There’s a new number one team in six-man after last week’s big clash between Granada and Cheyenne Wells. Cheyenne Wells bumped the Bobcats out of the top spot with a 77-20 victory, giving the Tigers the inside track to a South East division crown and the top seed in the postseason. There’s still a lot of regular season left, though, and for the first time this year, the slate does not include a contest between top-five squads. In fact, there are no match-ups of ranked teams at all this week.
PHOTO BY VIBRANT VALLEY PHOTOGRAPHY
Cheyenne Wells (4-0) will put its new #1 ranking on the line on Friday afternoon when the Tigers host Eads (2-2) in league play. The Tigers got 225 yards and five rushing touchdowns from Cade Mitchek in last week’s win, including a 74-yarder, and three more on the ground from Evan Worley. However, it was the defense that was the true star in that contest. The Tigers got a safety just three plays into the game, on the first of 10 sacks they would record. That unit also came up with two takeaways, and held the explosive Granada offense to 142 yards of offense, minus 42 on the ground.
After starting the season 0-2, Eads picked up its second straight win by beating Walsh 45-21 last week. Eads got out to a 13-0 lead and maintained a 13-point edge at the half before putting the game away with 20 third quarter points. Their run defense struggled at times, allowing Leyton Jones to rush for 188 yards, but they were able to keep the talented sophomore out of the end zone. They will be challenged even more this week. If they focus too much on that aspect of the Cheyenne Wells’ attack, Blake Gilmore has shown the ability to pick teams apart. He was eight of nine for 100 yards and a TD last week.
Cheyenne Wells has won four straight against the Eagles, but they are just 4-3 with both in six-man. Only one of those seven games was decided by fewer than 24 points. That was a 36-34 Eads victory in 2016.
One of the best games on paper this week is also in the South East, where #3 Granada (2-1) will visit Cheraw (3-1) on Friday. Despite everything that went wrong for the Bobcats in their loss last week, there were a few bright spots. When given time, Dominic Coleman threw for 182 yards and three scores on six completions. Maddox Coleman snagged four balls for 172 yards and three touchdowns. The brother duo has connected 13 times for touchdowns in three games. Maddox also led the defense with 11 tackles.
Cheraw is just outside the top-ten once again, as the Wolverines earned their third straight win by blanking Kit Carson (0-4) 56-0 on the road last week. It was their first win over the Wildcats since 1993. Head coach Brad Phillips was a freshman on that Cheraw squad. His son, junior QB Cade, threw for 223 yards and six touchdowns last week, giving him 11 TD passes in just over two games. He was sidelined with an injury early in the opener against Idalia and missed all of the following week. Micah Reece caught two TD passes and added another score on the ground.
While there’s not as much history between Cheraw and Granada, the Wolverines will go into the contest looking for another milestone victory. They have not beaten the Bobcats in three tries since Granada dropped from eight-man. The last two have been close, with Granada winning 26-12 two years ago, and then pulling out a 67-60 victory last season. They outscored Cheraw 22-6 in the fourth quarter of that shootout. Both quarterbacks tossed seven TD passes and combined for 565 yards.
Fleming (3-1) climbed one spot in this week’s rankings, claiming a first place vote while settling in at #2. The Wildcats tossed their third shutout of the season, as they downed Pawnee 70-0 last week. In their three wins, they have outscored the opposition 182-0. The lone loss was 46-0 in an eight-man game against #4 Haxtun. Five different backs reached the end zone last week, with Hayden Burr and Nolan Japp each doing so twice. Japp added another score on a kick return, and Kolten Houser made a house call on a pick-six. The Wildcats will look to improve to 3-0 in the North division when they visit North Park (2-2) on Saturday.
North Park bounced back from a 40-point loss to Prairie in week three by blasting Weldon Valley (0-4) 64-7 last week. That evened their league record at 1-1. Ale Nugent and Jayden Dailey both went for more than 120 yards on the ground and combined to score four of North Park’s six rushing touchdowns in the win. Hunter Sessions added two TD strikes through the air, one each to Preston Gonzales and Montgomery Ramsey. Ramsey added a scoop and score on defense.
Fleming is 8-1 against North Park, with the lone loss coming on the road in 2017. The last time they played in Walden, Fleming claimed a 36-12 victory.
Fourth-ranked Stratton (2-1) returns to action after having its bye last week. The Eagles will visit Arickaree/Woodlin (2-1) on Friday, with both teams trying to improve to 2-0 in the East Central. Stratton opened league play two weeks ago with a 57-18 win over Otis (1-3). The week before, the Eagles had two key players go out with injuries in the loss to Cheyenne Wells, so the bye came at a good time. While the offense has been a bit more varied than in the past, it still starts with the running game. Alex Cruz, Charlie Clapper, and Cyler Notter give the Eagles three very talented threats in the backfield. Notter is also dangerous on the outside as a receiver.
