Another state tournament is in the books, as volleyball took center stage last weekend. The region was very well represented at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, and quite a bit of hardware was brought home by area teams.
PHOTO BY ALISSA NOE
REPORT PRESENTED BY PRO AG SOLUTIONS
The Class 1A field was loaded with local squads, with the top eight seeds (Briggsdale, Fleming, Haxtun, Merino, Wiley, Stratton, Idalia, Cheraw) all calling Eastern Colorado home. The twelfth-seed, Genoa-Hugo/Karval also represented the area.
As the bracket played out over the course of three days, the top four seeds found themselves in the semifinals. Briggsdale made its way through the elimination side to face North Central rival Fleming in a match that would go the distance. Fleming earned a return to the finals with a five-set victory, overcoming a 2-1 deficit by winning the fifth, 15-12.
The other semifinal saw another pairing of league rivals, as Merino and Haxtun from the LPAA squared off. That match also went the full five sets, as Merino won the first two, before Haxtun fought back to even things with wins of 25-23 and 28-26. The defending champs survived by taking the final set 15-4.
Those two wins set up a rematch of the final from early May, and once again, Merino came out on top, taking the victory in four sets over Fleming. It was the 12th state title for the Rams. Fleming was seeking its eighth.
Class 2A saw a new champion crowned, as Sedgwick County fended off all challengers to win its first title as a co-op program. The Cougars outlasted a field that included Fowler, Holyoke, Wiggins, Limon, and Akron from the local area.
Sedgwick County dispatched LPAA rival Holyoke in five tough sets to reach the semifinals, sending the Dragons into the elimination side of the bracket. Holyoke sent Rye home in five sets to make the semifinals.
The Cougars would sweep Meeker in their semifinal contest, while Holyoke did the same to league rival and defending champ, Wiggins. Sedgwick County would break a 1-all tie and won the title in four sets over the Dragons.
There weren’t quite as many local squads in the 3A bracket, with only Lamar and Sterling in the field. Those two would meet in the third round, and for the first time all season, the Savages were pushed to five sets. They would win the fifth 15-13, earning a spot in the semis while also sending the Tigers to the elimination bracket.
Sterling won its way back into the semifinals, but fell in a 3-0 sweep to Patriot League rival University. Lamar was again pushed to five sets in its semifinal, but the Savages were able to hold off another Patriot squad, Platte Valley, 16-14 in the fifth.
Lamar would win the opening set of the title contest, but dropped the next three to finish second in the classification. University was also the team to knock Lamar out of the tournament in May. That was also a 3-1 loss for the Savages, who finished 28-1 on the year. It was their third 20-win season in the last five years.
Sterling ended up 22-8, and gave head coach Lisa Schumacher her 500th win with a sweep of Alamosa to open the tournament. She joins Darrel Parker as Sterling coaches to hit that career milestone. Parker did it while coaching basketball.
Six of the seven football classifications played quarterfinal contests over the weekend, with 3A just getting its bracket started. Of those classes to have played two rounds, only six-man has not seen an upset.
Idalia punched its ticket into the six-man semifinals last Friday, bouncing Fleming 64-28. Eduardo Estrada returned the opening kick-off for a touchdown, and the Wolves scored on each of their first two snaps in building a 21-0 lead just a few minutes into the contest. Yahir Enriquez ran for more than 200 yards and six touchdowns for the #4 Wolves.
They will meet top-seeded Cheyenne Wells in the semifinals, after the Tigers trounced Prairie 76-32 on Saturday. Cade Mitchek had seven total touchdowns in the contest, as the senior ran for four, caught one, and returned a punt and a kickoff for the other two. Rogelio Rangel had three scores, and Jesse Harlow converted eight of 10 PAT kicks on a very windy day.
The other semifinal will have #3 Granada visiting #2 Stratton. Granada needed a late score to hold off #6 Sierra Grande, 48-44. Jonus Guevara ran wild, racking up 239 yards on the ground. Talented freshman, Maddox Coleman, ran for two scores and caught another, and the Bobcats took advantage of five Sierra Grande fumbles.
Stratton overcame a slow start to build a 48-0 halftime advantage over #7 Cheraw. The Eagles would go on to a 62-0 victory behind Charlie Clapper’s 178 yards and four scores on the ground. Stratton ran for more than 380 yards as a team.
Eight-man has only had three upsets, two by #11 Sanford. One week after taking out #6 Sedgwick County, the Indians sent #3 Vail Christian home 62-38. They will face #2 Mancos in one semifinal, after the Bluejays eliminated Dayspring Christian 33-24. The winner of that semifinal will face either #1 Haxtun or #4 Holly in the finals.
Haxtun had a tougher go with Akron than in their regular season contest, which the Fightin’ Bulldogs won 58-0. In their quarterfinal clash, Haxtun only led 22-12 at the half before pulling away for a 42-24 victory. The contest saw the teams combine for 959 yards of offense, 763 of them on the ground. Michael Gerk ran for 230 yards and two scores to lead Haxtun, and Isaac Andersen added 186 and two scores. Akron’s Ivan Losa had 114 of the team’s 291 rushing yards.
The Fightin’ Bulldogs will face Holly, after the Wildcats bounced #4 Dove Creek 66-22. Dakota Eaton threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns, and also added 117 yards and two scores in the ground game. Donovan Pecina (85) and Daunte Maldonado (84) combined for 169 more rushing yards, as the Wildcats piled up 356 yards on the ground. Their offense tallied 704 total yards in the contest.
Most of the expected faces are in the 1A semifinals, with the top three seeds still alive, along with #5 Wray, who upset Florence 36-7 last week. Caden Bauer and Brady Collins both went over the century mark on the ground for the Eagles in that victory. They will meet league rival, Limon, in the semis. The Badgers rolled North Fork 46-19 in the quarters behind 209 rushing yards from Jeremiah Leeper and three rushing touchdowns from Gabe Schubarth. Limon won the regular season meeting with Wray 41-0.
Brush fought its way into the 2A semifinals by upsetting #2 Resurrection Christian 21-17 last week. That victory gives the Beetdiggers a second crack at Severance, who picked up a 20-7 win back in mid-September. Brush held the Silver Knights to just 118 yards of offense, including a negative 12 on the ground, but the Beetdiggers turned the ball over five times, and had a punt blocked. The winner on Saturday will get either #1 Eaton or #12 University in the finals.
Fort Morgan got its postseason off on the right foot, as the Mustangs scored a 14-0 win over #14 Green Mountain in the opening round. The Mustangs got a 100-yard rushing performance from Frank Ortega, who scored once on the ground. That win sets up a quarterfinal tilt with #6 Frederick, who bounced Pueblo County 42-7 last week. Fort Morgan will host that contest on Saturday afternoon.