Grandview.


(1) Cherry Creek at Cherokee Trail (Thursday)

Facing off with another top-10 opponent, Cherry Creek proved why it’s still No. 1 with an impressive 42-14 triumph over Regis Jesuit last week. Jordan Herron and Carlson Tann combined to rush for 301 yards and three touchdowns, and Blake Purchase had two sacks.

Cherokee Trail picked up its second victory in a row, holding off Castle View 21-14.

Pomona at (2) Columbine (Thursday)

Columbine’s defense continues to shine headed into its Jeffco League opener. The Rebels have allowed no more than a touchdown in four consecutive games, including last week’s 48-7 rout of Fort Collins. Columbine rushed for 419 yards and six touchdowns in the victory, with Marquane Taylor and Josh Snyder combining for 289 yards and three scores.

Pomona lost its fourth in a row with a setback to Grandview, but snapped a three-game scoreless streak with a pair of touchdowns.

Castle View at (3) Valor Christian (Thursday)

Good teams respond to adversity, and that’s just what Valor Christian did a week ago. After a big loss the week before, the Eagles scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to knock off then-No. 3 Ralston Valley 27-23. Gabe Sawchuk rushed for 117 yards and two scores, part of a 279-yard ground attack on the evening.

Castle View dropped its fourth in a row with a 21-14 loss to Cherokee Trail.

(4) Grandview at Eaglecrest (Saturday)

After getting a much-needed resounding 42-14 victory over Pomona last week, the Wolves open league play with a stiff test against an upstart Eaglecrest team that has impressed on both sides of the ball. Liam Szarka needed to complete only five passes against the Panthers, but two of those went for touchdowns. Donovan Vernon rushed for 148 yards and three scores on only 12 carries.

The Raptors routed Lakewood 47-14 to stay unbeaten headed into league play.

Lakewood at (5) Ralston Valley

Ralston Valley will look to put its loss to Valor Christian in the past by opening up Jeffco League play Friday against Lakewood. Junior quarterback Logan Madden passed for 239 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Eagles, and Josh Rillos hauled in six catches for 99 yards and a score.

The Tigers dropped their fifth in a row, falling to unbeaten Eaglecrest.

Douglas County at (6) Regis Jesuit

League play is coming at the right time for Regis Jesuit, which has dropped three out of its last four after falling 42-14 to top-ranked Cherry Creek. Exander Carroll was 14-of-18 passing for 176 yards and a score, but the Raiders managed only 79 yards on the ground.

Douglas County had a two-game winning streak snapped with a 24-17 loss to Fairview.

(7) ThunderRidge at Mountain Vista

The Grizzlies maintained their strong start to 2022 with a 21-9 victory over Chaparral last weekend behind a dominant defensive performance. ThunderRidge forced five turnovers and accrued four sacks. Cooper Kier passed for 187 yards and two touchdowns.

The Golden Eagles bounced back from their first loss with a 42-0 shutout victory over University in Orlando, Fla.

(8) Pine Creek at Fountain-Fort Carson

Two southern rivals open up league play against each other, with Pine Creek looking to build upon an impressive three-game winning streak that includes a 28-13 triumph over Mullen last Thursday. Mason Miller and Jonathan Coar did the damage on the ground, combining for 264 yards and three scores.

The Trojans have also won three in a row after dispatching Doherty 51-0, the team’s third consecutive shutout.

Highlands Ranch at (9) Rock Canyon

Another undefeated Continental League squad opens league play Friday with Rock Canyon looking to keep its momentum going. The Jaguars notched a 28-17 victory over Arapahoe last weekend, getting two touchdown passes from Luke Wennogle and 157 yards rushing from Aidan Duda.

The Falcons snapped a two-game skid with a 17-8 victory over Smoky Hill. Highlands Ranch lost its previous two only by a combined six points against undefeated Eaglecrest and 3A No. 1 Roosevelt.

(10) Legacy at Rangeview (Thursday)

The Lightning continued an impressive run as of late with its third victory in a row, taking out previously ranked Legend 38-24 in Parker. Junior running Kullen Lerma rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns.

Rangeview has dropped two in a row after getting shut out by 3A’s No. 4 Northridge.