It’s just the second week of the season, but a number of teams are already facing potential make or break games. The schedule is highlighted by a match-up of squads that won titles last year.
PHOTO COURTESY OF HAXTUN HIGH SCHOOL
Sedgwick County has won six straight championships, including last December’s crown over Sanford. Hoehne took the championship in last spring’s Season C, taking down John Mall in the title clash. When the Cougars travel to Hoehne on Friday, they will be facing a defending champion for the second consecutive week, as they were handed a 42-14 defeat by Dundy County, the Nebraska champ from last season.
In that loss, the Cougars allowed just under 400 yards on the ground and another 141 through the air. Sedgwick County trailed 30-6 at the half and just could not make a challenge in the second half of the loss. It only cost them one spot in the rankings, as Sanford overtook the top perch this week.
Hoehne picked up its third straight win over John Mall, downing the Panthers 44-12 in the season-opener. The Farmers took a pair of wins over the Panthers in the spring. In last week’s win, the Farmers rolled up 451 rushing yards, 217 by Dario Vezzani and 174 from Michael Armijo. Vezzani ran for four touchdowns and threw for another.
The tenth-ranked Farmers will be looking to end a five-game skid against Sedgwick County, who took the last meeting 34-0 in 2019. Three of the previous meetings have come in the postseason, including the 2018 championship contest.
Saturday sees another clash of ranked foes, with the top-ranked Sanford Indians visiting #4 Dayspring Christian. Both teams won their openers in lopsided fashion.
Sanford took out Crowley County 52-14, but turned the ball over twice and allowed the Chargers to throw for 146 yards. The Indians brought back almost their entire roster from last fall’s runner-up squad, including player of the year candidate Kelton Gartrell and QB Josh Holman, and they’ve won 18 of their last 20 games since the start of the 2019 season.
Breaking in a new quarterback after the graduation of four-year starter Christian Still, Dayspring Christian put a 52-0 beating on Springfield in week one. Garrett Krehbiel was one of three Eagles to throw passes in the outing, completing two of six attempts for 26 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. The senior also led the ground attack with 105 yards and three scores. Four more Eagles ran for at least 47 yards in the win, as they amassed 378 on the ground. Defensively, Jaxon Martin picked off a pass, and Elijah Fusco forced and recovered a fumble.
This will be the first meeting between the two squads in the MaxPreps era, dating back to 2004.
Fifth-ranked Mancos looks to improve to 2-0 when it hosts Dolores on Thursday. The Bluejays claimed a 57-8 victory over Hayden last week, with Chase Moore piling up 342 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. As a team, Mancos racked up 468 rushing yards in the win. Defensively, the Bluejays had 19 different players record at least one tackle, led by Ayden Matthews with nine. Matthews also added an interception.
Dolores is in the process of transitioning to eight-man, and playing as a JV team this season. The Bears struggled through an 0-5 mark last fall, being outscored 258-8 along the way. Seniors Wyatt Koskie and Chase Phillpot will provide leadership on a very young squad, as they look to erase the bad memories of last season.
The biggest number posted last week was 66, scored by #6 Haxtun in a shutout victory over South Park. The Fightin’ Bulldogs led 50-0 at the half, and held the Burros to -18 yards of total offense in the game. Haxtun threw one pass, and ran for 403 yards, with Michael Gerk going for 237 yards and four touchdowns on just six carries. Grant Statz led the defensive effort with 10 tackles, and five different players recorded a sack. Freshman Ryland Wolff added a punt return for a score.
West Grand trailed Calhan 8-6 after the first quarter last week, but got outscored 42-0 over the next two frames and ended up on the short end of a 56-14 tally. Wyatt Howell led the offense with 139 yards and one score on the ground, while Ollie Bergman added a receiving TD. The Mustangs turned the ball over four times, and also allowed a special teams score in the loss.
Haxtun will be at home Friday, for what is the first meeting between the two in the MaxPreps era.
Seventh-ranked Dove Creek picked up a 56-22 win over Plateau Valley to open the season and the Bulldogs will be on the road Friday to visit Rangely, who did not play last week. Dove Creek jumped out to a 30-0 first period lead in last week’s victory and never let the Cowboys get back into the contest. The Bulldogs ran for more than 400 yards, with four backs gaining at least 84 yards. Gage Buffington led the way with 130 yards and two scores, while Chorbin Cressler added 86 yards and a TD, and Kade Hankins and Cole Taber each registered 84 yards and two touchdowns. Cressler also hit seven of nine passes for 78 yards and a TD that Kendall Gardner hauled in.
Rangely is coming off a 6-1 campaign in 2020, with the loss coming to Dove Creek in the quarterfinals. The Panthers return two big offensive weapons from last season in QB Keihlin Meyers and running back Zane Varner. Meyers threw for 342 yards and ran for 242, while Varner led the team with 920 yards on the ground. The duo scored 13 rushing touchdowns. Defensively, they must replace their top three tacklers, but return Timothy Scoggins.
The loss to Dove Creek last season snapped a three-game winning streak by the Panthers in the series. Overall, Rangely has won five of the last nine meetings.
A clash of unbeatens happens on Friday when #9 Holly hosts Akron. The Wildcats got a 42-28 victory at home last week over Swink. They built a 28-6 halftime advantage before the Lions made things interesting down the stretch. Dakota Eaton ran for 134 yards and a touchdown, and threw for 131 and two more scores. Donovan Pecina (107 yards) and Eli Ramos (104 yards) each topped the century mark on the ground, and each scored a touchdown. Ramos and Colby Swopes each recorded two sacks to help the defense.
Akron got the season started on the right foot, creating three turnovers in a 50-22 victory over Byers. The Rams got a strong effort offensively from Ryan McCaffrey, who threw for 98 yards and two scores, and ran for 80 more yards. Anderson Filla powered the ground attack with 158 yards and two scores, and Jackson Filla added two touchdowns of his own. Evan Vogt caught four passes for 87 yards. Defensively, Vogt recorded two of the takeaways, one interception and one fumble recovery.
The Rams won the first two meetings between the two programs, but Holly got the win in the most recent, 28-14 in 2019. Both teams play in very loaded leagues, so getting off to a 2-0 start in non-conference play will help as the RPI comes into play later in the year.
Outside of the top ten, Simla and Elbert meet as unbeatens after both picked up big wins in the opening week of play. Simla downed Caliche 44-8, while the Bulldogs got a 48-8 win over Custer County.
The Cubs sit in the 11th position in the rankings this week. They led the Buffs 44-0 heading into the fourth quarter, scoring all of their points in the second and third quarters. Defensively, Simla forced a pair of turnovers in the victory.
It was a similar story for Elbert in its win over Custer County. The Bulldogs limited the Bobcats to just 101 yards of offense. Of those, 75 came on the lone completed pass by Custer County.
The two schools, just 40 miles apart, played ten times between 2004 and 2013, with Simla winning seven times. This will be their first clash since 2013.