The midway point of the regular season is a good time to provide some thoughts on which teams will make the playoffs in the four smallest classifications. League champions earn automatic bids with the remaining spots chosen by RPI. Our projections are based on results through the first five weeks of the season and in the process we had to predict a few champions in leagues that may get only one playoff bid.
These are updated from our first round of projects following week three.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY OT SPORTSCHECK
- CENTRAL: Genoa Hugo
- EAST: Stratton, Idalia, Otis, Arickaree/Woodlin
- NORTH: Briggsdale, Fleming, Prairie, North Park
- SOUTH CENTRAL: Kim/Branson
- SOUTHEAST: Cheyenne Wells, Granada, Cheraw, Eads
- SOUTHWEST: Sierra Grande, Mountain Valley
NOTES: Despite the lopsided loss to Cheyenne Wells where they suited just eight players, we believe Eads will still make the playoff bracket if they remain healthy. They’ve already beaten Walsh and that might be good enough to finish fourth in the Southeast conference and we believe that division will get four teams in. North Park and Peetz play a very important game inside the North this week as the winner should land fourth and again we believe the conference will get four teams into the bracket. Kim/Branson took a major step to getting into the bracket by beating Primero. The Bearcats must now only beat Miami Yoder to become league champions. Sierra Grande also moved very close to the Southwest crown by downing Cotopaxi over the weekend. The Panthers have also beaten Mountain Valley.
- ARK VALLEY: Fowler, Hoehne, Holly
- CENTRAL: Front Range Christian
- MOUNTAIN: Sanford, Dove Creek, Mancos
- NORTHWEST: Vail Christian, Hayden
- PLAINS: Haxtun, Sedgwick County, Dayspring Christian, Merino, Akron
- SOUTH: Swink, Pikes Peak Christian
NOTES: Quite a bit to chew on here; starting with five qualifiers from the Plains conference. Could be one too many and if that’s the case, then a very good team will be left out of the bracket. Merino scored a huge win over Lyons over the weekend. The Lyons have a good chance earn second in their conference but the loss to the Rams will hurt their postseason chances. The Southern conference is also difficult to make picks as we did not include either Simla or Calhan in our projects. Right now we have two teams from the bracket but the third place club could get in ahead of the runner-up team from the Northwest. Vail Christian is favored there and we have Hayden as the runner-up club and in the playoffs but Rangely could also get involved in that race.
- FOOTHILLS: Manual
- NORTH CENTRAL: Wiggins, Wray, Yuma, Limon, Holyoke
- NORTHERN: Flatirons Academy, Strasburg, Highland
- SANTA FE: Peyton
- SOUTHERN PEAKS: Centauri, Monte Vista
- TRI PEAKS: Florence, Buena Vista
- WESTERN SLOPE: North Fork, Meeker
NOTES: Probably the first thing that’s noticed is that neither Ignacio nor Gunnison are found in our bracket. Both the Bobcats and Cowboys are unbeaten on the season but we have them projected to finish third in their respective conference. And due to the depth of the North Central, we feel the Southern Peaks and Western Slope will get just two bids. We have five from the North Central conference in the bracket and based on Burlington’s lopsided win at Rye, there’s an argument to be made for all six to get in. Manual and Peyton are the picks to win the Foothills and Santa Fe conference and we believe they are just one bid leagues. Banning Lewis could also be the Santa Fe champ as their resume, other than the margin of loss to Buena Vista, is equal to or better than the Panthers. Another question could involve taking three teams from the Northern division but Strasburg, Highland and Flatirons Academy are good teams that have played strong non-league schedules so we put all three into the pairings.
- COLORADO: Elizabeth
- FLATIRONS: Northfield
- PATRIOT EAST: Platte Valley, Brush
- PATRIOT WEST: Academy, Severance, Eaton, Resurrection Christian, University
- SOUTHWEST: Alamosa, Bayfield
- TRI PEAKS: Classical Academy
- WESTERN SLOPE: Basalt, Delta, Moffat County, Rifle
NOTES: Our bracket is dominated by the Patriot West and Western Slope as the two conferences have nine of our 16 selections. Non-league records justify the selections as the Patriot West has four unbeaten clubs and the conference overall has won 19 of 23 games. The West is a combined 14-10 but the top four teams are very very good. Rifle is 2-2 but losses are to 3A Palisade and Glenwood Springs who are a combined 6-3. The Colorado and Foothills are one bid leagues at this point and we project Elizabeth and Northfield as league champions. The Cards must get by Kent Denver to land the Colorado while Faith Christian will be a tough out for the Nighthawks in the Flatirons. We also have the Tri Peaks getting just one bid through Classical Academy. La Junta could get into the bracket ahead of Bayfield from the Southwest and those two teams play later in the season. That could turn out to be a huge game with plenty of playoff ramifications. Platte Valley and Brush also collide this week and we believe that winner will end up with the Patriot East crown.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Due to some issues outside of our control, our weekly Colorado PrepsCast reviewing the past week in football will not be available this week. We instead are placing our playoff projections on coloradopreps.com and will release our thoughts on Classes 3A, 4A and 5A.