Without a single down being played this weekend, one team is already into the quarterfinals due to a COVID issue with its opponent. Two-time defending champion, Fleming, received a forfeit from Hanover mid-week, and the Wildcats will await the winner of Idalia and Briggsdale. That still leaves seven games to be played this week.




#1 Cheyenne Wells (9-0) vs #16 Mountain Valley (6-3)  SATURDAY 12PM

Cheyenne Wells began the season highly-ranked, and quickly vaulted to the status of favorite after consecutive wins over Stratton and Granada early in the year. The Tigers scored at least 45 points in every game, and topped the 60-point mark five times. They went 7-0 against teams in the postseason and won the South East division title with a deep roster. Cade Mitchek rushed for 1041 yards and 24 touchdowns, and had three non-offensive scores as he reached the end zone a total of 28 times. Evan Worley added 10 rushing touchdowns, and Rogelio Rangel had a team-high seven receiving scores. Blake Gilmore completed 72.3% of his passes for 730 yards, with 12 TD and no interceptions.

Defensively, Worley not only led the team, but also the entire classification with 16 sacks. His 73 tackles were also tops on the Tigers. Rangel (59) and Ty Scheler (48) were the next two on the squad. Dillon Ball had eight sacks, fifth best in the class, as the team recorded 34. Mitchek has a team-high four interceptions, and Ball and Scheler each has three fumble recoveries. Jesse Harlow has converted 38 of 50 PAT kicks.

Things came right down to the wire for Mountain Valley, who needed a win in the final week, and losses by some teams below them in the RPI. Everything worked out for the Indians, who finished second in the South West. They got wins in four of five games down the stretch, including forfeit victory over Cripple Creek-Victor. Riley Heater is one of the top passers in the class, as his 1271 yards sit sixth in six-man. He’s got 15 touchdowns, but also 11 interceptions. Tristan Martinez, who leads the team with 1154 yards and 17 rushing scores, is one of the top three targets for Heater. The senior has 23 catches for 386 yards and four touchdowns. Kodiak Reigel (19/440/5) is the leader in yards and touchdowns, while Jacob Martinez (24/152/1) is tops in receptions.

Jacob Martinez is tied for fifth in the state with 99 tackles, and Reigel is 10th with 92 stops. Reigel shares the team lead with Tristan Martinez with four sacks. As a unit, the defense has 13 fumble recoveries, four apiece by Reigel and Logan Boyles, and six different players have an interception. 

Cheyenne Wells won the only previous meeting between the two sides, as the Tigers took a 58-14 win in the first round of the 2019 playoffs. Mitchek and Worley combined for five touchdowns in that win, while Tristan Martinez had nine tackles for Mountain Valley.


#8 Prairie (6-4) vs #9 Genoa-Hugo (6-2)  FRIDAY 6PM

Prairie went through a three-game losing streak late in the regular season, two by five points or less. One was a 52-51 loss to Fleming in the North division title game. The Mustangs were able to get back on track last week with a 57-14 victory over Otis. Andy Long’s 1423 passing yards and 23 touchdowns are fourth in the classification. David Speicher is his clear #1 target, with the two connecting 32 times for 849 yards and 14 TD. Claytin Hove, the team’s leading rusher with 781 yards and 16 scores, is next with 19 catches for 234 yards and two scores. Carter Jaeger (15/191/3) and Parker Jaeger (12/128/2) are also key weapons in the passing game. Despite missing a couple of games due to injury, Maverick Mertens was second on the team with 386 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

Carter Jaeger (84) and Hove (79) lead the defense in tackles, with Parker Jaeger (64) third. Speicher has a team-leading four interceptions, and Hove has three. Long and Isaac Doll each have three fumble recoveries. The Mustangs have six non-offensive touchdowns on the season, three by Mertens (two kick return, one punt return). Speicher has converted 37 of 53 PAT kicks.

Genoa-Hugo had its five-game winning streak snapped with a lopsided loss to Cheyenne Wells and the Pirates then dropped a two-point shootout to Cheraw the following week. They got an important win over North Park last week in another wild contest, 70-62. They are the champions of the Central division, thanks to a win over Hanover early in the season. Trey Smith is among the state leaders in passing with 1059 yards and 19 TD. Colby Simmons and Wyatt Miller are the top runners and receivers, as the duo has combined for 2443 total yards of offense on the year. Kyler Rowden-Stum and Logan Sitzman are also key members of the passing game.

Simmons (85) and Miller (64) also lead the Pirates in tackles, but they are far from alone. Jack Kissel (54) and Smith (51) are also over 50 stops on the season. Miller is tied for the state lead with seven interceptions, with one returned for a score. It’s one of his four return touchdowns, and the team has 10 overall. 

The two programs have not played since 2014, a game won by Prairie 48-42. 