Arickaree/Woodlin also comes off its bye, just in time for Homecoming. The Indian-Mustangs escaped a road trip to Hanover (2-2) in their last outing, on a day when the temperature exceeded 100 degrees. They outscored the Hornets 22-6 in the second half to claim the 38-28 victory. Logan Wright ran for 161 yards and three scores and added a TD pass to Samuel Koolstra in that win. Those two also combined for 37 tackles, with Koolstra recording 20.
Seventh-ranked Idalia (2-1) needs a win over Hi-Plains (1-2) on Saturday to keep pace with the winner of that contest in the hunt for the division crown. Idalia is also returning from a bye and the Wolves needed that time to fix some issues with their pass coverage after being torched by Granada the week before. The Wolves gave up more than 300 yards and seven TD passes in that 62-14 loss.
Hi-Plains got its first win of the season last week, thumping Kiowa (0-4) 61-6. Logan Cordell ran for 140 yards and three scores on only three carries, while Cody Banks and Merit Rudell each added two total touchdowns in the win. Bex Seaman threw two touchdown passes and ended up with 97 yards on just three completions. The big strike was a 71-yarder to Banks.
The series between Idalia and Hi-Plains has been pretty even, with the Wolves winning seven of the last 13. When Hi-Plains was with Flagler, that co-op split four meetings evenly against Idalia.
The biggest jump in the polls this week was owned by Prairie (3-1), as the Mustangs moved up three spots to #5. They rolled to 3-0 in the North division with a 54-18 win at Peetz (2-2) last week. The Mustangs led 38-0 after one and 54-6 at the half. Andy Long was 2-2 passing for 92 yards and a pair of touchdowns to David Speicher, and Parker Jaeger added a TD pass to Brock Dollerschell. Maverick Mertens contributed two rushing touchdowns and another score on a kick return.
Prairie visits Pawnee (0-3) on Saturday, with the Coyotes still searching for their first win this season. In recent years, when Pawnee was unable to field its own program, interested players joined the team at Prairie.
While Prairie was the big mover going up the rankings this week, the biggest drop belonged to fellow North division contender, Briggsdale (4-0). The Falcons claimed a closer than expected 30-28 win over Otis last week, and the coaches around the state dropped them four spots, down to #9. They are 2-0 in the division and will host Peetz on Friday night. Last week’s victory was the first time this season that the Falcons had not scored at least 56 points. Otis threw for three touchdowns in the contest, and also forced four turnovers by Briggsdale, giving the Falcons two areas to clean up before facing another squad of Bulldogs.
Chance Segelke hooked up with Mike Kissell for a TD pass in the loss to Prairie, and both registered an interception on defense, as well. Wyatt Talheim got into the end zone for a rushing score and the Bulldogs also got points from their defense, with Noah Naegele adding a scoop and score. The Bulldogs are just 1-2 in the division and they’ve lost two straight to Briggsdale. The last win for Peetz in the series was the ridiculous 101-85 win in 2018.
Sixth-ranked Branson/Kim (4-0) keeps rolling along, as the Bearcats earned a 72-20 win on the road at Cotopaxi (0-3) last week. It was the second straight week that they had posted 72 points. Brock Doherty threw for 85 yards and two touchdowns, while Peyton Cranson ran for 180 yards and four scores. The Bearcats are home on Saturday to face Primero (0-1) in South Central play.
Sierra Grande (4-0) took a major step toward winning the South West crown by beating Mountain Valley (2-2) 33-0 last week. The eighth-ranked Panthers got two TD passes from Isiah Chairez in a game where both defenses were the stars. Sierra Grande tallied 195 yards of offense, while the Indians were held to 98. Chairez recorded three picks, and Tyler Kester added three sacks. Jacob Martinez had a game-high 16 tackles for Mountain Valley. Sierra Grande visits Cotopaxi on Saturday, while Mountain Valley visits Cripple Creek-Victor (0-2) on the same day.
Tenth-ranked Genoa-Hugo (3-0) returns from its bye to visit Hanover on Friday. The Pirates are led on the ground by Wyatt Miller (295 yards, four TD) and Colby Simmons (191 yards, three TD), and through the air by Trey Smith (244 yards, four TD). Miller has also caught seven passes for 191 yards and four scores, and has a team-high three interceptions on defense. Hanover, coming off a 56-6 win over Flagler (1-2) last week, features the 1-2 punch of David Brown (313 yards, five TD) and David Byers (189 yards, five TD) on the ground, along with the strong arm of Dalton Sweazy (376 yards, four TD).