“Go west, young man,” is a phrase often credited to classic newspaper editor and American author Horace Greeley.
Colorado schoolboy football coach Todd Casebier did the opposite.
He headed east.
A familiar figure for two decades on the Western Slope, Casebier now is at Castle View in Castle Rock, south of Denver, and hasn’t lost his sense of humor.
“I’m doing another program,” he said this week, “and sometimes I think I need my head checked to see if I’m insane.”
Actually, Casebier is just fine and he has strong numbers as verification. He was at Palisade for seven years, Montrose for 10 and spent the past three at Fruita Monument, His record was 175-60 with three title-game appearances, a state championship in 2003 (at Palisade), and his teams made the playoffs 18 times.
Plus, his SaberCats opened 2018 successfully. Last week, they beat Fort Collins’ Fossil Ridge 35-28 in Class 5A nonleague. It was the program’s first road victory since 2016.
“We’ve got a few kids who can play and are buying in, but nothing gets a buy-in like a win,” Casebier said.
His purpose, he said, “is to get this thing going in the right direction.”
Castle View, across I-25 on the west side from the original Douglas County High, is in its 13thÂ year and has struggled, particularly since joining big schools in 2012 in the short-lived Pioneer League. The SaberCats’ 5A aggregate mark entering 2018 was 18-42.
Still, Casebier said, his move “came down to that I had been at three places where I grew up and there wasn’t really any place to move up in possibly challenging yourself.”
Plus, better financial benefits — his wife also is teacher, on the elementary level — as well as the chance to build something new at yet another Colorado area that is growing like a weed toward the end of his career was simply too good to pass by him.
“It’s definitely a different pace of life,” Casebier said.
Tackle-defense line Andrew Grout, inside linebacker-running back Connor Kelly and safety-running back Cole Ouster had strong openers and the SaberCats will ride Casebier’s split-back veer for what it’s worth. And he appreciates being accepted.
“It’s a project, but I think we can do something here,” he said. “We have a lot of support and all of the resources you need.”
Week 2 of big-school play will beginÂ on ThursdayÂ and for the second consecutive round there will be noÂ SaturdayÂ offerings.
Below are the top games of the week for your viewing pleasure:
Best bets …
Columbine (1-0) vs. University, Orange City, Fla. (0-1),Â Thursday,Â 5 p.m., West Orange, Fla.
The Rebels opened last week with a 35-3 pasting of Denver East in nonleague. … Junior RB Tanner Hollens piled up 134 yards rushing and two touchdowns. … QB Logan DeArment was 2-for-2 passing for 91 yards and a TD, a 72-yarder to junior Luke Folsom. … It’s one of several out-of-state games for locals. … The University Titans compete in Florida’s Class 8A District 2 and have had four consecutive winning seasons. … They began the 2018 season last week with a 27-19 setback to Deltona, Fla. … The Titans’ enrollment is listed at 2,010.
Grandview (1-0) vs. Highlands Ranch (0-1),Â Thursday,Â 7 p.m., Shea Stadium
Of course, the Wolves usually start slowly, but they managed to come up with a 38-6 victory over Chaparral in nonleague. … Â Grandview erupted for 301 yards rushing, 175 by senior RB Jordan Billingsley, who also managed a TD. … Sophomore Jacob Burr earned the start last week and was 7-of-11, for 91 yards and two TDs, scoring tosses to the 6-foot-6 Dayne Prim. Prim finished with three catches for 65 yards. … Highlands Ranch, in new head coach John Trahan’s debut, dropped a wild one, 49-35 to Eaglecrest, the 2017 runner-up. … Sophomore Jake Rubley threw for 216 yards and three TDs, and was picked off twice. … Six different receivers had catches, topped by Konor Lathrop’s five receptions for 92 yards.
Castle View (1-0) vs.Â Arapahoe, (1-0),Â Friday,Â 7 p.m., Littleton Public Schools Stadium
The SaberCats were 0-5 on the road a year ago. In fact, their victory at Fossil Ridge last week was their first away victory since Oct. 28, 2016, when they won a roadie against Arvada West. … Jordan Jackson (136 yards rushing) and Oster (119) handled most of the offensive load. … Arapahoe and its followers were giddy a week ago after a 52-6 spanking of host Adams City. … It was the debut of new head coach Rod Sherman. … It’s the first meeting between the two schools.
Eaglecrest (1-0) at Fountain-Fort Carson (1-0),Â Friday, 7 p.m., Guy Barickman Stadium
This is a recording — the Raptors won in the debut of their new coach, in this case Dustin Delaney. … Eaglecrest has won 21 consecutive regular-season games after having losing records in nine-of-10 seasons from 2006-15. … Â The two played last year with Eaglecrest winning 35-14. … The military-based Trojans won on the road last week, 21-14 over Thornton’s Horizon. … Fountain-Fort Carson survived two second-half TDs by the Hawks.
Overland (0-1) at Regis Jesuit (0-1),Â Friday,Â 7 p.m., Lou Kellogg Stadium
It’s a backyard battle in Aurora. … Both are coming off disappointing losses — Overland got shut out by district-rival Smoky Hill and Regis Jesuit lost its roadie, 29-20 to Florida’s Barron Collier. … The Trailblazers were credited with only 73 yards of offense the past week. … The Raiders had won 23 of their past 27 games. … The two haven’t met since 2009, when Overland won 6-0 in nonleague. … Regis Jesuit has dropped its past three out-of-state games.
Also keep an eye on …
Bear Creek (0-1) vs. Pomona (1-0),Â Thursday,Â 7 p.m., NAAC
The defending state champion Panthers will make their in-state debut after handling Florida’s Oak Ridge 32-14.
Smoky Hill (1-0) vs. Rangeview (0-1),Â Thursday,Â 6:30 p.m., APSS
In another meeting of Aurora teams, Smoky Hill RB Obasanjo Sanni is coming off a 255-yard, one-TD effort against Overland.
Evans, Orlando, Fla, (1-0) vs. Fairview (1-0),Â Thursday, 7 p.m., Celebration High
The Boulder-based Knights also enjoy road trips. Plus, junior QB Aidan Atkinson can show his stuff, especially after a 404-yard, five-TD passing effort in Week 1.
Ralston Valley (1-0) vs. University, Orlando, Fla. (0-1),Â Thursday,Â 5 p.m., Orlando, Fla.
The Mustangs will take their act out of state, led by Brad Roberts, who had 146 yards rushing and four TDs in a 51-0 pasting of Rangeview.
CherryÂ Creek (1-0) vs. Santa Margarita, Calif. (1-1),Â Friday,Â 7 p.m., Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
To this point, the Bruins are regarded as Colorado’s best, so why not take on some other state’s team? In a 56-7 whipping of Colorado Springs’ Doherty, QB Alex Padilla threw for 206 yards and four TDs.