#4 Idalia (7-2) vs #13 Briggsdale (7-3)  FRIDAY 6PM

The Wolves finished second in the East Central behind Stratton, but have not lost since dropping their game against the Eagles on the 1st of October. Three of the four wins in that streak were against postseason qualifiers. The offense has reached another gear with Tarek Glanz being inserted at QB. The sophomore has thrown for 322 yards and six touchdowns in the last few games, but the Wolves also have Eduardo Estrada, who started the season at the position. He’s got 437 yards and six passing touchdowns to his credit. The move gives Idalia another talented runner to rotate in the backfield, along with Yahir Enriquez (1254 yards, 23 TD) and Kye Towns (408 yards, 8 TD). Enriquez is also the leading receiver for the Wolves, snagging 15 balls for 298 yards and six touchdowns. Logan Breyer is the only other player with double digit receptions, checking in with 13 catches.

It took a bit of time for the Idalia defense to truly establish its identity, but with Breyer (66 tackles) and Koy Smith (59) controlling the line of scrimmage, Estrada (62), Towns (50) and Enriquez (43) have been freed up to find the ball and make plays. Estrada has four of the team’s 10 interceptions, while Enriquez and Kagen Hoyda each have three fumble recoveries. 

Briggsdale went through a tough stretch late in the season, dropping lopsided games to Prairie, Fleming, and Stratton in a four-game span. The Falcons had to hold off Hanover 62-60 last week to secure a spot in the field and avoid losing four of their final five games. Braden Krise sits third in the class with 1565 passing yards and 26 touchdowns, and he’s also rushed for 374 yards and four scores. Malik Carlson leads the Falcons with 539 yards and six rushing TD, and he’s second with 24 catches for 425 yards and a team-high 10 touchdowns. Tanner Fiscus is the top target, snaring 38 receptions for 520 yards and nine scores, to go with 218 yards and five more scores on the ground.

Jonathan Malovich is tied for fifth in the class with his 99 tackles, and Fiscus is just two spots back with 97. Shane Donoho (62) and Isiah Nava (51) also have a nose for the ball. The Falcons have 25 takeaways, including six from Fiscus, five by Malovich, and four apiece from Nava and Zach Bauer. 

Idalia had won three in a row against Briggsdale, but the Falcons got a 70-39 victory in 2019. Carlson ran for 142 yards in that win, as the Falcons rolled up 421 on the ground and 194 through the air.


#5 Fleming (8-2) vs #12 Hanover (6-4)

Fleming has already claimed a forfeit victory over Hanover, as the Hornets had a player test positive for COVID during the week. Hanover, the second place finisher in the Central behind Genoa-Hugo, ended the season with a 6-5 mark. Fleming will face either Idalia or Briggsdale in the quarterfinals next week.


#3 Granada (7-1) vs #14 Hi-Plains (4-4)  SATURDAY 1PM

With a lopsided loss to Cheyenne Wells as the lone blemish on its record, Granada opened the season as the #1 team in the state, and the Bobcats have spent the entirety of the year in the top five. The Bobcats bring a five-game winning streak into the postseason, and overall, they’ve scored 50 or more points in five contests this season. The passing combination of Coleman (Dominic) to Coleman (Maddox) has given opposing defenses a ton of problems this year. Dominic has thrown for 1580 yards with a state-leading 30 touchdowns, while younger brother Maddox has 35 catches for 1054 yards and 21 TD. He is the only player is the classification with more than 1000 receiving yards. When the Bobcats keep it on the ground, they lean on 265-pound fullback John Hainer, who has a team-best 383 yards and seven touchdowns.

Maddox Coleman leads the defense with 58 tackles, while Dominic has 47. Bailey Hernandez is one back, and his three sacks are tied with Luis Cano atop the stat sheet. Dominic Coleman has three picks and two fumble recoveries to his credit this season, and Maddox has two more interceptions. 

Hi-Plains has been inundated with injuries throughout the season, but the Patriots still found a way to qualify for the postseason. When September ended, the Patriots were just 1-3, but they caught fire, winning three straight before ending the regular season with a loss at Eads last week. Cody Banks has done whatever has been asked of him, as the senior leads the team in rushing (1121 yards, 19 TD), passing (393 yards, 4 TD), tackles (78), fumble recoveries (5), and kick returns. 

Logan Cordell and Cooper Seaman are tied for second on the squad with 67 tackles apiece, and Shannon King is right behind them with 64. Seaman and King each have two takeaways on the year. Cordell is also the second-leading rusher on the team with 442 yards and six touchdowns, while King leads the receivers with 17 catches for 370 yards and five scores. 

This will be the first match-up between the two programs.


