The second half of the 2020 regular season has arrived and as we get closer to the end of the regular season, the matchups get that more important. Several of the contests on our Top Games list for week 4 could determine league championships and/or playoff bids.
The importance of each contest is presented below but we’ll look at all the contests more in-depth during our weekly previews available over the next three days. We also ask you again consider becoming a subscriber to Colorado Preps so we can provide even more coverage to more sports down the road. To sign up, simply click on the subscription menu button and then select options.
Castle View (2-0) at Valor Christian (3-0)
Legacy (3-0) at Fairview (3-0)
Mullen (1-2) at Columbine (3-0)
Eaglecrest (3-0) at Arapahoe (2-1)
Smoky Hill (1-2) at Grandview (1-2)
NOTES: Big one for Castle View as they greatly improve their playoff chances with an upset of Valor Christian. Legacy and Fairview are likely battling for the top spot in the Front Range conference and it’s likely only the winner gets a good shot at the post-season. As we’ve said the past couple of weeks, the Jeffco and Centennial will likely dominate the coaches polls making it difficult for clubs outside those two leagues to get into the bracket. The winner could battle Legend for the final berth as the Titans scored a very important win over Regis last week. Mullen could be a trap opponent for Columbine. The Rebels close with Ralston Valley and Pomona but can’t look past an improving Mullen club that collected their first win last week. Arapahoe must find a way to slow down Eaglecrest for a chance at upsetting the Raptors. Eaglecrest has scored 160 points in three games this year. Both Smoky Hill and Grandview are on the playoff bubble right now so it’s an elimination game for sure. The winner stays in line for a third place finish in the Centennial and that could be good enough to sneak in.
Montrose (3-0) at Palmer Ridge (3-0)
Fountain Fort Carson (3-0) at Pueblo West (3-0)
Erie (2-1) at Brighton (2-1)
NOTES: It’s a very short list in Class 4A this week but the games listed are among the most anticipated statewide. The winner between Montrose-Palmer Ridge must still contend with Ponderosa for the top position in that conference. The winner also moves a step closer to nailing down a home game in the state quarterfinals. Both could be ranked in the top five by gametime. Fountain Fort Carson and Pueblo West are in the same boat down south. The winner takes control of the league race and gets in position to play at home in round one of the playoffs. Both Erie and Brighton are easily into the playoffs if we had a 16-team bracket this year but each needs a win this week to stay in contention this year. Just don’t see a two-loss club making the bracket in Class 4A this year. Erie is coming off a difficult double overtime loss to Windsor last week while Brighton has won two straight since a narrow opening loss to Broomfield.
Canon City (2-0) at Pueblo Central (1-2)
Green Mountain (3-0) at Palisade (2-1)
Pueblo County (2-1) at Lutheran (3-0)
Pueblo East (2-1) at Pueblo South (1-0)
NOTES: We’re not sure the first game on our list will be played as Canon City missed last week’s game with Niwot due to COVID related issues. If played, the contest will likely be moved from the scheduled Thursday night kickoff. A win keeps the Tigers in the middle of the playoff discussion. Even though Palisade received a nice RPI boost against Lutheran, the loss may have put the Bulldogs in a must-win situation the rest of the way. Like most every division, it will be difficult to crack into the bracket with two losses. Their game with Green Mountain may also decide the top team in the realigned Western division. With their win, Lutheran continues their great run in Class 3A as they’ve beaten two top 10 opponents in lopsided fashion the last two weeks. The Lions cannot afford to look past Pueblo County to next week’s showdown with Holy Family. The Hornets are coming off their first loss as they fell to #2 Durango last week. Pueblo East-Pueblo South is a great rivalry and it again carries playoff implications. East has a loss to Canon City on their resume and a second loss could knock them out of the playoff race. South was very impressive in their season opening win over Pueblo Centennial last week. It was their first action since missing the first two weeks of the season with positive tests.
