8MAN PREVIEW – WEEK 3

Week two of the eight-man schedule gave us four match-ups between ranked teams. This week features none, but there are still a few games involving top-10 teams that could be on upset alert.
Top-ranked Sedgwick County had to endure a weather delay before finally getting its season underway last Friday. When the Cougars got to take the field, they supplied the thunder and lightning, defeating previously fourth-ranked Hoehne (#8 this week) 40-8. Terrance Heath returned an interception for a touchdown and also added a receiving TD on a twisting catch. Layne Green had a bruising scoring run, breaking multiple tackles along the way.
This Friday, the Cougars visit 0-2 Gilpin County, who has been outscored by two other Plains Division foes (Caliche, Merino) 101-0 through the first two weeks. It is the first meeting between Sedgwick County and the Eagles.
One of the other ranked vs. ranked games last week had #2 West Grand defeating Caliche, 38-20. The Buffs were ranked fifth at the time and were dropped two spots in this week’s poll. Senior Luis Dominguez played a key role in the victory, rushing for 188 yards and three scores, tossing a TD, and nearly returning an interception for another score.
“He played fantastic,” West Grand coach Chris Brown said in an interview on the Colorado Preps Scoreboard Show after the game on Friday night. Brown also mentioned the leadership of his seniors during a great week of practice. Jordan Knight followed that up with a spirited effort on defense, racking up 23 tackles and a sack. The Mustangs host South Park on Friday, looking for their sixth straight win over the Burros and the tenth in 11 meetings overall.
Merino vaulted all the way from seventh to third this week, following its 58-0 win last Saturday over Gilpin County. The Rams have allowed just six points in their first two games, but they look to be tested by a Mancos squad that posted a 48-0 shutout of Plateau Valley two weeks ago. The Bluejays did not have a game last week, so they have had extra time to prepare for Saturday’s clash. The game will be played at the neutral site of South Park High School. That keeps Mancos from having to make an 18-hour round trip to the eastern plains.
Fourth-ranked Akron meets Fowler and must avoid a letdown after last week’s big 8-6 win over previously third-ranked Holly. The Rams own a 5-1 edge over the Grizzlies in the series, but Fowler took last year’s edition 22-12. Quinton Flanscha rushed for 157 yards and two scores for Fowler in that win.
Akron’s lone touchdown in last week’s win came on a 37-yard pass from Justin Traxler to Gabe Chapin. The difference in the contest was a first quarter safety by Cameron Collins. Akron’s defense also came up with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Fowler lost its opener last week to Sargent, 46-28, after being outscored 22-6 in the fourth quarter. The Farmers rolled up more than 300 yards on the ground on the Fowler defense.
Jacob Deacon amassed 134 of those yards, also rushing for three scores. Frank Torrez ran for 122 yards and completed seven of 10 passes for 110 more yards. He finished with two TDs through the air, one on the ground, and one on a kick return. The now fifth-ranked Farmers travel to Springfield on Friday to face the 1-1 Longhorns.
Springfield lost to Akron 34-8 in the season-opener two weeks ago, but responded to defeat Logan NM 46-18 last week. The Longhorns led 34-6 at the half. Luke Hutches completed four of five passes for 79 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Springfield has lost the last two meetings with Sargent, both in 2015.
Holly (#6) heads out of state as the Wildcats look to get back into the win column against Balko OK on Friday. Kobe Davis hit on 23 of his 31 passes for 271 yards in the loss to Akron, but the senior was picked off twice. His first quarter connection with Jarett Rushton accounted for the only points of the game for Holly. The Wildcats have never faced Balko, who was shutout 50-0 two weeks ago.
Hoehne (#8) is another team that will be attempting to get back on track this week. The Farmers will host Dayspring Christian, who has not played since losing to Holly in week one. The last time these two met, Hoehne won a wild 44-37 decision last year. The Eagles were held to less than 160 yards of offense, but Christian Still threw three touchdown passes to keep them in the game. Both sides returned a kick-off for a touchdown. Round two could also be interesting.
A fast 2-0 start has Rangely ranked #9 this week and the Panthers are flying high heading into Saturday’s game against Del Norte. Drew Brannan completed six of eight passes for 221 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s 57-19 win over Dove Creek. One of those scoring tosses covered 75 yards to Devin Ramirez. Through two games, Brannan nearly has as many touchdown passes (6) as incompletions (7). After winning the last game of 2017, a win over Del Norte would give the Panthers their first four-game winning streak since opening 2014 win four consecutive victories.
Soroco nailed down the final spot in this week’s poll, just edging out a group that includes Fowler and Sanford. The Rams have scored 60 points in each of their first two wins, as they’ve taken down South Park and Sangre de Cristo. Jace Logan is already over 400 yards on the ground, with eight touchdowns. He only carried the ball six times in last week’s victory over the Thunderbirds. Jesse Koler and Cody Logan have combined for 299 yards and four touchdowns so far this season.
The Rams will try to keep the ground attack rolling along when they visit Justice on Saturday. The Phoenix fell at Hayden last week, 52-26. Soroco is 3-1 against Justice, but they have not played since 2013.
A quick note about a game from outside the top-10 last week… Byers collected its first win in eight-man, outscoring Calhan 46-42. The game had over 1000 yards of offense, as each team went for over 500. Byers rushed for 304 and threw for 208, while Calhan piled up 470 yards on the ground and 71 passing.
Most of the Byers production came from Rhett Davis as he rushed for 263 yards and four touchdowns and caught five passes for 152 yards and another score.  He also completed a pass for six yards.  Calhan picked up 225 yards rushing from Mikey Mikita and 182 from Gage Alexander.  Both carried the ball 26 times and each scored three times.
 
 
 

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