The best news for a lot of Class 1A football teams was that Gabe Schubarth, the 1,500-yard rusher and player of the year for state champion Limon, was graduating and wouldn’t be able to break through defensive lines like he did during the 2022 season.

But it still might not matter. For half the last decade, whenever it feels like the Badgers have lost enough talent to fall back down to Earth, the next generation of players steps in and keeps the rocket ship fueled up.

Schubarth was a big reason that Limon rolled to its fourth state football title in five years. But he was far from the only reason.

The quarterback play from Jordan Rockwell was more than steady. He completed 66% of his passes for 1,250 yards and 16 touchdowns. Logan Bottjer was the ideal guy to spell Schubarth in the backfield. He rushed for 886 yards and 14 touchdowns. Leading receiver Lance Beedy didn’t put up gaudy numbers, but when effective when thrown to.

All of them are back. Which means Limon will enter the 2023 season as a big favorite to win state yet again. And it might be the second year in a row where the team runs the table and doesn’t lose a game. The last time the Badgers lost a football game at all was the 2021 state title game where they got tripped up by Centauri.

There was one truly tough test a year ago and that came at the hands of Wray, the team Limon eventually beat for the 1A title.

Although the Eagles couldn’t quite get the better of Limon next year, they’ll field another solid team in 2023. Quarterback Casey Midcap threw for over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns. He’ll head into his junior season with vast experience in guiding the offense of a winning team.

Also back is Samuel Meisner, who rushed for 892 yards and a team-high 19 touchdowns. He was also one of the Eagles’ top overall defenders last year and led the team with 138 total tackles.

Wray entered the 1A postseason as the No. 6 seed and upset No. 3 Wiggins 35-28 before beating No. 2 Strasburg 28-0 to reach the championship game.

Strasburg is another team that should return a competitive squad to the field. Quarterback Landen Martin returns as does running back Thomas Devlin. Al Dickens is back for his senior year, giving the trenches on both sides of the ball a major boost. He led the team with seven sacks in 2022.

Colorado Springs Christian could make another postseason run with the return of quarterback Jace Velasquez. He was instrumental in leading the Lions to a shocking first-round win over Buena Vista and that momentum held up in the second round as they got by Yuma. They still have a tough task in league as Rye returns a lot of skill players from last season.

Holyoke should be a leap forward this year considering they have one of the top quarterbacks in the state in Wyatt Sprague. The senior threw for 1,972 yards and 21 touchdowns last season and has an experienced group of receivers to throw to this year. They should be in line for a top-four seed in the state tournament and could emerge as an overall state championship contender.

The competition across the board in 1A is very heavy at the top and then a large group of good teams will round out what will eventually become the playoff field. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Limon and Wray once again square off for the state title, but with teams like Holyoke and Strasburg waiting to pounce, the final couple weeks of the year could provide some of the best football across the entire state.


1A football

Returning All-State Players:

  • Treyton Marx, Limon (First Team)
  • Samuel Meisner, Wray (First Team)
  • Jordan Rockwell, Limon (First Team)
  • Wyatt Sprague, Holyoke (First Team)
  • Keon Bandy, Limon (Second Team)
  • Lohgan Bottjer, Limon (Second Team)
  • Chaz Holman, Centauri (Second Team)
  • Dylan Hume, Rye (Second Team)
  • Americo Lorenzini, Wiggins (Second Team)
  • Hayden Moreno, North Fork (Second Team)
  • Ryland Reetz, Estes Park (Second Team)
  • Charlie Spriggs, Strasburg (Second Team)
  • Derick Bak, Rye (Honorable Mention)
  • Lucas Boisvert, Peyton (Honorable Mention)
  • Thomas Devlin, Strasburg (Honorable Mention)
  • Ben Early, Banning Lewis (Honorable Mention)
  • Elijah Flowers, Buena Vista (Honorable Mention)
  • Jose Gonzalez, Estes Park (Honorable Mention)
  • Julien Laderman, Banning Lewis (Honorable Mention)
  • Deamonte Maynard, Manual (Honorable Mention)
  • Josh Polkowske, Centauri (Honorable Mention)
  • Chase Riehle, Banning Lewis (Honorable Mention)
  • Teagan Sheridan, Meeker (Honorable Mention)
  • Jesus Valdez, Center (Honorable Mention)
  • Julian Valencia, Strasburg (Honorable Mention)
  • Austin Velasco, Strasburg (Honorable Mention)
  • Cash Weber, Holyoke (Honorable Mention)


League 1


              Team                            Overall                   League
              Win            Loss         Win           Loss
Gunnison 6 4 5 1
Buena Vista 7 3 5 1
Meeker 5 4 4 2
North Fork 5 4 4 2
Cedaredge 4 5 2 4
Roaring Fork 2 7 1 5
Olathe 0 9 0 6

League champion: Gunnison

Additional playoff teams: Buena Vista, Meeker, North Fork

Projected 2023 league champion: Buena Vista

Additional 2023 playoff contenders: Gunnison, Meeker, North Fork


League 2


              Team                            Overall                   League
              Win            Loss         Win           Loss
Centauri 8 3 5 0
Monte Vista 9 2 4 1
Ignacio 5 3 3 2
Center 4 5 2 3
Del Norte 3 6 1 4
Trinidad 0 9 0 5

League champion: Centauri

Additional playoff teams: Monte Vista

Projected 2023 league champion: Centauri

Additional 2023 playoff contenders: Ignacio, Monte Vista


League 3


              Team                            Overall                   League
              Win            Loss         Win           Loss
Rye 13 0 5 0
CSCS 7 4 3 2
Banning Lewis 9 4 3 2
Peyton 4 6 2 3
Ellicott 7 4 2 3
Rocky Ford 2 8 0 5

League champion: Rye

Additional playoff teams: CSCS

Projected 2023 league champion: Rye

Additional 2023 playoff contenders: CSCS, Banning Lewis


League 4


              Team                            Overall                   League
              Win            Loss         Win           Loss
Limon 8 2 5 0
Wiggins 8 4 4 1
Wray 5 4 3 2
Holyoke 3 6 2 3
Yuma 1 8 1 4
Burlington 0 9 0 5

League champion: Limon

Additional playoff teams: Wiggins, Wray, Holyoke, Yuma

Projected 2023 league champion: Limon

Additional 2023 playoff contenders: Wiggins, Wray, Holyoke, Yuma


League 5


              Team                            Overall                   League
              Win            Loss         Win           Loss
Strasburg 10 2 5 0
Middle Park 5 4 4 1
Denver Christian 4 5 3 2
Platte Canyon 5 4 2 3
Jefferson 2 7 1 4
Clear Creek 2 7 0 5

League champion: Strasburg

Additional playoff teams: None

Projected 2023 league champion: Strasburg

Additional 2023 playoff contenders: Middle Park


League 6


              Team                            Overall                   League
              Win            Loss         Win           Loss
Flatirons Academy 7 3 5 0
Highland 3 6 3 2
Estes Park 7 2 3 2
Manual 5 4 3 2
The Pinnacle 2 7 1 4
Sheridan 0 9 0 5

League champion: Flatirons Academy

Additional playoff teams: None

Projected 2023 league champion: Estes Park

Additional 2023 playoff contenders: Flatirons Academy, Highland