Classes 4A and 5A clubs open the spring football playoffs this weekend with state quarterfinals on tap in each division. There are three unbeaten teams left in the 4A bracket with two more found in Class 5A. Winners advance to the state semifinals next week and stay alive for a trip to Pueblo and the state finals on May 14-15th.
FINAL: #1 Thomas Jefferson over #8 Aurora Central 2-0 (Forfeit)
FRI/7:00pm: #4 Falcon vs #5 Kennedy
SAT/1:00pm: #3 George Washington vs #6 Gateway
SAT/1:00pm: #2 Harrison vs #7 Centaurus
Fresh opponents for each team as none of the four quarterfinals are rematches from the regular season. Top seeded Thomas Jefferson has already advanced to the semifinals as they’ve earned a forfeit over Aurora Central this week. That moves the Spartans to 6-0 on the season and they will face the winner of Falcon and Kennedy. TJ is also one of three unbeaten teams in the field as Harrison (6-0) and George Washington (5-0) also head into the post-season without a loss.
Falcon scored 258 points through six games so they will look to outscore Kennedy. Virtually all of the offense is generated through the run game as the Falcons have 1,616 yards rushing to just 95 passing. They’ve attempted just 20 passes the entire season. Darius McFarland, with 774 yards and 11 TDs, gets most of the carries but Nolan Favreau (5) and Landon Jones (6) have also combined for 11 scores.
Kennedy (4-2) has played a strong schedule; facing four playoff teams and splitting those contests. Isaac Sisneros is a top quarterback; throwing for 957 yards with 11 TD’s. Top targets include Michael Bueno with 22 catches and Ron Gallegos with 16. Gallegos has four TD receptions; a number matched by Antonio Massengile. The running game overall has provided 731 yards and five touchdowns.
George Washington (5-0) won their opener against Kennedy by just three points (20-17) and then rolled their last four opponents by at least 35 points apiece. Daniel Ameyaw rushed for 400 yards and five touchdowns on offense with Own Thornton the top performer on defense with 37 tackles including six behind the line of scrimmage.
Gateway (3-3) scored their lone win over a playoff team last week in blasting Aurora Central 49-0. They allowed just 175 yards rushing and the defense this week will be focused on slowing down Ameyaw. Complete stats are not available but the Olympians generate about 75 percent of their offense through the running game.
Harrison outscored six opponents 175-62 and finished the regular season strong by downing Falcon in overtime (40-32) last week. The Panthers ran for 365 yards and five scores. Kahli Dotson had the most yards (140) and Davonn Stevens the most scores (3). Stevens gained 80 yards and Kahar Briggs provided 91 yards. On defense, Jesse Webert totaled 11 tackles and Dotson eight.
Centaurus (3-3) opened the season with two wins but then dropped three of their final four. The Warriors are unbeaten against non-playoff teams and won those games by a combined 102 points. They lost all three matchups with playoff teams; falling by a total of 68 points. They did push top seeded Thomas Jefferson 20-13 early in the season. Coleman Teasdale leads the club in passing yards (643) and rushing (392) while combining for eight touchdowns. Angus Reichert (19) and Nathen Rodriguez (18) have combined for 37 receptions and 420 yards.
FRI/7:00pm: #1 Denver South vs #8 Denver East
FRI/6:00pm: #4 Boulder vs #5 Fort Collins
SAT/1:00pm: #3 Vista Peak vs #6 Rangeview
FRI/7:00pm: #2 Far Northeast vs #7 Westminster
With such a balanced bracket, it’s hard to see that any result will be considered an “upset” in the state quarterfinals. That includes the one versus eight battle between Denver South and Denver East. South is unbeaten on the season (6-0) but three of their wins are by 10 points or less with a fourth coming by 14 points against East (35-21).
In that game, South generated 342 yards of offense compared to 287 for the Angels. The Ravens got a big game from QB Joseph Capra who finished with 116 yards passing and 91 rushing while combining for four touchdowns. Dylan Wigglesworth threw for 144 yards and Quentin Cooper ran for 70 in the loss. The Angels also combined for three turnovers.
East also enters the matchup with momentum from last week’s win over Vista Peak (14-11). That win likely qualified the Angels into the bracket and they scored 14 fourth quarter points to rally for the win.
Boulder and Fort Collins were scheduled to face off in mid-season but the game was postponed due to COVID. Now they get to square off in the quarterfinals and the game showcases two of the best quarterbacks in the spring season. Alvin Rodriguez of Boulder threw for 671 yards and seven touchdowns through the regular season and Andrew Seest of Fort Collins totaled 858 yards and 16 scores. His main target is Dorian McGarity with 20 catches and six scores. Nicky Maguire latched onto four scoring passes as well. Rodriguez connected with Luke Werner 13 times and Drake Arthur 12.
On the season, Boulder has outscored opponents 106-21 but has not played since April 19th when they beat Adams City. The Panthers were slated to face Adams City again last week but that game was postponed. Fort Collins won their first three games by a combined 125 points but the last two have been much different. They edged Mountain Range 14-7 but then closed with a 52-24 loss to Far Northeast.
Vista Peak (4-2) slipped to the third seed with last week’s loss to Denver East (14-11). It was their second straight setback as the Bison also came up short to Denver South (18-15) in week five. Ja’derris Carr led the Bison with 738 yards and 11 TDs rushing but did not play against East last week. His status for the playoffs is not known at this time but is very important as he gained 271 yards with three TDs in a 33-14 win over Rangeview during the regular season. Without Carr last week, the Bison still managed 224 yards on the ground including 81 from Victor Owens and 64 from Walter Goodloe. The Bison though fumbled six times and lost two with a third turnover coming on an interception.
Rangeview has been off since April 9th when they lost to Denver South. Their last win came by forfeit to Hinkley on April 16th. The Raiders opened the season by beating Adams City 44-0 and Denver East 30-6.
Far Northeast (3-2) is one of the hottest teams across the state right now as wins over Denver East (26-3) and Fort Collins (52-24) pushed them all the way up to number two in the bracket. They ran for 295 yards against Fort Collins including season highs from Dre’Monti Jackson (159) and Antavious Hughes (84). They combined for five touchdowns as well.
Westminster (3-2) has had three games decided by seven points or less. They beat Northglenn (20-19) and Mountain Range (21-14) and then lost to Boulder (10-7). The defense has been strong all season; forcing 16 turnovers and getting 57 tackles from Robert Barron and 48 from Xavier Quintana. Victor Lopez is the top offensive threat with 337 yards and four scores rushing.