Berthoud (1-0) at Severance (2-1)
Eaton (2-1) at Brush (1-1)
Lamar (3-0) at Pagosa Springs (3-0)
University (2-1) at Resurrection Christian (3-0)
NOTES: There is one more game left in week three as Brush and Berthoud are set to face off on Monday and that game will impact the importance of their week four contest. Both teams are on the playoff bubble right now and each could use a win on Monday to improve their post-season chances. Since they’re unbeaten, Berthoud can afford a Monday loss more than Brush but the Spartans still have Resurrection Christian and University left on their schedule. Even with a win over Berthoud, Brush still has a hill to climb to make the eight team bracket. They have Eaton this week and Platte Valley next week. University is coming off a solid win over Severance and that win sets up a showdown with Resurrection Christian. For the Bulldogs, a win puts them in position to land the top spot in the conference and a playoff berth. The Cougars need a talented opponent to boost their RPI as they were just 12th in Class 2A through two weeks. They’re ranked #1 by the coaches. Lamar and Pagosa Springs is a huge game. The winner probably ends up unbeaten and atop the Southwest division. The winner also likely nabs a top four seed and a home game in round one.
Bennett (2-1) at Strasburg (3-0)
Cedaredge (2-1) at Meeker (2-1)
Bayfield (0-3) at Florence (3-0)
Holyoke (2-0) at Wray (3-0)
NOTES: The most important game on the schedule is the last one as Holyoke and Wray battle to stay unbeaten and within range of top ranked Limon in the North Central. Guessing the winner will finish no worse than second in the conference and that should be good enough to find a spot in the bracket. Both teams will remain in contention regardless of the outcome. Bennett is probably in a must win situation to remain in the post-season talk. Their loss to Wiggins in week one put them in a tough spot because other than Strasburg this week, the schedule does not help them much in the RPI numbers. Strasburg has some of the same issues with RPI but a win over Bennett should lock up a berth. Cedaredge and Meeker are both coming off losses; the Bruins lost to Gunnison and the Cowboys came up short on the road to Hotchkiss. Only the winner stays in the playoff chase. Florence has picked up a game with 2A Bayfield to replace Rye on the schedule. The Thunderbolts had to pull out of last week’s game with CS Christian and now they cannot play Florence due to COVID concerns. It’s a good pickup for Florence. The Wolverines are 0-3 but have lost Delta, Lamar and Pagosa Springs; all of which are ranked in the top six in Class 2A.
Dove Creek (3-0) at Sanford (3-0)
Simla (2-1) at Calhan (2-1)
Merino (3-0) at Haxtun (1-2)
West Grand (1-1) at Gilpin County (2-1)
NOTES: Huge game in the Southwest as unbeaten Dove Creek and Sanford get together. Neither team can clinch the top spot in the conference race as both still have another unbeaten (Mancos) left on the schedule. All three teams are serious playoff contenders and results of games between them will determine their fate. Simla and Calhan have identical records and both have tough losses to Pikes Peak Christian as their only blemish. Simla lost 12-6 last week and Calhan 40-28 the week before. As a result, the teams square off in a likely elimination game. Despite the disparity in records, the outcome between Merino and Haxtun should determine a top two finish in the Plains conference. Both have a win over Dayspring Christian in the past two weeks. Haxtun has already played Sedgwick County so a win puts them in good shape for second. The Rams, with a win, set up a huge showdown with Sedgwick County next week.
Stratton/Liberty (3-0) at Hi Plains (1-1)
Cheraw (3-0) at Granada (3-0)
Eads (2-1) at Kit Carson (2-1)
Cheyenne Wells (3-0) at Genoa Hugo (2-1)
Prairie (2-1) at North Park (2-1)
NOTES: It’s a big week in the division with five games very important to the playoff chase. Stratton/Liberty-Hi Plains has been moved to Monday November 2nd due to COVID issues at Hi Plains. They were forced to cancel their game last week but are slated for a return early next week. Regardless of outcome, both teams likely remain in the playoff chase due to the strength of the East conference where all five teams ranked. Eads and Kit Carson are also members of that league so while the winner improves their post-season chances, the loser is not eliminated. Genoa Hugo has a chance to make their case for a playoff berth as they challenge a Cheyenne Wells club coming off a huge win over Kit Carson. Prairie and North Park both have league losses to top ranked Fleming but they remain in the race with Briggsdale for second place. The winner though remains in better shape for the post-season bracket. Cheraw-Granada battle for Southern supremacy and a better post-season seed. Both remain solid playoff contenders regardless of how the game ends up. The winner should finish the regular season at 6-0 and the loser 5-1 which would be good enough to break into the pairings.