It’s the final week of regular season play in six-man and quite a bit is still undetermined. While Stratton/Liberty, Prairie, Genoa-Hugo and La Veta have already locked up division titles, the Southeast is still up for grabs. A few postseason spots are, as well.
With its 63-6 win over #5 Otis (6-1) last week, top-ranked Stratton/Liberty (7-0) locked up the East Central title. The Knighted Eagles will look to complete a perfect regular season at Flagler (2-4) on Friday. The Panthers have won two straight, including last week’s 59-12 decision over Deer Trail (2-5).
Second-ranked Prairie (7-0) is in the same situation as Stratton/Liberty. The Mustangs clinched the North Division crown with a 52-12 win at #8 North Park (4-2) last Saturday and they’ll look to finish off an unbeaten regular season on Friday at #10 Fleming (3-4). It’s unlikely that the Mustangs can catch the Knighted Eagles for the top overall seed, but a clean sweep of the North would be a nice consolation prize.
That won’t be an easy task for Prairie, who has dropped nine of the last ten meetings with Fleming. The Wildcats pushed #3 Peetz (5-1) last week, leading 20-8 at one stage in the second quarter, before falling 39-26. Fleming gave up three touchdown passes, two from Tre Fehringer to Bryson Long, and 228 yards on the ground.
Long also rushed for 140 yards in the win by the Bulldogs, who close out the regular season against Weldon Valley (0-6) on Friday. The Warriors have been outscored 344-60 on the season and have scored one touchdown or fewer in four of their six games. Peetz has won 11 of the last 13 games in the series, including the last five in a row.
Cheyenne Wells (6-1) heads into the regular season finale needing a win over Eads (4-3) to secure the Southeast Division. The fourth-ranked Tigers lead both Eads and #6 Kit Carson (6-1) by one game in the division, with a game in hand over the Wildcats. Kit Carson defeated Eads 53-7 last week to prevent Friday’s game between the Tigers and Eagles from being a winner takes all event. Should Eads pull off the upset, there would be a three-way tie for the title. Cheyenne Wells has dropped all three meetings with the Eagles.
Kit Carson will try to keep the pressure on Cheyenne Wells as the Wildcats host Walsh (3-4) on Friday. They have won the last two meetings with the Eagles, scoring 57 and 60 points along the way. Walsh started off the season 0-3, being outscored 163-26, but has won three of its last four. Two of those were shutouts.
Fifth-ranked Otis has secured a playoff spot, as the Bulldogs are fifth in the RPI, but they are looking to bounce back from last week’s disappointing showing against Stratton/Liberty. The Bulldogs had allowed a total of 65 points heading into that contest and the Knighted Eagles nearly matched that. Otis was held to 15 yards on the ground and committed five turnovers.
The Bulldogs will visit Arickaree/Woodlin (3-4) on Friday, with the hosts needing a win to guarantee themselves a playoff spot. The Indian-Mustangs defeated Idalia (1-6) 38-30 last week, moving them up to 15th in the RPI. Barring several upsets, they could qualify for the postseason even with a loss. They will have to be better stopping the run than they were last week, as the Wolves ran for 252 yards.
After last week’s 63-26 victory over Mountain Valley (2-4), #7 La Veta (6-1) can complete a perfect run through the Southwest Division with a win over Primero (2-5) on Friday. The Redskins already have the division title in their pocket and they will host a first round playoff game. Primero has lost its last five games, giving up at least 54 points in each one. The Bulldogs are just 1-4 against La Veta.
While most of the key games this week are divisional contests, there is a big cross-divisional one on tap. Eighth-ranked North Park visits Hanover (5-2) on Saturday. The Wildcats are eighth in the RPI and Hanover sits 12th. Both are pretty solid locks to make the postseason, but the winner of this one could climb a few spots. For North Park, that could mean the difference between hosting a first round game and traveling to open the playoffs.
The Wildcats had their three-game winning streak snapped with the loss to Prairie. They gave up 420 yards of offense to the Mustangs, and also lost four fumbles. Hanover earned its third straight win with a 54-18 decision over Primero last week. The Hornets are second to Genoa-Hugo in the Central.
Those Pirates locked up the division last Saturday when Elbert (2-5) fell to Edison (4-3) 44-20. Genoa-Hugo has picked up four straight wins and both of their losses came against ranked opponents. The Pirates are 10th in the RPI, but will still host a first round game, even if they don’t finish in the top eight since division winners have that guarantee.
Outside of the top-10, only two other teams received votes this week. Those two squads face off on Friday, as Cotopaxi (6-1) hosts Sierra Grande (6-1). Both teams suffered their only loss to La Veta, one by 33 points and the other by 34. Cotopaxi is ninth in the RPI this week and the Panthers are 11th. Neither team should be in danger of falling out of the playoffs with a loss, as the opponent’s winning percentage will give both a boost.
Edison currently holds down the final playoff spot, but the Eagles’ lead over Briggsdale (3-4) is not very big. The Falcons could possibly pass them for that position as they face Mountain Valley (22nd RPI) while Edison squares off with Cripple Creek-Victor (29th RPI).
Flagler (18th RPI) is also in the mix for that last spot, even with a loss this week. Playing the top-ranked team in the standings will give the Panthers a fairly significant boost. They only trail Briggsdale by .005 and Edison by .015, and Arickaree/Woodlin is only another .011 ahead.