Every bit of 8-man playoff action will be played around the same time on Saturday. The entire slate of teams decided to forgo Friday night matchups and instead play out the entire first round during daylight (and hopefully warmer temperatures).

Along with five other classifications, the first round of the 8-man football playoffs are fully underway this weekend.


(16) McClave at (1) Haxtun, Saturday 1 p.m.

Haxtun looks very much like the favorite to claim the 8-man title after a strong regular season performance. The Bulldogs finished the year with a 9-0 record and failed to score at least 50 points in just two games. Michael Gerk and Ryland Wolff each rushed for over 1,100 yards and each scored at least 16 rushing touchdowns. Wolff added 1,003 passing yards and seven passing touchdowns to his resumé.

The Cardinals had a favorable regular season schedule that they took great advantage of. They went 6-3 with the three losses all coming to teams that are in the state tournament. Their offense is more pass heavy than a typical 8-man team as Ayden Gomez has thrown for 1,753 yards and 26 touchdowns. Fourteen of those touchdown passes went to senior receiver Aiden Martinez. They’ll be the weapons needed on offense if McClave is going to score a massive upset on Saturday.

(15) West Grand at (2) Dove Creek, Saturday 2 p.m.

Dove Creek has put together a solid season with wins over a few playoff teams in Sanford and Mancos. Kade Hankins has been one of the best running quarterbacks in the class with 1,141 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. If he has a good day, it could be a quick trip into the second round for the Bulldogs.

The problem with that thinking, however, is that Chris Brown is the winningest football coach in Colorado history and should never be counted out of a game. West Grand has been tripped up a couple times this year but has shown in moments that it is still a talented football team. Wyatt Howell will likely be the focal point of the offense as he rushes for 168 yards per game this season.

The Bluejays had a tough regular season schedule but came out of it a few key wins against Merino and Sanford. Now they look to make a deep playoff run where they could get rematches with Dove Creek and Haxtun, both of which beat them in the regular season. Ayden Mathews threw for 1,052 yards in the regular season and tossed 18 touchdowns along the way. The Bluejays rushed for over 2,000 yards as a team providing good balance to their offensive scheme.

The Lions won four straight games to end the regular season and will try to maintain that momentum in the playoffs. Garlon Guerin rushes for over 144 yards per game and scored 16 touchdowns during the season. He broke the 100-yard mark in eight of the nine games he played this season and will be a tough test for the Macnos defense.

(13) Hayden at (4) Simla, Saturday 1 p.m.

The Cubs finished the regular season without a loss and would love to keep that streak alive for a few more weeks. TJ Eurich and Brayden Glover have been a formidable rushing duo, combing for over 1,400 yards and scoring 21 touchdowns between them. They’ll be a big reason for every win that Simla comes away with in these playoffs.

Hayden lost three games in a four-game stretch but won their last three heading into the postseason.
Brayden Dale has had a solid command of the offense has he has rushed for 836 yards and 13 touchdowns while throwing for 825 yards and 11 scores.

(12) Holly at (5) Akron, Saturday 2 p.m.

A rematch from a Sept. 16 regular season game, Akron is looking to avenge its first loss of the season. The Wildcats outgunned the Rams 509-413 on offense and while both teams turned the ball over, it was Holly winning the turnover battle 6-4. Anderson Villa was Akron’s best offensive weapon as he rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.

Dominique Maldonado rushed for 122 yards and a score for Holly.

(11) Dayspring Christian at (6) Lyons, Saturday 1 p.m.

Lyons went 9-0 in the regular season but with just two playoff teams on the schedule, it didn’t get quite the seed it was hoping for. They were fairly dominant during the course of the regular season as they outscored opponents 438-92 Malik Sigg-Brown has been the catalyst for the offense with 884 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.

Dayspring Christian had high expectations for the year and those were slightly knocked down thanks to a three-game losing streak that started at the beginning of October. Elijah Fusco should be the rushing counter to Sigg-Brown after a good regular season where he ran for 127 yards and nine touchdowns.

(10) Merino at (7) Crowley County, Saturday 1 p.m.

Crowley County rounds out the unbeaten teams in the 8-man field, but with just one playoff team on their schedule the record might be a little misleading. The Chargers certainly don’t think os and will be on a mission to prove that the zero losses is not a fluke. Dillon Buford and Skeeter Baker have combined to rush for over 1,600 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Merino could be a very battle-tested 10 seed as they suffered four losses this season, but all of them came to teams seeded in the top six of the postseason bracket.

(9) Vail Christian at (8) Sanford, Saturday 1 p.m.

Both of these teams were ranked on the back end of the CHSAANow.com coaches poll throughout the majority of the regular season. Sanford was dealt losses by Simla, Dove Creek and Mancos which could have them more than prepared for this first-round matchup.

The Saints fell to Lyons early in the year but played solid football in its other seven games, all of which were wins. Taylor Shull has been a wrecking ball on the ground as he has rushed for 1,961 yards and 24 touchdowns.