For the second straight week there is only one game on the schedule pitting two ranked teams against each other. That one takes place on Saturday in Walden, as #6 North Park hosts #10 La Veta in the first meeting between the two programs. There are also a number of other key match-ups on the docket, including one that involves poll newcomer, Prairie.
North Park has been off for over a week, after the Wildcats played two games in six days to open the season. They upset then #2 Fleming in zero week, 31-25, scoring the winning touchdown with just a few ticks left on the clock. That was followed up by a 63-13 drubbing at the hands of this week’s #2 team, Peetz.
Blayden Fletcher leads the team with 226 yards and three scores on the ground, and he’s aided by Nic Martin’s 163 yards. Austin Bertron has only completed seven of 24 pass attempts for 86 yards, but three of those have gone for scores. Martin (18 tackles) and Fletcher (17 tackles) lead a swarming defense. Bertron and Bryce Carlstrom have each recorded 14 tackles, and Waylan Fletcher has added 12.
La Veta comes in with a pair of dominant victories over Aguilar (56-13) and Walsh (62-20). The Redskins feature a balanced attack on offense, having thrown for 354 yards and rushed for 349. Erik Morgan has been very good throwing the ball, completing 24 of 31 passes for 344 yards and nine touchdowns, with Ty Warren being his preferred target. Warren has snagged a dozen passes for 208 yards and four TDs. Tannis Everett is averaging close to 13 yards per carry, leading the rushing attack with 142 yards.
This week’s new #1 team, Stratton/Liberty, hits the road to face Deer Trail. The Knighted Eagles are averaging 55 points a game while limiting their first two opponents to just 20 total points. Their wins have come against Genoa-Hugo (51-14) and Elbert (59-6). Jacob McCormick heads the rushing game with 209 yards, followed by Eltan Yarger with 136 and Owen Clapper with 109. Yarger and Clapper have combined for four TDs on just eight total carries.
Deer Trail is 0-1 after a season-opening loss to Prairie. The Eagles had last week’s game at Cripple Creek-Victor suspended by darkness after a lightning delay of more than an hour. The game will be resumed on Monday, Oct. 9, with Deer Trail leading 31-14 early in the third quarter. Heading into that game, Cole Reed was the team’s leading rusher with 122 yards in 64-13 loss to Prairie. He scored a touchdown rushing and one more receiving.
Second-ranked Peetz went out of state last week to earn its second win of the season. The Bulldogs travelled to Nebraska to face Creek Valley, who dropped to six-man prior to this season. Peetz dominated the Storm, handing them a 58-12 defeat. Bryson Long rushed for 110 yards and two scores, and Logan Sircy caught four balls for 122 yards and two touchdowns of his own.
The Bulldogs will welcome Idalia to town on Friday, looking to make it three straight wins over the Wolves. Idalia gave Kit Carson fits in the opener, eventually falling 32-26. The Wolves responded from that tough loss to drop Flagler last week, 46-41. They lead 26-8 after one quarter, but then had to hold on at the end.  Dax Towns had a big night throwing the football, completing nine of 16 passes for 248 yards and four TDs. Logan Prather, Caleb Wingfield, Sam McGinnis and Erick Estrada each hauled in one scoring toss.
Peetz earned a 67-32 victory in last season’s meeting. The Bulldogs led 13-6 after one quarter, but they blew the game wide open with a 35-14 second period. Long rushed for 140 yards and threw for another 110.
Last week’s top-ranked team, Cheyenne Wells, checks in at #3 this week. The Tigers fell two spots despite handing Branson/Kim a 44-0 loss. The game was called with around seven minutes remaining in the first half. The Bearcats had only suited eight players and at that point, they were down to five. The remainder of their season is in question.
Cheyenne Wells scored two non-offensive touchdowns, returning a kick-off and a fumble for scores. Add a safety and the pressure to put points on the board had been removed from the offense. The Tigers also received rushing touchdowns from Wyatt Fishler, Quade Pelton, Preston Hernandez, and Jade Cozart.
The Tigers are scheduled to visit Walsh (0-2) on Friday. The Eagles are dealing with the tragic passing of their popular girls basketball coach, Lance Turner, who was killed in an accident near Johnson City, KS on Monday. On the field, Walsh has struggled mightily this season. In two games, the Eagles have been outscored 112-26.
After opening the season unranked, the Otis Bulldogs continue their climb up the rankings. An opening night victory over Eads helped the Bulldogs enter the rankings at #5. This week, following a 53-13 win over Weldon Valley, they move up one more spot. Bryce Miracle had a field day in that victory, rushing six times for 182 yards and five touchdowns. The Bulldogs scored eight touchdowns on just 15 offensive snaps. Colton Elliott led the Warriors with 127 yards and one score, and Joe Baessler added 70 yards and a touchdown of his own before leaving with an injury.
