Two clashes of unbeatens are on tap this week, but only one has both teams ranked in the top-10. Saturday afternoon, #3 Cheyenne Wells (3-0) will play host to fifth-ranked Kit Carson (3-0) in a game that could likely determine the champion of the Southeast Division. Also on the schedule is #4 Otis (3-0) hosting Edison (3-0) on Friday in a non-conference game.
Cheyenne Wells announced its presence as a contender back in week one, when the Tigers defeated Flagler in a rematch of the 2016 state title game, 70-20. Garrett Smithâ€™s squad has not allowed a point since the first quarter of that game, shutting out Branson/Kim (44-0) and Walsh (51-0) the last two weeks.
The Tigers have a lot of weapons on offense, led by Quade Pelton, who has thrown for 358 yards and eight scores and rushed for another 101 and three TDs. Wyatt Fishler is the teamâ€™s leading rusher with 195 yards, and the leading receiver with 142 yards and three touchdowns on seven catches. Jade Cozart has added 130 yards and four TDs on the ground, while Beau Roth (5/141) and Noah Scheimer (6/108) are second and third in receiving. Seven players have already reached double figures in tackles, led by Pelton with 27 and Cozart with 24.
A new face may be calling the shots at Kit Carson, but the formula for winning has not changed. The Wildcats value possession on offense and play solid fundamental football in all three phases of the game. In their first three games, the Wildcats have only given the ball away one time, and have five takeaways on defense. They already have five touchdowns off of returns and TJ Conaway has connected on 12 of 14 PAT kicks.
Cordell Farmer has assumed the quarterback reins and the sophomore has performed well. He has thrown for 276 yards and three touchdowns, with Joe Bryan (3 receptions/97 yards) being the top target. Chris Bryan leads a good rushing attack with 246 yards and four TDs, while also catching three passes for 43 yards. Jayden McCombs-Farmer gives the team a good second threat, having rushed for 213 yards and five touchdowns. Like Cheyenne Wells, the Wildcats also have seven players in double digits tackles, led by Joe Bryan (26), Conaway (25) and Farmer (24).
Last yearâ€™s regular season game between the sides was delayed at the half by severe weather and they finished the contest in a heavy downpour. Kit Carsonâ€™s defense came up with several key stops down the stretch to preserve a 22-14 victory. In the postseason, the two teams put on an offensive show. Kit Carson outgained Cheyenne Wells 455-446, but the Tigers picked up the victory, 56-50.
Otis has struggled with slow starts in two of its first three games this year. Last week, the Bulldogs trailed Flagler 8-0 heading into the second quarter, but they found their rhythm in that frame and never looked back. Otis outscored the Panthers 36-6 in the second and then backed that up with a 21-0 third quarter, on the way to a 65-22 victory. Bryce Miracle (161 yards, 4 TD) and Tate Goble (144 yards, 3 TD) powered the offense for the Bulldogs. On the season, Miracle has rushed for 462 yards and 11 touchdowns on only 27 carries. Goble has added 269 yards and five touchdowns on 17 attempts.
After enjoying a nice three-year run of success between 2009 and 2011, the numbers game forced Edison to drop its program and join up with Hanover following the 2012 season. Back on their own, the Eagles have returned to their winning ways, outscoring opponents 135-18 to start the season. Jeff Jordahlâ€™s squad enters the game at Otis having defeated Branson/Kim 59-12 last week. They have to stay focused on the task at hand, with a big match-up against their former teammates from Hanover on the schedule for next week.
Top-ranked Stratton/Liberty (3-0) opened East Central Division play last week with a 47-6 victory over Deer Trail (0-2). The Knighted Eagles led the game 47-0 in the third quarter as Jacob McCormick, Eltan Yarger and Jarret Lichty combined for seven rushing touchdowns on eight combined carries. That trio gained 293 of the teamâ€™s 363 rushing yards. Stratton/Liberty will look to improve to 2-0 in the division when it hosts Idalia (1-2) on Friday. McCormick (306 yards) and Yarger (212 yards) lead a rushing attack that has already amassed more than 900 yards this season.
Idalia was able to hang tough against #2 Peetz for a little more than a quarter last week, trailing 15-6 heading into the second. Things got out of hand for the Wolves after that as they were outscored 45-6 the rest of the way. The big blow was a 30-0 second quarter. Dax Towns and Logan Prather each rushed for a touchdown, but they also combined for four turnovers in the contest. The schedule for the Wolves is brutal. In the first three weeks theyâ€™ve faced Kit Carson (#5), Flagler (preseason #1) and Peetz (#2). After facing the #1 team this week, Idalia has #3 Cheyenne Wells and #4 Otis the next two weeks. Despite a 2-6 regular season record, the Wolves made the playoffs last year because of their top-rated strength of schedule, and they are sitting in the top 15 of the initial RPI this season.
