The bell is ringing loudly for the Banning Lewis Academy Stallions.

Just four years into its existence, the football program is making lots of noise in 2023 and is eyeing its first Tri-Peaks League title ahead of a Friday night matchup with Rye.

That’s because the Stallions simply ran roughshod over Colorado Springs Christian last Friday, 48-0. Not only did senior quarterback Sam Bell throw for a season-most 131 yards and a touchdown (also a rushing TD), but the backfield combination of senior Joseph Bjegovich and junior Chase Riehle were locked in on churning out yard after yard and getting into the end zone. They tag-teamed for 272 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

As Banning Lewis (7-0, No. 4 Colorado Preps Select Media Football Poll) gets set to visit Rye (5-2), it’s the team defense that’s really amped up their game this season. They’ve allowed just 34 points in posting four shutouts including the past two Friday nights. Eighteen turnovers caused has fed into the success, and a large group of seniors appear hungry to go out with a lasting impression.

Banning Lewis is 1-1 all-time against Rye, with the Thunderbolts posting a 16-6 win last season.

Akron revving up

A first-round playoff loss last season still hurts for the Akron Rams. And while an 8-man Plains League title might not be in the cards this season, No. 7 Akron is slowly building back up after a loss to Haxtun three weeks ago.

Set to play a tough team on the road at Merino this week, No. 7 Akron has won two games in a row behind the workhorse effort that has been junior Anderson Filla. In wins against Dayspring Christian Academy and Sedgwick County, Filla’s numbers added up to 58 carries, 544 yards and eight touchdowns. He added a short TD catch against Sedgwick County, to boot. His 17 touchdowns and 122 total points are good for 11th in 8-man/6-man.

An injury to quarterback Ryan McCaffrey certainly has had Akron coach Jerome Weers adjusting on the fly, but the Rams are pushing through.

“We had to make some changes and shuffle some kids around, and we kinda just went back to running the football a bit more,” he told the Colorado Preps Scoreboard Show on Friday. “Our offensive line did a fantastic job this week of blocking and opening up holes for our tailback (Filla), who is also very good. They did a good job.”

Wellington waltzing through league play

A lot of firsts are happening for the Wellington Eagles this year. The hope for the program is a Class 2A Patriot League Central championship is next on the list.

Wellington travels this week to take on Platte Valley in what will determine the league title. Both teams are 3-0 in league while every other team has at least two losses. Head coach Travis Peeples, who turned around the Frederick program in a hurry just a couple of years ago, has done much the same in guiding Wellington to a 7-0 mark in just his second year at the helm.

Defensively, Wellington is allowing just a tick over 12 points a game and has forced 18 turnovers (nearly three per game). Tanner Gray’s 11 tackles for loss and Tyler Shaffer’s five interceptions certainly raise eyebrows. And while Gray has been steady at the quarterback position offensively, the team’s multifaceted running attack has been tough to stop — eight different ball carriers are averaging better than 6.9 yards per carry.

That ground-and-pound attack will likely go pretty far in November when the temperatures start to change.

The rest of the story

The Gunnison Cowboys appear to have gathered their bearings since a loss to Buena Vista a few weeks ago. Gunnison has won three straight games, including a massive 30-6 victory over Meeker last week in which it forced five interceptions. Gunnison faces North Fork this week.

6-man No. 1 Stratton will get back on the field after a bye week, facing No. 6 Arickaree on Friday night.

Branson/Kim’s Kolter Cranson has 25 total touchdowns in five weeks since taking over the primary running back role for the team. His team takes on La Veta on Thursday night.