Class 5A got started nicely last week with tremendous come-from-behind wins by Grandview and Fort Collins but now the schedule turns to week two. Dan Mohrman looks at his top five games for the schedule.
PHOTO BY KEVIN LYTLE / COLORADOAN
#9 Cherokee Trail at #3 Columbine (Thursday)
After finding itself down early, Cherokee Trail played a strong game in the remaining three quarters to open the season with a 35-24 win over Mullen. It was a crucial win for the Cougars as they try and build as much momentum heading into Centennial League play in October. They’ll have to contend with an always powerful Columbine team, who is coming off a good Week 1 win itself. The Rebels amassed 331 rushing yards in a 42-21 win over Denver East. Seth Cromwell led the way with 152 yards and two touchdowns. Overall, Columbine scored five rushing touchdowns and quarterback Brock Zanetell’s lone completion went for 17 yards and a touchdown. Columbine uncharacteristically gave up 21 points and showed some vulnerability in its pass defense which Cherokee Trail could look to exploit on Thursday.
#8 Fairview at Castle View (Friday)
With both teams coming off wins in Week 1, this will be an interesting matchup as both teams really look to get 2021 off to a hot start. The Sabercats looked good and steady in at 27-0 win over Heritage and need that production to hold true as they face their first 5A opponent. The Knights moved up to No. 8 in the CHSAANow.com coaches poll after beating Boulder last week. Freshman quarterback Bekkem Kritza put on a show as he threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns. If anyone thought Liam O’Brien’s graduation meant the Knights would focus more on the ground game, they were sadly mistaken.
#10 Pomona at #2 Cherry Creek (Friday)
This game loses a bit of its luster from previous seasons as Jay Madden stepped down as Pomona’s coach after last season. But that doesn’t mean that the traditional 5A football powers won’t put on a show. The Panthers are looking to rebound from a heartbreaking 30-29 loss to Grandview to open the year. Cherry Creek on the other hand, looked every bit the defending state champion as it rolled to a 42-0 win over Doherty. Christian Hammond, Keegan Holles and Carlson Tann all scored rushing touchdowns in the first half to help the Bruins build its lead early. The defense was unyielding as it never allowed the Spartans to record a first down until the second half when the game was well out of hand.
#5 Legend at Mullen (Friday)
While Mullen is coming off a tough loss to Cherokee Trail, Legend is coming off a big rivalry win over Ponderosa. The Titans want to hold that momentum while the Mustangs want to flip it as they’re hoping for an overall rebound season from last year. Kyle Krebs confirmed fears that he is going to be a tough running back to contain as he ran for 158 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Cougars. Sophomore quarterback Blake Palladino showed poise at times as he threw for 106 yards and a touchdown. Legend wants to remain as offensively balanced as it was in the win over Ponderosa. Bryce Vaz ran for 187 yards and a touchdown while quarterback Colton Warner threw for 247 yards and four scores. This could be a better defensive test for the Titans but Zach Runyon hopes to have another big game rushing the passer as he totaled three sacks in Week 1.
#7 Regis Jesuit at Highlands Ranch (Saturday)
Both Regis and Highlands Ranch look to correct the course of their seasons after Week 1 losses. The Raiders couldn’t get any offense going against Valor Christian as they totaled 216 total yards. Exander Carrol completed more than 50% of his passes but managed just 115 yards and a touchdown. He also led the rushing attack with 46 yards. He’s hoping to improve on those numbers since the Raiders won’t be lining up against the No. 1 team in the state. Highlands Ranch endured a long road trip but struggled on the field in its loss to Fruita Monument. Ryan Chambers threw for 264 yards and a touchdown, but the Falcons were one-dimensional as they netted -2 total rushing yards. Both teams need to get their seasons back on track which should make for a fun afternoon battle.
Remaining Top 10
#1 Valor Christian vs Oaks Christian CA: The top ranked Eagles face the first of two straight out of opponents this week. They’re coming off a solid 24-6 win over Regis in their season opener. Player of the year candidate Gavin Sawchuk opened his senior campaign with 154 yards on 32 carries. Colton Allen also tossed two TD passes to go with 145 yards through the air. Oaks Christian is winless on the young season and has been outscored 68-26 in those two games.
#4 Ralston Valley at Freedom FL: The Mustangs join Valor for an out of state game but they head east for a game in the Sunshine state. Freedom is 1-0 after whipping their first opponent 42-6. Ralston Valley’s defense was very strong in a 21-3 win over Fossil Ridge last week. Luke Resendez intercepted a pass, Bubba Harr recovered a fumble and Jason Thorne collected 10 tackles including six solos.
#6 Grandview at Mountain Vista: Only a few if any teams had a better win than Grandview during the opening weekend. Liam Szarka scored on a one yard touchdown run in the closing seconds; giving the Wolves a 30-29 lead over highly ranked Pomona. Malique Singleton then intercepted a pass to close out the win. Mountain Vista could be another tough out as the Golden Eagles blanked Poudre 17-0 in game one. Poudre could muster only 129 yards of offense and freshman Carter Daniels gained 101 yards rushing for Mountain Vista.
NOTE: Fort Collins scored a big win over Legacy last week (30-29) where they rallied from a 23-0 deficit to steal the victory. We recap that game and preview their next matchup with Ponderosa in our 4A Preview.