It all comes down to Saturday. After three months worth of games, the Class 5A, 4A and 3A state football championships will be decided this weekend.

The 5A and 4A games head north to Canvas Stadium at Colorado State University while the 3A game heads down to CSU’s southern campus in Pueblo. Here is what fans need to know heading into each contest.

Class 5A

No. 1 Cherry Creek (13-0) vs. No. 2 Columbine (13-0), (Sat., 3 p.m., CSU’s Canvas Stadium, Fort Collins)

Seemingly a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in the state finals do not come to fruition often.

However, that is not the case in 5A as top-ranked Cherry Creek clashes with No. 2-seeded Columbine and to increase the drama, both teams are undefeated.

Creek survived a nail-biter a week ago, edging No. 5 Ralston Valley 21-14. The win was setup by a clutch run by senior Tyson Mauck in the fourth quarter, setting up the go-ahead 1-yard TD sneak by QB Brady Vodicka.

Senior RB Jordan Herron also was a key player in the Ralston win, rushing 19 times for 101 yards and one score.

Vodicka has thrown for 2,126 yards and 25 TDs this season and only three interceptions. Herron has 1,324 yards rushing and 17 TDs. Max Lovett is Vodicka’s favorite target. He has caught 46 passes for 748 yards and nine TDs.

Playing for a state football title is nothing new for the Bruins.

Creek is playing in its sixth 5A state championship game in a row and is trying to win its fifth title in a row and 14th overall.

Columbine comes into this game with a ground and pound attack. Last week the Rebels clubbed Chatfield 35-16 in the semifinals, thanks to the dynamic running back duo of seniors Josh Snyder (31 carries, 180 yards) and Mason Moreno (21 carries, 108 yards).

Snyder has 1,583 yards rushing this season and 23 TDs and Moreno comes in with 1,201 yards rushing and 15 scores. QB Reeve Holliday has added 781 yards passing with 11 TDs and just one interception.

The Rebels are no stranger to state championship history as this is their seventh 5A title game appearance under head coach Andy Lowry. Columbine has captured five state championships, but the last one was more than a decade ago in 2011.

The keys to this game are simple. Can Creek be Creek or will Columbine find a way to rush to the win. If Columbine gets predictable and can’t move the ball on the ground, the Bruins will be celebrating more state championship glory.

Class 4A

No. 1 Palmer Ridge (13-0) vs. No. 2 Erie (12-1), (Sat., 11 a.m., CSU’s Canvas Stadium)

Once again, like 5A, the bracket played out for the No. 1 team Palmer Ridge and No. 2 squad Erie.

Palmer Ridge is headed back to its first title game since 2020 and the Bears are seeking their first state crown since 2019. Palmer Ridge has three state football championships on its resume, all coming in 3A.

If the Bears want to claim a fourth title and their first in 4A, they need star senior QB Derek Hester to shine bright. That’s exactly what he did in Palmer Ridge’s convincing 38-14 semifinal win over defending 4A champion Broomfield last week. Hester scored four times, including three touchdowns on the ground in the second half when the Bears blew the game open as Palmer Ridge outscored Broomfield 24-7 in the final two quarters.

Hester has been the catalyst for Palmer Ridge all year long through the air and on the ground.

And Erie will counter with a star of its own in state record-setting QB Blake Barnett.

The Kansas State-bound Barnett is trying to lead the Tigers to their second state football title in school history. Their first came in 1997.

Barnett thrived in the moment last week, throwing two TD passes and running in a sneak late in the fourth quarter as the Tigers held on for the victory over Montrose (25-22) and their 12th win in a row.

The simple question in this game is can Palmer Ridge contain Barnett – something no team has done this year. If Barnett gets stuck in neutral, Palmer Ridge will reach the state football summit. However, if Palmer Ridge’s powerful offense gets rolling early the Bears could silence the Tigers’ roar and be doing some celebrating of their own.

Class 3A

No. 2 Holy Family (12-1) at No. 5 Lutheran (11-2), (Sat., 1 p.m., CSU-Pueblo’s ThunderBowl)

These two teams – Holy Family and Lutheran are plenty familiar with each other. Back on Oct. 6 Holy Family claimed a 35-28 victory over Lutheran. In that game, senior QB Rylan Cooney was in top form, completing 17-of-25 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns.

Cooney has been outstanding all season, throwing for 2,551 yards and 22 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He also has added 745 yards rushing and scored 23 more TDs.

Holy Family also had 174 yards rushing in that big win – 95 yards from Dominic Gabriel and 68 yards from Cooney and each had a touchdown. Gabriel has 1,325 yards rushing and 13 TDs this season.

Holy Family is taking aim at its third state football title in school history and first since 2005. Holy Family advanced to this game by muscling past Thompson Valley 21-7 last Saturday, thanks to two rushing TDs by Cooney.

If Cooney shines on Saturday at the ThunderBowl, a third state crown may just well be in the cards for Holy Family.

On the other side of this coin, Lutheran is coming off a stunning come-from-behind upset win over Green Mountain last weekend.

Lutheran was trailing by 14 points to a stout Green Mountain squad and regrouped to claim a stunning 27-21 win. The Lions return to the 3A title for the second-cosecutive year and will try and make school history this time.

Last year Lutheran lost a tough 34-24 decision to Roosevelt in its first title game appearance.

If Lutheran wants to make history, it is going to need another big game from QB Ryken Dauggaard. The senior completed 9-of-13 passes for 175 yards and two TDs in the Green Mountain upset. Senior running back Cole Johnson also fueled the win with 18 carries for 131 yards and two touchdowns.

Is another huge upset in Lutheran’s future this weekend? Who knows, but this is why they play the game.