Semifinal Preview (8man-2A-3A)

Spring football is on the verge of crowning champions, but teams in all five classifications still have to get through this weekend’s semifinal round. Winners will square off next weekend, with hardware at stake. Colorado Preps takes a look at this week’s match-ups in 8man, 2A, and 3A.



FRI/7:00pm: #1 Hoehne (5-0) vs #4 Plateau Valley (3-4)

SAT/12:00pm: #2 Front Range Christian (3-1) vs #3 John Mall (3-2)

Based on past success, many believed that Hoehne was the preseason favorite to win the championship in 8-man, and the Farmers have lived up to those expectations. They rolled through the regular season, beating opponents by a combined tally of 332-116. Included in that figure is a 50-18 victory over Plateau Valley in the season-opener.

Weston Hill completed 12 of 15 passes for 128 yards and three scores in that earlier win over the Cowboys. The senior also added 108 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Grant Arellanes powered the rushing attack with 171 yards and two touchdowns. As a team, the Farmers ran for 331 yards in that match-up. Robert Walter caught six passes for 64 yards and two scores, while Dario Vezzani hauled in three for 51 yards and a touchdown of his own.

Defensively, Antonio Moltrer had a team-high nine tackles, seven being solo. Six other Farmers finished with six stops. Arellanes added an 80-yard kick return for a touchdown.

The Cowboys had quite a bit of offense in that earlier meeting, posting 360 total yards. Tallen Long threw for 199 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 146 yards and another score. Ceal Etcheverry was the top target in the passing attack, snagging eight passes for 124 yards and both touchdowns.

Etcheverry was also the top tackler in the contest, recording 13 stops. Dalton Crites and Cadden Rocha each added 11 tackles. Bode Satterfield recovered a fumble that was forced by Etcheverry.

Plateau Valley earned a 22-8 win over Justice in last week’s quarterfinals. Colton Witzel had 141 rushing, and Long added 121 with a touchdown, while also throwing for 92 yards and two more touchdowns. Crites and Etcheverry were each on the receiving end of a scoring strike.

Like Hoehne, Front Range Christian had a bye last weekend. The last time the Falcons were on the field, they took a 30-26 victory over Plateau Valley. They ride a two-game winning streak into Saturday’s contest with John Mall. On the season, the Falcons own a 206-148 edge over their opponents.

The Falcons rely on their air attack, with senior QB Luke Hiltman throwing for 1520 yards and 20 touchdowns in four games. He’s also the leading rusher with 206 yards. As a team, Front Range Christian has 454 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. Nolan Potts is the top receiving threat, hauling in 32 passes for 733 yards and nine touchdowns, while Ben Bolz (21/330/5) and James Davenport (18/209/4) are second and third.

Cal Watanabe leads the defense with 48 tackles, 12 per game. The junior has recorded one sack, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. Hiltman has recorded three interceptions, while Josef Nussbaumer, the team’s second-leading tackler (34 tackles), has picked off two passes.

John Mall picked up its third shutout of the season in last week’s quarterfinals. The Panthers blasted Custer County 56-0, bringing the sportsmanship clock into play by halftime. They also beat the Bobcats 60-0 during the regular season. The win last weekend snapped a two-game skid, with the most recent coming by way of forfeit to Justice.

As a squad, the Panthers ran for more than 300 yards and six touchdowns in the playoff win last week. Anthony Aldretti led the way with 114 yards and two scores on 13 carries, and freshman Elton Chavez added 72 yards and a TD on just two carries. DJ VanMatre scored twice.

Chavez tied teammate Bernard Espinoza for game-high honors with 10 tackles. Aldretti registered a fumble recovery to help secure the shutout.

Front Range Christian and John Mall did not play during the regular season.



FRI/7:00pm: #1 Buena Vista (6-0) vs #4 Manitou Springs (5-1)

FRI/7:00pm: #2 Flatirons Academy (6-0) vs #3 Estes Park (5-2)

The top four seeds are still alive in 2A, and both contests this weekend are rematches from the regular season. Three picked up wins on the field in the quarters, while one earned a victory by forfeit.

Top-seed Buena Vista rolled past Clear Creek 49-0 last week, giving the Demons two shutout wins over the Golddiggers by a combined tally of 91-0. Sophomore Haden Camp played a huge roll in last week’s win, completing all four of his passes for 141 yards and two scores, and also rushing for 155 yards and three TDs on five carries. Jacob Phelps and Tate Nash each scored a rushing touchdown. Caleb Camp and Abram Durbin each recorded a fumble recovery to spark the defense, and Tam Flowers was perfect on seven PAT kicks.

Manitou Springs won its fifth straight contest since dropping the season-opener to Buena Vista, as the Mustangs bounced Manual 42-8.They used a 21-0 fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. The defense recorded four takeaways, two on fumble recoveries and two interceptions, and held the Thunderbolts to under 300 yards of offense.

