There are four divisions in this report but only three new teams are included in our playoff projections for Classes 2A, 1A, 8man and 6man this week. Top tier clubs continue to post wins and solidify a hold on their spots in our post-season brackets. PHOTO BY MATT HALL
Eight teams qualify in each division this year and those clubs are selected based on a formula that combines polls from CHSAA, MaxPreps, Packard and RPI. RPI standings have been released this week with the coaches poll due out Monday and MaxPreps on Tuesday. Packard could be delayed until Thursday as the week two slate will not be completed until Wednesday. That’s when Holly and Crowley County play their scheduled week three game. Another delayed week two game is Tuesday between Brush and Berthoud in 2A. It was slated for Monday but pushed back a day due to many school cancellations.
Please note that the projected teams in each division are listed in alphabetical order. As we move closer to the actual playoffs, we will begin the discussion of seeding the teams overall.
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This division has probably been the most consistent in our playoff projections as our list has been unchanged since the pre-season. Two teams on the list last week suffered losses last week but both came against fellow teams in our projected bracket. Platte Valley fell short to Sterling (31-21) and Woodland Park was beaten by Delta (27-2). Despite the loss, Platte Valley remains third in RPI points this week and they will continue to get strong support from coaches and the other two polling units. Woodland Park is 8th in RPI so they are more on the bubble with their first loss since Platte Valley.
Delta and Sterling may have locked down top four seeds in the playoff bracket with their quality wins. Based on their remaining schedule, both the Panthers and Tigers have an excellent chance at finishing regular season play at 6-0. They are the returning state finalists from 2019.
Another top four seed could be on the line this week as Pagosa Springs hosts Lamar on Saturday. Both clubs are 3-0 and they sit 5th and 6th in RPI points this week. They should also be in the top six of every other poll so that would put them in the playoffs easily. The winner though joins Delta and Sterling as likely unbeaten clubs which should get them a home game in round one.
Resurrection Christian is probably the favorite to land the fourth home game in the state quarterfinals. The Cougars will get a much needed boost in RPI as they meet University this week. The Bulldogs are 2-1 but they will enter the game #4 in RPI. Resurrection Christian was 12th in those standings last week but bumped to #9 with a 32-0 win over Englewood.
University is one of the teams just on the outside of the top eight so their game with Resurrection Christian is very important to their post-season chances. They bounced back from the loss to Delta by beating a ranked Severance club last week. Their game with Rez is their second game in three weeks against an opponent ranked number one in 2A.
Other teams to keep an eye on are Brush and Valley. Brush is #7 in RPI but won’t play their third game of the season until Monday night against Berthoud. The Spartans can also get in the playoff discussion by beating the Beetdiggers. Valley is 2-1 and can make some big noise when they face Sterling this week.
- Pagosa Springs
- Platte Valley
- Resurrection Christian
- Woodland Park
One change in our playoff bracket happens this week and it occurs due to the Hotchkiss win over Meeker on Saturday. The 14-8 decision gives the Bulldogs the inside track to the Western Slope title and an unbeaten regular season. That will be enough to get them in the bracket. Meeker, despite the loss, stays in our bracket as they should finish the regular season at 5-1. They’re #5 in RPI and will continue to get solid support from the coaches, MaxPreps and Packard through the rest of the season.
Losing their spot in our bracket is Colorado Springs Christian. The Lions were expected to get a win at Rye but that game was cancelled early Friday. CSCS then scheduled Limon and had to play the two-time defending state champions on short notice. The end result was a 35 point loss and coupled with the Hotchkiss win, the Lions lost their place in our projected bracket. CSCS now may have to beat Florence in week five to climb back into contention. In favor of CSCS in the discussion vs Meeker is strength of schedule. The Lions by seasons end will have played Limon, Florence and Peyton and all are in the top 10 of RPI this week. Meeker currently has two such opponents in Hotchkiss and Gunnison.
Centauri is a solid choice for our playoff bracket but the Falcons are just #14 in RPI this week. That number will get a boost when they meet Ignacio this week. The Falcons will be heavily favored but the Bobcats are 2-0 and actually sit ahead of Centauri in RPI (#13). Centauri has outscored their first three opponents 199-7.
