As we make new playoff projections this week, there are still quite a few question marks in six and eight man football but the post-season field seems very clear in both Classes 1A and 2A.
Playoff clubs this year are selected based on a formula that combines RPI with polls from CHSAA, MaxPreps and Packard. League champions are NOT guaranteed a berth this year and only eight teams are selected in each class.
Below are the projections from Colorado Preps in each class. And all teams are listed in alphabetical order.
Quite a few changes in this division as three teams in our projected playoff bracket from last week came up short over the weekend. Cotopaxi lost to Cheraw, Eads fell to Stratton/Liberty and North Park was taken out by Fleming. Of those three clubs, only Eads is able to remain on the projected playoff list this week.
Cheyenne Wells moves into our projected pairings this week as the Tigers scored an impressive win over Hi Plains. C-W is one of three teams in the rugged East division sitting at 2-0; joining Stratton/Liberty and Kit Carson.
We also place Kit Carson in our projected bracket this week to replace league rival Eads. The Wildcats toppled Kiowa last week and face a key battle with Cheyenne Wells this week. Eads is also on the schedule later in the season.
Cheraw blanked Cotopaxi 46-0 and the Wolverines will ride that win into our pairings this week as they replace the Pirates there.
Idalia is the odd team out this week. The Wolves scored a win over Arickaree/Woodlin but power teams from the East and North could receive more attention from the coaches and MaxPreps polls throughout the season and that may hurt the Wolves playoff chances even if they land the best record in the conference. In fact, we could see the Southwest, Central and Northeast divisions end up without a playoff team this year.
Prairie is also kept the bracket ahead of their game with Briggsdale on Monday. Both teams are unbeaten going into that game but the Mustangs are the favorite based on club results from earlier this fall.
Our eight playoff teams as projected following week two.
- Cheyenne Wells
- Kit Carson
A deep division this year makes it difficult to pick just eight for the projected playoffs. Maybe the biggest question right now is if the Plains conference will get more than two bids. Sedgwick County, the five time defending state champions, is basically a lock to get in unless injuries take out many of their key players. Dayspring Christian was a strong contender but they were upset on the road by Haxtun (38-36) last Friday so now the spots behind Sedgwick County are up in the air.
Haxtun suffered a week one loss to Holly but their win over Dayspring Christian gets them into our top eight this week. Dayspring Christian faces Merino this week and that game is now very important to the Eagles playoff chances. A second straight loss likely means they finish no better than fourth in the conference and this year that might put them on the playoff bubble. They will however gain major attention for the various polls used to pick teams this year.
So for right now, we have Dayspring on the outside as we have just two teams from the Plains in the bracket; Sedgwick County & Haxtun.
Holly did not play last week as their game at Springfield was cancelled at the last minute. But since the Wildcats have a win over Haxtun, we also keep them in the projected bracket. If Holly can play this week, they face an important game with Crowley County as that winner steps up as the main challenger to Fowler in the Ark Valley. The Chargers (2-0) become a solid playoff threat if they get the win over Holly.
Dove Creek registered a key win at Sargent last Friday. They’re set up to battle Sanford and Mancos in a rugged Southern Peaks this year. Right now, we have the Bulldogs in ahead of Mancos but the Bluejays are also off to a 2-0 start.
Rangely remains in our playoff picks. The Panthers (2-0) have a key game with West Grand on Saturday. That winner could end up as the lone playoff selection from the Northwest. West Grand has not played thus far but is scheduled for two games over a five day span. They meet Hayden on Tuesday before facing Rangely on Saturday.
Another key game this week pits Pikes Peak Christian against Simla. Both teams recorded important wins over tough opponents over the weekend as PPC stuffed Calhan and Simla edged Swink. Those results likely mean this week’s winner is the top team in the conference.
Below are the eight picks for playoff spots entering week three.
- Dove Creek
- Pikes Peak Christian
- Sedgwick County
The division is becoming top heavy as in our mind, only 10 teams have a legitimate shot at grabbing one of the eight available playoff berths. Our eight teams remain the same as last week but we need to find room somehow for Hotchkiss and Peyton. Space in the top eight could be found after this week as both clubs have a chance to make major moves up the playoff ladder this week.
Hotchkiss challenges Meeker and the winner should be the playoff pick from the Western Slope. Right now, we have just one team from the league in the bracket but of course that could change by seasons end. But the winner from this Friday will feel much better about their chances.
Peyton has a huge game with Florence. The Huskies are our pick to finish atop the Tri Peaks division but the Panthers are 2-0 and have yet to give up a point. Should be a great battle and again the winner will have a much better road to the post-season bracket.
In addition to Peyton and Hotchkiss, Banning Lewis and Cedaredge are also 2-0 but we’re not ready to put them into the mix just yet. Banning Lewis has a major step up in schedule this week as the first-year program faces Strasburg. The Indians are coming off four straight appearances in the state finals with two titles. Cedaredge must still face Hotchkiss and Meeker and probably needs to beat at least one to become a playoff candidate.
Holyoke and Colorado Springs Christian remain in our projected pairings despite not playing last week. Both had their week two games cancelled but CSCS earned a forfeit win over Trinidad as their cancellation was not due to covid, but the lack of eligible players. Holyoke earned a no-contest over Burlington when the Cougars entered a two week quarantine.
Wray could be in that situation this week. The Eagles are slated to play Jefferson on Friday but the Saints did not play against Bennett last week due to COVID issues. As a result, Wray could be searching for an opponent. Brush (2A) could be an option as the Beetdiggers are slated to face Berthoud. The Spartans though missed last week due to a positive test on a student not on the football team so we’re not sure if they will play this week.
Our updated projections following week two are listed below. They are the same as last week.
- Colorado Springs Christian
Our group of projected playoff teams in the classification is the same for a third straight week. And as it stands right now, we’re not sure if the list will change at all the rest of the way. Seven of the eight clubs were winners in week two and the eighth (Eaton) lost to another team on the list (Sterling) by just four points. Plus there doesn’t seem to be other teams wanting to make a serious push into the top eight.
Severance is 2-0 but the Silver Knights are in their first year of varsity football. Wins are against Arvada and Alameda and they will get a much stronger test against University this week. Plus they close with Eaton and Resurrection Christian so the schedule gets much more difficult over the final month.
University is 1-1 and played a strong second half at Delta in a 31-21 loss last Friday. Valley and La Junta are also 1-1 and remain in playoff contention. Valley scored a nice win over D’Evelyn on Saturday but La Junta was thumped by 3A PUeblo County. Bayfield and Alamosa were considered playoff contenders in the pre-season but each has opened 0-2.
Two key games are set for this week as Delta meets Woodland Park and Sterling tangles with Platte Valley. The Delta-WP winner likely is the top team in the Western Slope but again we feel both clubs are in the bracket right now. Sterling probably wraps up the best record in the Patriot East by beating Platte Valley since they edged Eaton last week.
Lamar could also get challenged by La Junta in the annual rivalry Whistle Game but the Savages will be favored. A win by Lamar sets up a huge week four clash with Pagosa Springs.
Our selections ahead of week three:
- Pagosa Springs
- Platte Valley
- Resurrection Christian
- Woodland Park