Buena Vista won the season-opener against the Mustangs, 43-6, scoring the final 43 points of the game. Trailing 6-0 after one quarter, the Demons struck for 36 second quarter points and never looked back.  Brandan Cattell led the way with 102 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, and Phelps added 94 yards. Nate Gentzel accounted for the lone Manitou Springs TD, connecting with Caden Harris for the tally. The Mustangs were held to 121 total yards in that match-up.

Flatirons Academy picked up its second straight forfeit victory in the opening round, as St. Mary’s was unable to play. That came on the heels of a forfeit from Ellicott to close out the regular season.

The Bison have been fairly balanced on offense this season, racking up 885 yards on the ground and 638 passing. Senior QB Jacob Dube has hit 35 of 58 passes for 638 yards and 13 touchdowns, and also leads the running game with 257 yards and five TDs. Fellow seniors Trevor Ryan and Deverick Dow have added 250 and 236 yards, respectively. Trenton Rowan is the only receiver with double digit catches, as he has brought in 19 passes for 306 yards and seven touchdowns.

Ryan is the top tackler on the squad, with his 30 stops. Rowan (14) and Noah Rumbyrt (12) are next on the list. Isaac Sternhagen (3.5) and Wyatt Carlson (2.5) have combined for six of the team’s 12 sacks, while Russell Kingery and Devin Glowicki each have three interceptions.

Estes Park earned a shot at avenging a 27-26 loss to Flatirons in the opening game of the season by beating Grand Valley 40-27 last week. Collin Reetz threw for 360 yards and four touchdowns in that win, but was also picked off four times. JD McCown snagged 10 passes for 115 yards and two TD, while Braden Moore (78) and Elijah Kitchen (73) combined for 151 yards, and each scored a touchdown. Kitchen finished with six tackles, as did Jonah Burdick.

Reetz completed 37 of 65 passes for 471 yards and four touchdowns in the first meeting with Flatirons, but he was also intercepted twice. McCown caught 17 passes for 341 yards and a pair of scores in the loss. Dube threw for 142 yards and and two TD, and also ran for 101 yards and a score for the Bison. Rowan hauled in seven balls for 120 yards and two scores.



SAT/12:00pm: #1 Glenwood Springs (7-0) vs #4 Rifle (5-2)

SAT/1:00pm: #2 The Classical Academy (5-0) vs #6 Sand Creek (6-1)

The top half of the 3A bracket features a regular season rematch, while the lower half gets a fresh match-up. Three of the top four seeds are still in play.

Last week’s 56-13 quarterfinal win marked the fourth time this season that Glenwood Springs scored at least 41 points in a game. The Demons scored 42 straight points to get the mercy clock rolling in the third quarter.

Freshman quarterback Joaquin Sandoval hit all seven of his passes for 104 yards and a TD, with Evan Heyl hauling in the scoring toss. Blake Nieslanik ran for 132 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, and Garrett Dollahan added 80 yards and three scores. Defensively, Sawyer McKenney and Teddy Huttenhower each had five tackles to lead the Demons. Ray Rosenmerkel returned a punt for a touchdown, to go with one on the ground.

Rifle ran its winning streak to two with a 28-20 victory over The Academy last week. Tied at 14 late in the first half, the Bears grabbed the lead on a 95-yard pick-six by Embrey Marantino. The Academy’s defense returned the favor, striking for a scoop-and-score midway through the third, but a missed PAT kept the Bears in front, 21-20. They would add a touchdown late in the frame and held on for the victory.

Toto Fletchall (103) and Kaden Wolf (70) combined for 173 yards on the ground, and each recorded a touchdown. Trey Caldwell completed five of 10 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown to Gavin Peterson. Josh Straw was the lone defender with double figure tackles, finishing with 10. Peterson added nine. Bryce Rowley registered three sacks.

One of the two losses suffered by Rifle came on April 16th at Glenwood Springs, 22-15. The Bears grabbed a 15-14 lead early in the fourth quarter, as Fletchall scampered in from 15-yards out, and Marantino added the two-point conversion. The Demons wiped out the deficit about four minutes later on a Sandoval TD pass. Blake Nieslanik added the two-point run to supply the final margin.

The Classical Academy’s 57-0 victory over Aspen last week was the second straight shutout by the Titans defense, and their third of the season. They had the running clock implemented before the half, leading 43-0.

Four different Titans completed a pass in the victory, led by Sam Guilez who hit on five of eight attempts for 169 yards and three scores. Cade Palmer powered the ground game with 121 yards and two touchdowns, and Garrett Kautz caught three passes for 87 yards and two TDs.  Dylan Gould registered an interception for the defense, and Kaden Rusin added a fumble recovery.

The Titans will square off with Sand Creek, who outlasted #3 Basalt 27-22 in the quarterfinals. It was the fourth straight win for the Scorpions, who had their string of shutouts snapped at three.

Neither offense did much through the air, but both were strong on the ground. Basalt piled up 312 yards rushing, while the Scorpions amassed 362. Greg Garnett accounted for 321 of them, and he posted three touchdowns. Tim Newton (15) and Joseph Garnett (14) combined for 29 tackles. The defense came up with five takeaways, including three fumble recoveries.





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