Peetz (3-0) received 151 yards and three rushing touchdowns from Bryson Long in that victory over Idalia. The junior boosted his season totals in those two categories to 439 and nine. Logan Sircy and Alex Curlee each added a receiving touchdown, and Jake Curlee recorded a scoop and score as well as a rushing touchdown. The Bulldogs have this week off as they prepare for North Division opponent Briggsdale next week.
Prairie (3-0) moved up two spots to #6 this week after its 34-14 victory over Arickaree/Woodlin last Friday. The Mustangs supplied some early fireworks for their homecoming celebration, with Trenton Holzworth hitting Coltin Hove in stride on a 61-yard TD pass. Prairie would build its lead to 28-0 by the half, but they struggled to put the Indian-Mustangs away until Holzworth picked off a pass with two minutes remaining. The senior finished the night with 132 yards passing and 117 rushing. He accounted for three touchdowns in the game. Hove added a rushing TD to his one through the air.
The Mustangs will visit Weldon Valley (0-3) on Friday afternoon for a North Division game against the Warriors. Weldon Valley is coming off a 58-26 defeat at the hands of Briggsdale (2-1) last week. Early miscues turned the game into a rout, but the Warriors found some success late in the game with Cole Hall throwing for 250 yards and two scores. Joe Baessler hauled in seven balls for 212 yards and both TDs, and he added 68 yards and two more touchdowns on the ground.
Briggsdale, who rushed for 318 yards in that win last week, will host #7 North Park (2-1) on Saturday. True Miller accounted for 143 of those yards on just seven carries. The senior only had 71 total rushing yards entering the contest. Three other Falcons have rushed for over 100 yards on the season, including Luke Stewart (153), Kaleb Brown (121) and Toby Cockerham (109). Briggsdale owns a 3-2 record against North Park, but the Wildcats took a 63-16 victory last year.
North Park picked up a very nice 41-36 non-conference victory over #10 La Veta (2-1) last week, despite allowing 16 fourth quarter points to the Redskins. Austin Bertron completed eight of 13 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns, with his cousin, Bryce Carlstrom, on the receiving end of every completion. Blayden Fletcher added three rushing touchdowns for the Wildcats.
La Veta will look to get back on track Friday night when it hosts Antonito in Southwest Division play. Eric Morgan was solid in that loss to North Park, throwing for 190 yards and three TDs and adding 115 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He spread the ball around, as four different receivers caught at least three passes, led by Ty Warren, who snagged five for 79 yards and a score. Those two have connected 17 times for 287 yards and five touchdowns on the season.
Antonito (0-1) has not played since dropping a 27-15 decision to Primero in week one. The Trojans did not field a team last season, and it was initially reported that they would sit this season out as well, but their numbers improved to 15 for the season.
Primero (2-1) is looking to contend in the Southwest Division and the Bulldogs will face their toughest challenge this week when they host #9 Cotopaxi (3-0). The Bulldogs opened the season with two wins inside the division, but they were handled last week by Sierra Grande (64-27). Primero gave up 498 yards of offense to the Panthers in that contest, 446 of it on the ground.
Cotopaxi is 2-0 in the Southwest after dropping Aguilar 71-6 last week. The Pirates are 5-0 all-time against the Bulldogs in 6-man and they have a huge clash with #10 La Veta next week, so this could be viewed as a trap game. Coach Jeremy Cole will have the experienced senior quarterback Kurt Voll and senior running back Arlo Garner to keep the squad focused. Voll has thrown for just short of 500 yards this season and Garner has added 340 in the rushing attack.
One final game involves a member of the top-10, as #8 Fleming (1-2) visits Hay Springs, NE (3-1) on Saturday. Itâ€™s the second straight week that the Wildcats will see a Nebraska opponent, as they pushed Cody-Kilgore last week, eventually falling 46-44. Cody-Kilgore is ranked #3 in the state of Nebraska, while Hay Springs is #7. Those two actually played two weeks ago, with Hay Springs falling 27-18.
Kolton Dickinson continues to pace the Wildcats with 647 rushing yards. Brandon Williams has added 249 yards from the fullback spot. Freshman Kade Comstock has thrown for 203 yards and six touchdowns since taking over as the starting quarterback two weeks ago. Williams and Matthew Tanner each have three receiving touchdowns this season.
The Hawks will challenge Fleming with an offense that has piled up 1593 rushing yards in four games, over 398 per game. Most of that has come from Trent Reed, a 180 pound junior, who has tallied 1151 yards and 18 touchdowns to date.
RPI STANDINGS – PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 20TH
- North Park
- Sierra Grande
- Kit Carson
- Cheyenne Wells
- Genoa Hugo
- La Veta
- Mountain Valley
- Deer Trail
- Cripple Creek
- Weldon Valley