#6 Sierra Grande (8-0) vs #11 Branson/Kim (6-2)  SATURDAY 1PM @ SANGRE DE CRISTO HS

One of two remaining unbeatens in the bracket, Sierra Grande scored at least 50 points in all but two games this season. The Panthers won the South West division by outscoring their three league opponents 168-6. Isiah Chairez needs 29 passing yards for 1000 on the season, and he’s also just three yards short of 700 on the ground. He’s had a hand in 36 offensive touchdowns this year, throwing for 22 and running for 14. Angelo Lucero (313) and Lennie Valdez (208) are second and third on the team in rushing yards, with a combined 12 touchdowns between them. Lucero leads the unit with 16 catches and 255 receiving yards, with five TD. Matthew Martinez has six touchdowns on 10 receptions.

Tyler Kester leads the team with 66 tackles, and his 11.5 sacks are tied for second in the classification. Kester also has two interceptions, second to Chairez, who is tied for the state lead with seven. Valdez is one tackle off the team lead. The Panthers have eight non-offensive touchdowns this season, half of them by Chairez.

Branson/Kim won the South Central crown, but the Bearcats did not finish the regular season on a high note. First, they dropped a 72-22 decision at Granada, and then, after having to wait an extra week to take the field, they fell at home to Sierra Grande 51-8 last week. The Bearcats have shown a lot of versatility on offense, with three players throwing for more than 100 yards on the season, led by Brody Doherty’s 369 yards and 13 scores. Four players have more than 100 yards on the ground, topped by Peyton Cranson with 662 and 15 TD. Cade Smith is the top receiver with 11 catches for 215 and six TD.

Cranson and Isaac Provost each have three sacks to share the team lead, while Smith and Koy Pickard each have two. Of the 16 takeaways by the Bearcats, Peyton Cranson, Kolter Cranson, and Brock Doherty each have three. Smith has been solid in the kicking game, converting 33 of 48 PAT attempts.

There is plenty of familiarity between the two squads, as this will be the fifth meeting since 2018. They are 2-2 in the previous four. In last week’s Sierra Grande victory, Chairez ran for 193 yards and four scores, and threw for 88 yards and three more touchdowns.


#7 Cheraw (6-4) vs #10 Arickaree/Woodlin (5-4)  SATURDAY 1PM

The top passing offense in the classification resides in Cheraw, where the Wolverines have racked up close to 2300 yards through the air. The third place finisher in the South East is led by Cade Phillips, who enters the contest just 95 yards from 2000 for the season, and is one TD pass off the state lead. The Wolverines spread the rest of the offensive workload, with five backs having between 111 yards and 484 on the ground (Braden Harris leads with 484), and six having double digit receptions. Harris is again on the top of that stat, with 34 catches for 786 yards and 14 TD. Daniel Escareno, who is the second leading rusher, is next with 28 grabs for 514 yards and seven scores.

Wade Goodrich’s 94 tackles aren’t just good for the team lead, but they’re also ninth most in six-man. Harris is second on the Wolverines with 77 tackles, and Escareno is next with 63. Escareno is tops with three sacks, while Micah Reece has five takeaways, four on fumble recoveries. Cheraw has six non-offensive scores, including a pair of kick returns by Escareno.

For Arickaree/Woodlin, their season has gone as Logan Wright has gone. In their five wins, the junior QB has thrown for 300 yards and run for 1096, with a 300+ rushing game and two more over 200. In their four losses, the numbers drop to 194 passing and 263 on the ground. He is the classifications leading rusher by five yards over Idalia’s Enriquez, while Samuel Koolstra has added 591 yards. 

Koolstra is third in the class with 102 tackles, while Wright (84), Hayden Page (71), and Bryce Shaffer (68) are all in the top 25. Estevan Ramirez took the team sack lead with two last week. That pushed his total to three on the season. Shaffer has four interceptions to lead the way, and Ramirez has three fumble recoveries as part of his four takeaways.

This is the first meeting between the two programs.

#2 Stratton (8-1) vs #15 Eads (4-5)  FRIDAY 7PM

After a good run of success as part of the Stratton/Liberty co-op, the Eagles are back on their own and they have been playing stellar defense all season. Following a 52-37 loss to Cheyenne Wells in week two, Stratton has only allowed 40 points in their last seven games. They’ve also shutout their last four opponents, outscoring them by a total score of 257-0. The Eagles are 4-1 against teams in the bracket, including Arickaree/Woodlin and Idalia, as part of their run to the East Central championship.

Eads is the only team in the bracket with a losing record, and their head-to-head victory over Hi-Plains most likely got them into the playoff field. The Eagles had one of the toughest schedules in the state, with seven games against teams in the bracket, including games against teams seeded 1, 3, 7, 9, 12, 14, and 16. They recovered from a three-game losing streak in early October, closing out the regular portion of the season with a win over Mountain Valley (following a COVID shutdown) and then the victory over Hi-Plains last week.

Eads is one of the few programs to have had much success against Stratton as part of that aforementioned co-op, going 3-2. They did lose 66-27 last season, breaking a three-game winning streak. Alex Cruz ran for 269 yards and four scores, while Charlie Clapper added 138 yards and two TD for the then Knighted Eagles.