Fleming and Granada were set for a regular season showdown back on Sept. 10 but fate wasn’t having any of it. Granada faced a player shortage that week and forfeited the game, allowing Fleming to keep its then-undefeated record intact.
Now, more than two months later, that game will finally take place this weekend as the Bobcats and Wildcats meet in the 6-man football playoffs. It’s one of two 6-man games being played at this point of the season, Stratton vs. Otis being the other, and the winners will meet on Nov. 25 for the 6-man state championship.
(5) Otis at (1) Stratton, Saturday 1 p.m
This will be the second meeting of the Bulldogs and the Eagles this season. Stratton got a 64-20 win over Otis back on Oct. 7. It was a common theme for the Eagles as they have rolled through the regular season schedule without a loss.
In the win over the Bulldogs, Alex Cruz had a monster day, rushing for 196 yards and scoring five rushing touchdowns. He averaged 16.3 yards per carry in that contest which made him nearly unstoppable. It was his third-highest rushing total on the year. He ran for 226 against Genoa-Hugo and 280 against Granada. He scored six rushing touchdowns in each of those games. On the year, Cruz has rushed for 1,422 yards and 37 scores and figures to be a focal point for the offense this Saturday.
Only twice did Tayte Smith not rush for at least 100 yards in the 2022 season. He netted 85 yards in Week 1 as Otis beat Kit Carson 53-0. The reason for that low number was likely the offense easing off the gas with such a big lead. The only other time he was held under 100 yards was the loss to Stratton. He went for 78 yards on 17 carries, giving him his worst YPC average this season. He’ll have to climb back up closer to his average of 9.1 yards per carry if the Bulldogs are going to hand Stratton its first loss of the season.
(3) Granada at (2) Fleming, Saturday 1 p.m.
Neither team has been tested so far this postseason so this will be a massive matchup with the winner heading to CSU-Pueblo the next week. These teams haven’t faced each other on the field since 2020 and it was Fleming winning both games, although by combined score of 11 points.
Fleming might have one of the more balanced offenses left in the 6-man field. Braylen Feather has thrown for 1,177 yards and 21 touchdowns while Nolan Japp has rushed for 902 yards and 12 scores. In last week’s win over Genoa-Hugo in the quarterfinals, it was Blake Feather breaking out as he rushed for 205 total yards, Kolten Houser added 119 yards but scored five of the team’s six rushing touchdowns. Houser also picked off a pass and recovered two fumbles on defense.
Since a somewhat stunning loss to Eads in early October, Granada has been wrecking every team it has stepped on the field with. They’ve scored at least 60 points in each game and haven’t allowed more than 32. Brandon Gonlazes can huck the ball around the yard a bit as he has thrown for 1,685 yards and 29 touchdowns. Maddox Coleman has rushed for 977 yards and 12 scores this year. These two similar style offense should give fans in attendance a great game.