5A Football
The old Centennial League is back together and called the Metro West these days. The league's two remaining unbeaten teams collide on Friday when Cherry Creek meets Eaglecrest. PHOTO PROVIDED BY JACKS ACTION SHOTS

It’s an interesting stretch for Aurora’s Grandview.

Two weeks ago, the Wolves blew a big lead in falling to undefeated Eaglecrest, the 2017 state runner-up.

A week ago, they knocked off previously undefeated Cherokee Trail.

And in Week 10, they are looking at a matchup against possibly undefeated Cherry Creek.

What are the common themes here? All of the above opponents for Grandview are in the new Class 5A Metro East League. All are Cherry Creek District foes. All have had battles with the Wolves like these previously. And all were in the Centennial League, which ruled big schools since suburban play went widespread in the 1970s.

“The old Centennial League is back to its old tricks,” Grandview head coach John Schultz said.

Schultz is wry and wise, and not just because he is one of the few prep valedictorians as head coach. He identifies something and deals with it.

For instance, Grandview used to be a team that started slowly on offense in favor of its always good defense. But Schultz said “I was looking at the stats and I think we’re just playing better.”

Against the Cougars the past week, they ran 70 plays from scrimmage. A whopping 43 went to senior running back Jordan Billingsley, who rushed for 231 yards for three touchdowns. Plus, the Wolves have been pretty beaten up, missing four starters, losing linemen, asking running backs to also play linebacker, and on and on …

“We’re doing well and there is a lot in front of us,” Schultz said.

The Wolves hope to finish strongly and earn one of the 5A’s first-round byes, although Schultz points to the likes of Columbine, Pomona and Ralston Valley in addition to his league foes.

Plus, they have been getting it done with a sophomore at quarterback, Jacob Burr.

“We‘re growing … we’re trying to grow, anyway,” Schultz said.

As for this week’s opponent, it’s Arapahoe on Thursday. The Warriors passed on playing in Week 7 after another round of student suicides at the school.

Once again, real life went up against prep football. And real life remained undefeated.

As for Week 8, the following offerings have been labeled for your viewing pleasure as the P-word, postseason, draws nearer. Enjoy:

Best bets …

Columbine (7-0) vs. Ralston Valley (6-1), Thursday, 7 p..m., NAAC

It will be for at least a share of the Metro West. Both teams are 2-0 in the loop, tied with Pomona. … The Rebels have won two of the past three meetings against the Mustangs, both by scores of 21-7. … In last week’s 41-16 crushing of Lakewood – the Rebels had the 40-point mercy rule implemented by halftime – senior QB Logan DeArment was a sparkling 8-of-12 for 194 yards, four TD tosses and zero interceptions. … Defenders Cole Parrott and Cody Ramming led the tackling and pressure parades. … The Mustangs rolled Mullen 45-0 last week and handed head coach Matt Loyd his 200th career victory. Loyd is in his 19th year with RV and also led Golden. … Senior Brad Roberts tops RV with 500 yards rushing for nine TDs.

Cherry Creek (7-0) vs. Eaglecrest (7-0), Friday, 7 p.m., Legacy Stadium

It will be for the Metro East lead. … After last week’s forfeit victory over Arapahoe, it will be the Bruins’ first game in 14 days. … Even with the idle week, senior QB Alex Padilla has completed 69 percent of hois passes, has thrown only one interception and stands third in TD passes with 16. … Despite the breakup of the Centennial League earlier in the decade, the two Cherry Creek District foes have only missed meeting once, in 2016. … You may have known this, but it’s worth restating – the Raptors, who had their coach quit after Week 1 in protest against school facilities and approach, have won 27 consecutive regular-season games. …  Eaglecrest senior QB Dylan James leads all seven classifications in total TDs (20) and points (120), and is second in 5A rushing (1,226 yards).

Fossil Ridge (3-4) vs. Fairview (6-1), Friday, 7 p.m., Recht Field

It’s a Front Range matchup and Fairview is the only 2-0 team. Fossil Ridge is 1-1. … The Fort Collins’ SaberCats, who beat crosstown-rival Rocky Mountain 24-21 last week, have not been above .500 all season and have yet to win back-to-back games. … None of Fairview’s remaining three opponents have winning records. … The Knights’ video-game passing numbers continue. Junior QB Aidan Atkinson is 173-of-278 for 2,937 yards, 38 TDs and 5 interceptions. The Knights also have three receivers with at least nine TD catches. Bryce DesJardins has 17, and Henry Blackburn and Matt Greenwald each have nine. … By the way, the Knights do have some rushing TDs. They have seven.

Pomona (5-2) vs. Mullen (3-4), Friday, 7 p.m., Brother Bernard Kinneavy Field at De La Salle Stadium

 It’s in the Metro West and Pomona has a piece of the lead. … Indeed, the defending state champion Panthers have taken a couple of hits, but they were close ones to Valor Christian and Cherry  Creek,  both undefeated. … Like many others, injuries have bitten Pomona – six starters are out, said coach Jay Madden — although it remains eighth in 5A scoring (238 points). … Senior Dominic Bettini has 10 TDs, tops on the team, and Washington State commit Billy Pospisil has a modest seven, although it’s still early for him. … Scoring has been an issue for Mullen, which ranks 26th (135 points) of 40 teams. … Bright spots on defense have come from senior Wilson Bialecki and touted junior lineman Aidan Keanaaina, who also visited Notre Dame the last weekend. … Injuries also have hurt the Mustangs, who already were locked into playing their top guys both ways.

Also keep an eye on …

Chaparral (1-6) vs. Fountain-Fort Carson (4-3), Friday, 7 p.m., Guy Barickman Stadium

It has been feast or famine for the host Trojans, who have part of the South lead – in dropping three of their first four games, they were outscored by a combined 167-68. In winning winning their past three, they own a 130-38 scoring advantage.

Cherokee Trail (6-1) vs. Overland (1-6), Friday, 7 p.m., Stutler Bowl

The Cougars were derailed last week by Grandview in the Metro East, but it’s too late to deflate – after the Trailblazers, undefeated Cherry Creek and Eaglecrest await.

Mountain Vista (1-6) vs. Valor Christian (7-0), Friday, 7 p.m., Valor Christian

Truth is, the host Eagles deserve to be mentioned here because, well, they’re the Eagles, as in undefeated, are headed by McCaffreys and very talented, and headed by a defense that has allowed a 5A-low 19 points.

Rock Canyon (1-6) vs. ThunderRidge (6-1), Friday, 7 p.m., Shea Stadium

The host Grizzlies and Spencer Lambert (1,037 yards trushing, 13 TDs) first need to handle the Jaguars, but they also know their South Metro collision course with Valor Christian happens next week. Hey, they’re kids.

Lakewood (3-4) vs. Arvada West (4-3), Friday, 7:30 p.m., NAAC

Either the Tigers (senior QB Pierce Holley, 15 TD passes) or Wildcats (senior QB Johnny Krutsch, 21 TD passes) have a chance for a reasonable finish in the Metro West as well as a first-round playoff berth.

Regis Jesuit (3-4) vs. Doherty (3-4), Saturday, 1 p.m., Garry Berry Stadium

These two are locked in a three-way tie with Fountain-Fort Carson, so it’s possible a 5-5 team will take the South. Plus, the Spartans and senior Brian Mosley (474 yards rushing, four TDs) have won three straight games.

Neil Devlin
About Neil Devlin 45 Articles
Neil H. Devlin is in his 39th year covering Colorado high-school sports. He's currently the Sports Information Director at Mullen High in southwest Denver. Twitter: @neildevlin. Web: www.mullenhigh,com

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