The Bulldogs will face preseason #1 Flagler, who at 0-2 is still without the services of Kyle Klann. Klann is expected to return soon after recovering from an offseason injury. The Panthers have sorely missed having him in the lineup, as they’ve been outscored 116-61. Duston Rico has led the team in rushing and passing in his absence, running for 232 yards and four TDs, and throwing for 197 yards and four more scores.
Kit Carson rolled to a second straight home win, downing Cheraw 59-0 last week. The Wildcats scored touchdowns on four of their 14 offensive snaps, but they nearly matched that scoring output on defense and special teams. They scored on an interception return, punt return and kick-off return, giving them more return yardage (253) than offense (186). Joe Bryan was responsible for three of the touchdowns, including the punt return. Cordell Farmer added the 71-yard pick-6
Genoa-Hugo (1-1) will play host to the Wildcats as they hit the road for the first time this season. The Pirates bounced back from their lopsided loss to Stratton/Liberty in the season-opener to pick up a 64-21 victory over Eads on the road last week. Caid Smith threw for 171 yards, ran for 144 and added 24 more in receptions. He also tallied 75 yards in kick returns. Nicholas Knutson accounted for five scores, running for two and catching three. He had 168 yards receiving and 117 on the ground.
The Wildcats built a 32-6 halftime lead last year, en route to a 48-19 victory over the Pirates. Smith and Knutson both had over 100 yards receiving in that meeting, while Chris Bryan led Kit Carson with 100 yards rushing.
A bye week did a world of good for #7 Fleming, as the Wildcats cleaned up a lot of their mistakes that plagued them in the loss to North Park. The Wildcats went on the road and downed Arickaree/Woodlin, 38-32 last Friday. The difference in the contest that was delayed for an extended period because of lightning was the third quarter. Fleming scored four times on four possessions, outscoring the Indian-Mustangs 24-8 in the frame. Kolton Dickinson ran like a man possessed, amassing 305 yards and three scores for the victorious Wildcats.
The Wildcats will spend the next two games playing Nebraska schools, and they jump right into the fire this week. Fleming will host Cody-Kilgore (3-0), the third-ranked six-man team in the Cornhusker State. The Cowboys are led by Garrett Egger, a 180-pound senior who rushed for 1761 yards and 28 TDs last year. He’s added 241 yards and four touchdowns to those totals so far this year. Last week, the Cowboys defeated Hay Springs, 27-18. Next week, Fleming visits Hay Springs, who is just outside of the top-five in Nebraska.
Arickaree/Woodlin’s loss to Fleming dropped the Indian-Mustangs from #6 to out of the rankings. In that defeat, they also lost Kevin Ramirez to an ankle injury early in the third quarter. As of Wednesday, his status for Friday’s game at #8 Prairie was still very much in question. If he can’t go, Lane Kolman, Michael McCaffrey and Arturo Ramos will have to shoulder more of the load on offense.
Prairie has used two lopsided wins to get the attention of the voters and earn the #8 spot this week. The Mustangs followed their 64-13 win over Deer Trail with a 56-0 shutout of Briggsdale last week. Trenton Holzworth has been front and center in those two victories. The senior has rushed for 235 yards and three scores, and thrown for 138 and two more touchdowns. Coltin Hove has caught three balls for 118 yards and a TD, while adding 85 yards and two touchdowns rushing. Patrick Thompson leads the team with four scores on the ground.
Ninth-ranked Cotopaxi picked up a big non-conference victory last week, downing Hanover 57-6 on the road. The Pirates are the favorites in the Southwest Division, while Hanover is expected to once again be in the mix for a Central Division crown. With 122 points in two games, Cotopaxi is tied for the most in the classification with Sierra Grande.
Leading the Pirates into Friday’s home game with Aguilar (0-2) are Kurt Voll and Arlo Garner. Voll, the quarterback, threw for 208 yards and six touchdowns in the season-opener against Mountain Valley. Garner led the team with 112 yards rushing, while supply constant pressure on defense with two sacks and four hurries.
Aguilar, who did not field a program between 2007-09 and 2011-13, has not won more than two games in a season since 2005. This year’s squad has been outscored 98-31 in games against La Veta and Primero. Zamir Holguin leads the Wildcats with 120 yards and three touchdowns on the ground and the duo of Taylor Wheeler and Isaac Gonzales have connected eight times for 73 yards in the passing game.  Gonzales also has a team-leading three interceptions.
Cotopaxi has won four straight over Aguilar, including a forfeit last season. They last played in 2015, with the Pirates claiming a 56-6 victory. Voll rushed for three scores and threw for another in that game.