Injuries and upsets caused a shake-up in the weekly rankings, with a new squad ascending to the #1 spot. Sanford’s loss to Vail Christian, coupled with a huge non-league win by Mancos, saw the coaches put the Bluejays in the top position this week.


Much of the attention last week was focused on the non-league clash between Sanford (4-1) and Vail Christian (4-0), and some very big news came from that contest. While the final score, which saw the Saints upset the previously top-ranked Indians, popped a number of eyes around the state, it was the word that Sanford had lost its top two offensive threats to injury that sent shock waves. The Indians had Kelton Gartrell go down with an ankle injury in the second quarter, and Josh Holman was sidelined in the fourth with a concussion. Those injuries could drastically change the complexion of the season, as Sanford had been a favorite to not only make the finals, but to also claim its first state title in the sport.

The Indians will have some time to recover, as their game with Norwood (0-3) was canceled, due to the Mavericks not having enough players available. Sanford was scheduled to play South Park (0-5) next week, but that game has been canceled, as well. That means the Indians are off until visiting Mancos (4-0) in two weeks.

Mancos climbed two classifications last week to tangle with 2A’s Montezuma-Cortez in an 11-man contest. The Bluejays took control of that contest early, jumping out to a 13-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. They would roll to a 40-0 victory behind Chase Moore, who ran for 242 yards and four touchdowns. Kail Wayman and Ayden Matthews each added a TD on the ground, as the Bluejays rushed for 326 yards. They only attempted two passes all night, and did not record a completion. Wayman stood out on defense, registering a team-leading seven tackles and picking off a pass.

The Bluejays will head to #6 Dove Creek (3-1) on Friday for a key contest inside the Mountain division. Dove Creek shook off its narrow loss to Gunnison in an 11-man game a week earlier and blasted Norwood 54-6 last week. For the third time this season, the Bulldogs racked up more than 350 rushing yards, as they tallied 381 against the Mavs. Gage Buffington accounted for 116 of those, on just five carries. Cole Taber added 88. Each had two touchdowns. The defense got two sacks from Kendall Gardner and fumble recoveries from Taber and Blane Johnson. Tyson Beanland contributed a blocked punt on special teams. 

Dove Creek snapped a four-game losing streak against Mancos with an 18-14 win last season. Kade Hankins scored the game-winner early in the fourth quarter and the Bulldogs were able to keep Mancos out of the end zone the rest of the way. Moore had 193 yards and two scores for the Bluejays in the loss. 

Second-ranked Sedgwick County (3-1) escaped Akron’s upset bid last week, scoring the equalizer in the final few minutes, and then sealing its ninth straight win over the Rams with a late safety. The Cougars won the contest 36-34. The Cougars were supposed to visit Denver Christian (0-4) on Friday for a Plains league contest, but the Thunder don’t have enough healthy players this week. That gives Sedgwick County an extra week to prepare for #3 Haxtun.

Haxtun (5-0) picked up a nice 26-6 road win at #7 Dayspring Christian (3-2) last week, with Isaac Andersen and Kyle Fryrear each scoring a pair of touchdowns. Andersen ran for 104 yards and his two scores on 24 carries, while Fryrear ran for one score and caught another from Owen Knode. Knode finished with 137 yards on nine of 13 passing, providing a solid complement to the Fightin’ Bulldog running game. Andersen was one of four Haxtun defenders with at least 10 tackles, finishing with a game-high 15, and he also picked off a pass. Grant Staatz forced three fumbles, with Maclin Tempel falling on one of them.

The Fightin’ Bulldogs will try to remain unbeaten in Plains play when they host #8 Merino (2-2) on Friday. Merino had its hands full with Lyons (2-2) last Saturday in a non-league contest. The Rams trailed 6-0, before ripping off 20 unanswered points, 14 off turnovers, to seemingly grab control. However, the Lions got a second rushing touchdown from Finn Oetting to cut the margin to 20-14. Merino was able to hold on and claim the win by that score.

Merino has won eight straight over Haxtun, and 17 of the last 20. Last season, the Rams earned a 44-12 victory, as they piled up 437 yards and five scores on the ground Deacon Trenkle tallied 135 and three touchdowns. Merino’s Derrick Alber intercepted Knode four times in the contest.

Vail Christian climbed into the top-five after last week’s win over Sanford and now the Saints jump back into Northwest division competition as they will host Plateau Valley (2-2) on Saturday. Last week was the only time this season that the Saints were held under 50 points, and they head into the match-up with the Cowboys averaging 49.5 points a contest. Defensively, they’ve held foes to an average of 21 points a night.

Plateau Valley saw its two-game winning streak come to an end as Rangely (1-3) outscored the Cowboys 34-6 over the final three quarters to claim a 42-14 victory. The Cowboys were held to 89 yards on the ground and allowed 310 by the Panthers. In their two losses, the Cowboys have averaged 87 rushing yards, compared to 306 in their two wins. Tallen Long threw for 149 yards and two touchdowns last week, and the senior was the team’s leading rusher with 38 yards on 15 carries. Dalton Crites hauled in seven passes for 115 yards and two scores.