Maybe the most important game this week is the North Central conference where Wray and Holyoke collide on Saturday. The winner becomes the top challenger to Limon in the league race and probably clinches a playoff berth as a top two finisher in that league. The teams are a combined 5-0.
Teams outside our rankings but still in contention are Highland and Peyton. The Huskies are 1-2 but have played a tremendous schedule. They’re #12 in RPI. Peyton is coming off a tough loss to Florence and may need to run the table now to get in. They’re #9 in RPI.
- Hotchkiss (new)
At the midway point of the season, we’re guessing there are 11 teams battling for the eight available playoff berths. Several games set for this week could help narrow the field a bit more but in only one case could the loser drop out the playoff chase. That contest is Merino vs Haxtun on Friday. The winner should end up no worse than second behind five-time state champion Sedgwick County in the Plains race. But if Haxtun comes up short, they would fall to 1-3 and out of the playoff race. They were bumped out of our projected bracket by Merino this week. Both the Rams and Bulldogs have recent wins over Dayspring Christian but since the Rams won by a larger margin, they get the nod in our pairings this week. Fortunately for us, they will settle the matter on the field this week.
Game two is actually a continuation of week three as Crowley County meets Holly on Wednesday. The game was delayed from last Friday as the extra time allowed Holly to finish off quarantine. The winner steps forward as the top challenger to Fowler in the Southeast. The teams are a combined 3-0 so both teams stay in playoff contention win or lose. UPDATE: The Crowley County-Holly game has been pushed back to next Monday November 2nd. Holly will now face Wiley as originally scheduled on Thursday.
Game three pits Dove Creek against Sanford. The two rivals are a combined 6-0 but neither can clinch the top spot in the Southwest as both have a game remaining with Mancos; a third conference unbeaten. The league overall is very good so two clubs should get into the playoff bracket and there’s a chance all three get in. Dove Creek is #5 in RPI this week with Mancos #7 and Sanford #12.
Rangely and Pikes Peak Christian scored defensive wins over the weekend that could push them into the playoff bracket. The Panthers held off West Grand 14-12 and Pikes Peak Christian rallied past Simla 12-6. Rangely still has a tough game with Gilpin County remaining but the Eagles are in good position to finish 6-0.
One more game that won’t draw much attention but is very important finds Calhan against Simla. Both teams have lost to Pikes Peak Christian in the past two weeks so the winner should end up second behind the Eagles. But they enter the week ranked #2 and #3 in RPI respectively so they remain in contention.
- Dove Creek
- Merino (new)
- Pikes Peak Christian
- Sedgwick County
Seven of the eight picks for our projected playoff bracket this week were relatively easy but the final choice was a tough one. It came down to four teams in Kit Carson, North Park, Briggsdale and Hi Plains. All four teams are involved in important matchups in week four so their playoff status will be strengthened or weakened with outcomes.
Kit Carson held down the spot in our bracket last week but the Wildcats lost in a lopsided result with Cheyenne Wells on Saturday. Despite that decision, the Wildcats remain #6 in RPI standings and have a chance to climb back into the pairings as they face Eads this week. Hi Plains is also looking for a bounce back. They did not play week due to COVID and will now wait until next Monday (November 2nd) to play again when they line up against Stratton/Liberty.
North Park and Briggsdale are part of the rugged Northern conference and that league could also get two or three bids this year. North Park has a big loss to Fleming on their resume but can regain some of that lost ground by beating Prairie this weekend. The Mustangs fell to Fleming last Friday.
Briggsdale is actually our choice to take over the eighth position in our bracket this week. The Falcons will be favored against Idalia and became our pick this week based on their strong effort with Prairie earlier this season (lost 35-32). They also have control of their own playoff future with games remaining against Fleming and North Park following the matchup with Prairie.
In the end, we go with Briggsdale based on their tremendous effort in a 35-32 loss to Prairie earlier this season. The Falcons really control their own playoff future as they have games remaining with Fleming and North Park following a date with Idalia this week.
A couple of other contests with playoff impact include Granada vs Cheraw and Genoa Hugo vs Cheyenne Wells. Granada and Cheraw are both 3-0 and we believe both clubs will still get in regardless of that outcome. Genoa Hugo is a likely conference champion but may not get a spot in the playoffs unless they can upset the Tigers this week.
- Briggsdale (new)
- Cheyenne Wells