There is no shortage of big contests this week, with three that will impact divisional races and another between two of the top four in the RPI standings. No one can officially wrap up a division title this week, but several teams can take a huge step towards claiming the crown.
In the North, #1 Peetz (4-0) hits the road to visit #5 Prairie (5-0) on Friday. Both teams are undefeated in the division, and the winner quickly becomes the favorite to win the North. Both still have to face #9 Fleming, who already has a loss inside the division, and Prairie also has #7 North Park still on the schedule.
Peetz dominated Briggsdale (2-3) last week, building a 49-0 lead by the end of the third quarter and cruising to the 49-8 victory. Tre Fehringer threw for 163 yards and three scores, one apiece to Alex Curlee, Logan Sircy and Gage Travis, and Hunter White rushed for a career high 104 yards on just three carries. White scored on two of those three carries. Sircy finished with 149 yards on four receptions and an interception on defense. Bryson Long, who was limited on offense, recorded a 70-yard pick-six on defense.
Prairie has recorded its first five-game winning streak since the Mustangs put together six straight wins in the 2013 season. The Mustangs went on the road to face Primero (2-3) in a neutral site game at Hanover last Saturday and they recorded a 63-0 shutout of the Bulldogs. Seven different players scored an offensive touchdown, including Walter Jordan, who also returned an interception for a score.
Peetz has won three straight in the series, including an 86-31 decision last year. Long and White each rushed for two touchdowns in the win, while Trenton Holzworth (102) and Coltin Hove (78) led the Mustangs on the ground.
Eighth-ranked La Veta (4-1) visits Sierra Grande (5-0) on Friday with the lead in the Southwest on the line. Both are 3-0 in the division, but the Redskins have a win over third place Cotopaxi (4-1) on their ledger. Sierra Grande closes the regular season at the Pirates.
La Veta led Cotopaxi 20-14 after one quarter last week, and then outscored the Pirates 51-24 the rest of the way for the 71-38 upset victory. Eric Morgan leads the team in passing and rushing, with Ty Warren and Tannis Everett as his top weapons. Heading into the game last week, those three had accounted for over 1500 yards from scrimmage.
The Panthers tuned up for this week’s big contest with a 72-31 victory over Antonito (1-3). Freshman Caleb Scharasch rushed for 199 yards and five touchdowns and Arthur Rodriguez tossed two TD passes in the win. Scharasch also recovered two fumbles, returning one for a score.
This is just the second time these two will meet as six-man programs. La Veta won last year’s meeting 75-34 with Morgan throwing for 208 yards and five TDs. The Redskins threw for 492 yards and eight touchdowns as a team.
Tenth-ranked Genoa-Hugo (3-2) already owns a win over second place Hanover (3-2) in the Central Division and after last week’s 65-19 win over Cripple Creek-Victor (1-3) moved the Pirates to 2-0 in the division. They are the only team without a league loss heading into Saturday’s game against Edison (3-2) at Hanover. Last week, Caid Smith ran for four scores and passed for three more, giving him a hand in 19 offensive touchdowns this season.
The Eagles dropped their second straight game last week, falling to Hanover (3-2) 41-36. The Hornets recorded three safeties and a return touchdown in the contest. Edison is 1-1 in the division, and is facing Genoa-Hugo for the first time. Some of their players were part of Hanover’s program last year, and were on the short end of a 47-6 loss.
Second-ranked Stratton/Liberty (5-0) ran all over Arickaree/Woodlin (2-3) last week, racking up 377 yards in the 61-8 victory. Jacob McCormick accounted for 163 of those yards, scoring three touchdowns in the game. The Knighted Eagles’ defense recorded six takeaways, five fumble recoveries and an Eltan Yarger pick-six. Heading into Friday’s game at #3 Cheyenne Wells (5-0), the Knighted Eagles have allowed a total of 44 points, with no more than 14 in a single game.
Cheyenne Wells had some struggles at Idalia (1-4) last week, only holding a 20-8 halftime lead. After the break, the Tigers put the game away by outscoring the Wolves 20-0. Wyatt Fishler (114) and Quade Pelton (106) both went over the century mark on the ground and each scored two touchdowns. Pelton also tossed two TDs, one each to Noah Scheimer and Beau Roth. Their defense registered three sacks and four takeaways.
These two programs have met four times and three of the four have had crazy finishes. Three years ago, Cheyenne Wells scored twice in the fourth quarter to take a 25-20 victory. The following year, the teams combined for 40 fourth quarter points, with the Tigers holding on for a 44-38 win. They met twice last season and the first one left people shaking their heads. Cheyenne Wells led 41-8 late in the first half, and seemed to be in complete control. Stratton/Liberty scored right before the break and then outscored the Tigers 33-0 in the second half for a 49-41 victory. In the state semifinals, the Tigers got their revenge with a 64-30 win.
Waiting in the wings for Stratton/Liberty is #4 Otis (5-0), who hosts Idalia this week. A week after scoring 49 first quarter points against Edison, the Bulldogs put 42 on the board in the opening frame against Deer Trail (0-4). The Otis varsity ran 12 plays in the contest, which they would go on to win 54-8. Bryce Miracle ran the ball four times for 149 yards with three touchdowns, while Tate Goble also scored three times on four touches.
Despite its record, Idalia has given opponents fits in the first half this season. In two of their four losses, the Wolves have been within two scores at the half, before falling in the second half. This marks the sixth time in as many games that their opponent will be ranked at the time of the game. In the last three weeks, the Wolves have played #1, #2 and #3. Dax Towns has thrown for just under 500 yards this season, while Logan Prather is the leading rusher with 343 yards.
Idalia owns an 8-5 record against the Bulldogs in the recent history of the series, but Otis has won five of the last six. Otis piled up 515 yards of offense in last year’s 60-29 victory over the Wolves.
Sixth-ranked Kit Carson (4-1) showed a strong run defense in last week’s 38-20 win over Flagler (1-4). The Wildcats held the Panthers to 45 yards on 24 carries, an average of 1.9 yards per carry. They will visit a Branson/Kim (1-3) squad on Saturday that has lost its last three games by a combined score of 168-12.
North Park (4-1) returns to action on Friday afternoon when the seventh-ranked Wildcats visit Weldon Valley (0-5) for a North Division game. The Wildcats feature the hard-running tandem of Blayden Fletcher (551 yards, 11 TD) and Nic Martin (268 yards, 2 TD), as well as the passing combo of Austin Bertron and Bryce Carlstrom. The cousins have connected 16 times for 346 yards and six touchdowns. Weldon Valley has been hit hard by injuries and went into last week’s 64-0 loss at Fleming with just seven in uniform. North Park has won four of five prior meetings with the Warriors, including the last three.
After two straight weeks of butting heads with two very good Nebraska teams, #9 Fleming (2-3) returned to the win column with that dominant effort against Weldon Valley last week. With a big early lead, the Wildcats turned the game over to their younger players and Brady Kuntz responded by leading the team with 117 yards and two scores on the ground. Kade Comstock threw three touchdown passes, one apiece to Matthew Tanner, Chris McAnally and Blake Sprague. Paul Asfeld led the defense with three sacks.
The Wildcats have a key North Division game at Briggsdale (2-3) on Friday. The Falcons have dropped two straight division games and currently sit fifth in the North. With Fleming still having games against the two division leaders, a win this week is mandatory if the Wildcats harbor any dreams of winning another division title. They have won 11 of the last 12 against Briggsdale, taking the last three by a combined score of 201-35.