The Saints have won eight straight meetings with Plateau Valley, with the last contest coming in 2019. Vail Christian jumped out to a 44-0 halftime lead and won 52-20. The last win by the Cowboys in the series came back in 2009.

Dayspring Christian got another 100-yard rushing day from Garrett Krehbiel in the loss to Haxtun last week, but the senior QB had an off day throwing the ball. Krehbiel was just six of 13 for 56 yards and an interception. The game was tied late in the first half, when Haxtun scored just before the half to take a 12-6 lead. Down 20-6 in the fourth, the Eagles turned the ball over deep in Haxtun territory and never got the ball back, as Haxtun chewed up the final six minutes and change, putting six more points up on the final play of the game. Zach Freeman had the only score of the game for Dayspring Christian, who fell to 1-1 in Plains division play.

Caliche (2-3) brings an identical league mark into Friday afternoon’s contest after the Buffs downed Denver Christian 40-22 last week. Caliche trailed 14-12 at the half, but a third quarter score gave them a 20-14 lead and tons of momentum. They were also aided by 12 Thunder penalties in the contest. Denver Christian still managed to generate 454 yards of offense.

The Buffs have dropped the last two match-ups against Dayspring Christian and are just 4-14 against the Eagles dating back to 2004. Last year, DCA claimed a 44-8 victory, as they held the Buffs out of the end zone until the fourth quarter.

Ninth-ranked Akron’s loss to Sedgwick County left the Rams at 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the Plains division. They have their bye this week, giving them an extra week of preparation before their annual Ram Fight against Merino next Friday.

Holly (3-1) picked up its second straight win since falling to Akron 36-30 in overtime earlier this month, when the Wildcats bounced Wiley 47-6 last Friday. They’ve won their first two Arkansas Valley league games by a combined score of 93-12. The Wildcats showed good balance on offense against Wiley, as they ran for 295 yards and threw for 250. Dakota Eaton hit on 12 of his 16 passes for 217 yards and three scores, with Fernando Dominguez catching seven balls for 108 yards and a TD. Dominguez has caught a TD in all four games this season. Donovan Pecina ran for 137 yards and two scores, and added 70 yards with a TD as receiver. Colby Swopes added two more sacks, giving the junior five this season.

McClave (2-2) hosts the tenth-ranked Wildcats on Friday and the Cardinals are in dire need of a win. They fell to 0-2 in the league with last week’s 66-6 loss at the hands of Crowley County (2-2). The Chargers added two defensive scores to their five rushing touchdowns and two passing tallies as they evened their league record at 1-1 and beat the Cards for the second time in as many years.

Holly owns a five-game winning streak over the Cards, but the two teams did not play last season. The Wildcats won the last match-up 35-6 in 2019, and have scored at least 35 points in four of the five games in their current winning streak against McClave.

There are two big contests in the Southern division this weekend, with Swink (2-1) hosting Calhan (3-1) on Friday and Pikes Peak Christian (2-1) visiting Dolores Huerta Prep (2-2) on Saturday. Swink and Pikes Peak Christian share the league lead, while the Bulldogs and Scorpions are each a game back in the loss column.

Swink has been off since handing Dolores Huerta a 34-12 loss two weeks ago. The Lions have won two in a row since opening the season with a 14-point loss to Holly. Sophomore QB Hunter Bauserman has completed just under 71% of his passes through three games, for 624 yards and six touchdowns, while also adding 271 yards on the ground. Garlon Guerin powers the ground attack with 498 yards and four touchdowns. Defensively, Clay Roweth’s 55 tackles are 21 more than anyone else on the squad. Trevin Holland has a team-high seven sacks.

Calhan dropped a tough 14-8 contest to Simla (3-2) in its league opener last week. The Bulldogs trailed 14-0 in the fourth quarter before Ryan Campbell got into the end zone to cut the deficit to six. They could not complete the comeback as Simla held on to even its league mark at 1-1. Calhan got 74 yards on the ground from Aiden Jack, 70 from Campbell, and 65 from Logan Jack, as they topped the 200 yard mark for the fourth straight time this season. Those three also played a huge role on defense, as Aiden Jack recorded a career-high 24 tackles, while Logan Jack added 15, and Campbell tallied 13. Jonathan Makita also registered 13 tackles.

This is just the fourth meeting between Swink and Calhan, with the Lions owning a slight 2-1 edge in the previous match-ups. They’ve won the last two, including a 46-20 victory last season.

Pikes Peak Christian had its bye last week, so the Eagles are well-rested heading into Saturday’s game with the Scorpions. Their last outing saw the Eagles hold off Simla 16-14 two weeks ago. Nick Kopriva (94) and Caleb Grant (92) combined for 186 yards on the ground, and a stingy defense helped overcome four turnovers, including three interceptions. 

Dolores Huerta snapped its two-game skid with last week’s 64-6 victory over Custer County (1-2). The Scorpions nearly matched their season scoring output in that game, as they had tallied 66 points combined in their three previous games. Senior quarterback Alejandro Lopez is a dual-threat in the backfield, and running mate Andres Rubio has given opponents fits in the first half of the season. 

The Scorpions eked out a 12-6 win over Pikes Peak Christian last year on Halloween, despite only managing 70 yards of offense in the contest. The Eagles won the year before, 66-8