Throw the rankings out the window. At least, that’s what the Ponderosa Mustangs did in Week 1 of the 2022 high school football season.

The Mustangs hit the road to take on Erie, the 2021 Class 4A runner-up and No. 1-ranked team in the preseason rankings. And solid game plan and good execution from the players resulted in a joyous bus ride home as No. 7 Pondo came away with the 39-27 win.

Senior quarterback Zach Stryker went 9-for-16 with 114 yards and two touchdowns. He threw one interception, but turned out to not be a costly mistake. Stryker also ran for 88 yards and a score.

Ethan Rodriguez was the leading rusher on the night with 104 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, the plan was to keep Erie quarterback Blake Barnett in the pocket and take away his dual threat abilities. Coach Jaron Cohen knew that as a playmaker, Barnett would cause problems through the night but he was pleased with what he saw from his defense.

“I’m really proud of the plan that our staff put together,” Cohen told Kevin Shaffer on the Scoreboard Show. “More importantly our kids executed in all three phases.”

Lyam Edwards added a 99 kick return for a touchdown to get the special teams unit in on the fun. The Mustangs (1-0 overall) will stay closer to home next week as they take on cross-town rival Chaparral on Friday.


Class 5A

(4) Regis Jesuit 23, (2) Valor Christian 17 (OT)

The top of the 5A ranks could be fun as Regis Jesuit and Valor Christian put on a show. The Raiders jumped out to a 7-3 lead thanks to a 51-yard rushing touchdown by Albert Medina. Gabe Sawchuk got the lead back for the Eagles with a one-yard score before a field goal knotted the game at 10-10 going into halftime.

Roman Bradley scored on a 50-yard run to put Valor up 17-10 but Exander Carroll threw the first of his two passing touchdowns late in the third quarter to tie things up again. His second passing touchdown came in overtime to give the Raiders a big Week 1 win.


Class 2A

(3) TCA 19, (1) Eaton 16

Evan LaPoure has a bit of a golden leg. At least he did on Friday. The TCA senior connected on four field goals, including the game winner, to lead the Titans to a stunning upset over the two-time defending 2A champion, Eaton.

A late Eaton score tied the game at 16 before Ethan Aragundi broke a big run to get LaPoure into field goal range. Aragundi finished the night with 22 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown.


Class 3A

(2) Roosevelt 35, (7) Palisade 18

Less than three minutes into the game, Tucker Peterson caught a 23-yard touchdown pass to get Roosevelt on the scoreboard. The Roughriders never looked back as they got a convincing win over Palisade to kick off the season.

Ryan Doucette added a rushing touchdown and Xavier Ramirez got the special teams unit involved as he returned a punt for a score. Roosevelt head to Kennedy next week before taking on defending 3A champion Fort Morgan on Sept. 9.



  • Pine Creek cleaned house in Sin City, getting a 43-3 over Las Vegas High School.
  • The top three ranked teams in 4A all suffered losses as Erie fell to Ponderosa, Montrose lost to Palmer Ridge and Pueblo West took down Dakota Ridge.
  • In 8-Man, No. 9 Sanford looked strong in its 34-20 win over No. 5 Dayspring Christian.
  • In a rematch of the 6-Man title game, Stratton ran away from Cheyenne Wells. Read the full story here.
  • It was a monumental occasion for two schools Friday as Tinmath and Wellington each played their first varsity games. Tinmath lost to Berthoud and Wellington fell to Estes Park, but the losses didn’t damper the spirit surrounding both programs.
  • A pair of 1A teams got the better of ranked 2A opponents as Limon beat Florence and Wiggins beat Brush.