This weekend marks the halfway point of the spring football regular season and a few clubs face very important games concerning staying unbeaten and improving their placement in the playoff bracket. Colorado Preps looks at the best games on tap.
Photo provided by Courtney Oakes at Aurora Sentinel.
Front Range Chrsitian (1-0) at Hoehne (1-0)
The winner may be decided on which defense can step up and stop the opponents high scoring offense. Luke Hiltman threw for 441 yards in leading Front Range Christian past Las Animas 58-22 last week. He connected on 28 of 43 passes with six touchdowns. Nolan Potts and Ben Bolz each caught seven passes; combined for 249 yards and four scores. That group faces a Hoehne defense that surrendered 199 yards and two touchdowns through the air in their week one win over Plateau Valley (50-18). Hoehne ran for 331 yards in that win including 171 from Grant Arellanas and 108 from Weston Hill. They combined for three scores and that tandem faces a Front Range defense that allowed 220 yards on the ground to Las Animas.
Grand Valley (1-1) at Buena Vista (2-0)
If not for Grand Valley’s narrow 10-9 loss to Manitou Springs last week, this would be another battle of unbeaten clubs. The Cardinals beat Ellicott 48-0 in week one but could not build on that momentum on the road last week. Now the challenge may be even bigger as they face a Buena Vista club that has outscored their first two opponents 89-6. That includes a 43-6 win over the same Manitou club that edged Grand Valley last week. The Demons average 259 yards rushing with Brandan Cattell and Kaden McFee with three touchdowns apiece. They’re two of the four backs with at least 76 yards on the season.
Faith Christian (1-1) at Classical Academy (2-0) – POSTPONED
Despite the 1-1 record, the Faith Christian defense has been very good; allowing just 12 points through two games. After allowing just 12 points in a week one loss to Sand Creek, the Eagles blanked Kent Denver (10-0) in week two. Cody Thomas Connor has 20 stops and Ethan Berryhill 11 to lead that unit. The defense has also recovered three fumbles and blocked a punt. Carson Wolf, with 347 total yards, is the offensive leader. Classical Academy has not been tested in wins over Northfield (42-0) and Littleton (62-7). They’ve scored 12 times in the run game including five from Cade Palmer and three from TJ Herebic.
Coal Ridge (1-1) at Glenwood Springs (2-0)
After running for 391 yards in an easy opening win over Aspen (41-14), Glenwood Springs moved to 2-0 with a quality road win at Montezuma Cortez (27-12) last week. In week one, Garrett Dollahan (177) and Blake Nieslanik (168) combined for 345 yards and three touchdowns. Coal Ridge has been involved in two shutouts as they fell to Rifle 49-0 in week one and beat Salida 291-0 in week two. They surrendered 351 yards and six touchdowns rushing against Rifle so that group will need to be better this week to slow down the Demons attack.
Sand Creek (2-0) at Academy (2-0)
Quite a few similarities for these two clubs in their unbeaten starts. Sand Creek fought past Kent Denver 12-7 in week one before easily downing Northfield 49-8 last week. Academy also scored a narrow 12-7 win over Faith Christian in their opener but then handled Denver West 48-6 in week two. Both teams have also had success throwing the football; Caleb Kruse has 369 yards and seven touchdowns for Sand Creek and Isaiah Elliott 338 and three scores for Academy. Each club also features a big play defense as Sand Creek has forced five turnovers and Academy eight. Tim Newton has 20 tackles and Omael Alexandre 17 to pace a Scorpions defense that has also collected 28 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and six sacks. Dylan Kohlbrenner has 26 tackles to top the Academy group which has 50 tackles for loss and four sacks.
Rifle (2-0) at Basalt (2-0)
The western slope conference rivals have bounced back and forth between the top two spots in the 3A rankings this year so they get to settle that argument on the field this weekend. It should be a great battle and both teams are likely looking forward to it. They last played in the 2019 quarterfinals with Basalt picking up a double-overtime win over Rifle (21-14). The Longhorns return more players from that win including QB Matty Gillis who threw for 63 yards and a touchdown. Gillis has five touchdown passes already this year in leading the Longhorns to their 2-0 start. All five scores have gone to Rulbe Alvarado who tops the club with nine catches and 122 yards. Basalt generated only 77 yards in the win over Rifle but have 509 yards and eight touchdowns through two games this year. Gavin Webb is the top rusher with 244 yards and four scores. Rifle is under the direction of Todd Casebier this Spring. He’s coaching his second team of the school after moving on from Castle View after the Fall. He’s continued the strong running game tradition of Rifle as they’ve produced a whopping 429 yards a game in wins over Coal Ridge and Aspen (combined 105-14). Kaden Wolf tops the rushing charts with 353 yards and five touchdowns with Toto Fletchall providing 206 yards and three scores.
Thomas Jefferson (2-0) at Centaurus (2-0)
The winner could easily move very close to a top four seed and home game in the opening round of the playoffs next month. Thomas Jefferson followed up a quality 32-29 win over Falcon in week one by blasting Lincoln 47-0 in game two. Centaurus has been pushed by both Sierra (33-12) and Denver North (34-14) but has recorded victories in both. Much of TJ’s production comes on the ground as they average over 350 yards per game rushing. Jaden Hill (185 yards), Avery Shunneson (179) and Austin Lindgren (168) produce balance and variety in the backfield and have combined for seven of the teams’ nine touchdowns. Coleman Teasdale is a dual threat QB for Centaurus; leading the Warriors in passing (197) and rushing (238). Mile Malone, with 165 yards and a touchdown on the ground, is another threat.
Fort Collins (2-0) at Northglenn (1-1)
Conversion attempts cost Northglenn in their 20-19 loss to Westminster last week. They were successful on just one of three attempts in the one-point contest. In week one, the Norse booted through all five PAT attempts while beating Hinkley 44-0. Fort Collins needs a tight game. They’ve handled Denver East (41-0) and Adams City (52-6) thus far with Andrew Seest tossing seven touchdown passes. He’s completing 65 percent of his passes with 370 yards overall. Dorion McGarity has three touchdown receptions and Dontay Johnson the most catches (18). The Lambkins have also produced four touchdowns on the ground for balance.
Vista Peak (2-0) at Rangeview (2-0)
We were surprised to find out that these two Aurora based fields have not previously met on the gridiron so this could be the start of a nice rivalry. Both are off to dominant starts this spring as Vista Peak has beaten Westminster and Hinkley by a combined 91 points and Rangeview has gotten past Adams City and Denver East by 68 points. Because of those lopsided results, the offensive standouts for each club have had limited opportunities. Ja’ Derris Carr picked up 177 yards and four touchdowns in week one but then ran the ball just five times in last week’s win over Hinkley. He still produced 111 yards and three scores. Brian Figueroa collected 110 yards and two scores in Rangeview’s win over Adams City; producing those numbers on just six touches.