It has to feel a bit like déjà vu for ThunderRidge’s football team.

Just more than one year ago, the Grizzlies tangled with Valor Christian in the regular-season finale with the Class 5A Douglas County League title up for grabs. The Eagles rolled to a 52-21 victory that night, wrapping up the league crown.

On Friday night, the stakes are just as big, even if there is still one more week remaining in the 2022 regular season after this weekend. No. 6 and undefeated ThunderRidge hosts No. 2 Valor Christian at 7 p.m., with both teams still perfect in league play.

The Grizzlies (8-0, 3-0) have brought a balanced offense to the table thus far, with 1,428 passing yards and 1,630 yards on the ground through eight games. Six players have at least two rushing touchdowns, and senior Kaden Shouse leads a defense that has allowed less than 10 points in four of eight games with 10 sacks.

Valor Christian (6-2, 3-0) is riding a four-game winning streak and is just as balanced on offense. Gabe Sawchuk and Trey Stott each have five rushing scores, and junior quarterback Asher Weiner has 919 yards of total offense.

Fossil Ridge, which just joined the rankings at No. 10, battles Fairview for control of League 3 on Friday night. Cherry Creek and Arapahoe will do the same in League 4.


(1) Cherry Creek at Arapahoe

Cherry Creek will have to battle it out the last two weeks of the season to secure the League 4 title. The Bruins (7-1, 3-0) visit Arapahoe on Friday, and close out the regular season with No. 7 Grandview next Friday. Creek won its sixth in a row last weekend, routing Eaglecrest 42-7 behind a 324-yard performance on the ground that saw four different players score touchdowns. The Bruins recorded 10 sacks – paced by three from Chase Brackney – and intercepted two passes.

Arapahoe has won three in a row after an earlier three-game skid, with the Warriors defeating Cherokee Trail 16-12 last Thursday.

(2) Valor Christian at (6) ThunderRidge

Valor Christian knocked Rock Canyon out of the 5A Top 10 with a 28-13 victory last Saturday. Stott threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Jake Dragoo, and Sawchuk rushed for 78 yards and a score.

ThunderRidge kept its record perfect with a 35-7 victory over Highlands Ranch last Friday. Cooper Kiel tossed a pair of touchdowns to Richard Okuno and Max Hughes had two of the team’s five sacks.

Chatfield at (3) Ralston Valley

Ralston Valley is riding its second three-game winning streak this season after a 48-7 victory over Pomona last Friday. The Mustangs (6-2, 3-0 in League 1) can claim sole possession of first place in league with a victory over the Chargers (4-4, 3-0). Logan Madden tossed three touchdowns and was 12-of-15 for 241 yards in the victory over Pomona, and the team rushed for 231 yards and four scores as well.

Chatfield, which closes out with area rival Columbine next week, dispatched Lakewood 35-6.

(4) Columbine at Lakewood (Thursday)

Columbine put its first loss of the season in the rearview mirror last Thursday, putting up a season-high in points with a 60-14 victory over Arvada West. The Rebels (7-1, 2-1 in League 1) got three touchdown passes from Brayden Harvey and rushed for 358 yards and five touchdowns, led by Josh Snyder’s 149 yards and two scores on only four carries.

Lakewood is coming off a 35-6 loss to Chatfield.

Legend at (5) Regis Jesuit

Regis Jesuit can all but lock up the League 6 title should the Raiders get past Legend on Friday. Regis Jesuit (5-3, 3-0) has won three in a row and is coming off a 56-28 rout of Chaparral last weekend, a game in which it led 49-14 at halftime.

Legend (5-3, 2-1) lost its first league game, falling to Pine Creek 31-14.

Cherokee Trail at (7) Grandview

Grandview, one week removed from its first League 4 loss, gained some positive momentum with a 42-20 victory over Smoky Hill last Friday. The Wolves (6-2, 2-1) did most of their damage on the ground, with Donovan Vernon and quarterback Liam Szarka each rushing for two scores.

Cherokee Trail (3-5, 0-3) dropped a narrow 16-12 decision to Arapahoe.

(8) Pine Creek at Douglas County (Thursday)

Pine Creek responded after a loss to Regis Jesuit, riding a big second half to a 31-14 victory over Legend. The Eagles (6-2, 2-1) trailed 7-0 at halftime but scored 17 points in the third quarter and added two more touchdowns in the fourth. Quarterback Cameron Cooper paced a ground game that piled up 258 yards with 83 yards and a score. Brett Alvey had a sack among his 10 tackles.

Douglas County (3-5, 0-3) dropped its fourth in a row with a 61-29 loss to Fountain-Fort Carson.

Horizon at (9) Legacy

Legacy moved up one spot in the rankings after its sixth consecutive victory, with the Lightning (6-2, 3-0 in League 2) shutting out Mullen 40-0. Kullen Lerma had 246 yards of total offense, with two touchdowns through the air and two more on the ground. Four players had interceptions, and the Lightning also recovered a fumble.
Horizon (2-6, 2-1) defeated Brighton 26-20.

(10) Fossil Ridge at Fairview

Fossil Ridge moved into the 5A Top 10 with a 31-14 triumph over Rocky Mountain, the team’s sixth consecutive victory. Senior quarterback Tyler Kubat was 19-of-24 passing for 290 yards and three touchdowns – two of which went to Dominic Leone – and Colton Pawlak rushed for 111 yards and a score for the SaberCats (7-1, 3-0).

Fairview (7-1, 3-0) has won five in a row after its 55-7 victory over Fort Collins.