With only a handful of league games each season – and coming late in the regular season at that – it’s not an exaggeration to say every game is a big one.

The Class 4A Foothills League didn’t tip off its boys lacrosse slate until April 19. With three of the six teams currently ranked in the 4A CHSAANow.com Coaches Poll – and a fourth team just outside of the top 10 – the opening week of play didn’t disappoint.

Third-ranked Dakota Ridge rallied in the second half to edge Evergreen – currently ranked sixth – 11-10 on April 19 in the league opener.

The Eagles (10-2, 2-0) face No. 9 Golden (7-4, 2-0) for first place in the league standings Wednesday night at Trailblazer Stadium in Lakewood. The Demons also tangle with Evergreen on Friday and close out league play Monday against Conifer.

Such is life these days as the regular season winds down. Only two weeks remain before playoff brackets are released May 7. First-round games in 4A are May 9, with 5A starting May 10.

Cheyenne Mountain remains atop the 4A poll, but has its biggest week of the season coming up. The Red-Tailed Hawks visit No. 7 Lutheran on Saturday in Southern League play. Cheyenne Mountain closes out league play next Wednesday with No. 4 Air Academy and visits No. 2 Erie on May 5.

Speaking of Erie, the Tigers host No. 10 Dawson School on Wednesday with first place in the 4A Northern League at stake. Northfield is ranked fifth and has won six in a row.

In 5A, No. 1 Cherry Creek and No. 2 Valor Christian both faced top-five tests Tuesday night, with the Bruins holding off No. 5 Kent Denver and the Eagles taking on No. 4 Regis Jesuit. Legend, currently ranked third, bounced back from its first loss of the season to defeat Chaparral.

With the season coming down to the wire, here is a quick look at the state’s two classifications:


Class 5A

Cherry Creek kept its perfect season intact, but it wasn’t without some challenges. The Bruins (12-0, 5-0 in League 4) held off a late push from Arapahoe last Friday to take an 8-7 victory. On Tuesday night, it was Kent Denver making a late charge before the Bruins scored a pair of goals to close out the Sun Devils 11-7.

Cherry Creek closes out league play this week with Cherokee Trail on Friday and No. 7 Colorado Academy on Tuesday, before wrapping up with Regis Jesuit on May 5.

Valor Christian (11-1, 5-0 in League 3 going into Tuesday’s contest with Regis Jesuit) visits No. 6 Mountain Vista on Friday. The Golden Eagles (10-2, 4-2) fended off challenges from Rock Canyon and Castle View to run its winning streak to three games.

Before its loss to Creek, Kent Denver (10-4, 5-1) was coming off an 11-9 triumph over Colorado Academy. Christopher Eislein had four goals and two assists for the Sun Devils, and Teddy Hardy paced the Mustangs with a goal and five assists.

No. 9 Denver South snapped a three-game skid with a 16-7 victory over Grandview last Friday thanks in large part to three goals and four assists from Wyatt Hurd. The Ravens (7-3, 2-3 in League 4) face 4A No. 7 Lutheran on Thursday before drawing No. 8 Arapahoe on Saturday.

Monarch and No. 10 Poudre School District are both unbeaten in League 2 and meet up Friday with the league title likely on the line.

Pine Creek and Lewis-Palmer both have unbeaten league marks in League 1, with Douglas County sitting at one loss. The Eagles take on Lewis-Palmer on Friday and Douglas County on May 3.

Class 4A

The 4A Western League remains a toss-up, as No. 8 Steamboat Springs attempts to hold off Aspen and Vail Mountain for the league crown.

The Sailors (9-2, 7-1), playing for the first time in 12 days, put up 18 goals Tuesday night in a rout of Glenwood Springs. Steamboat Springs hosts Vail Mountain (7-2, 7-2) on Thursday and visits Aspen (8-3, 7-2) on Saturday. Aspen travels to face Vail Mountain next Tuesday.

A Windsor team that had lost three games in a row scored an impressive 8-7 victory over Air Academy on Monday night, snapping the Kadets’ four-game winning streak. Freshman Carter Baily made 10 saves for the Wizards, and Luke Mclellan had 11 for Air Academy.

The Kadets (5-4, 2-0) were coming off a 5-3 victory over Lutheran last Friday. Nathan Baxter scored three goals and Mclellan stopped seven shots.

Fruita Monument leads the 4A Mountain League, though a loss to Telluride last Saturday could make things interesting. The Miners – who split the two games with the Wildcats – have five more league contests remaining.