OK, so I get that Erie, Holy Family, Longmont, Mead and Silver Creek were all Class 3A playoff football teams last season and that they're all undefeated very early on in 2017.
But when the first in-season CHSAANow.com rankings for 3A came out on Tuesday, I saw something that I haven't seen in the seven years I've been covering prep sports in the BoCoPreps.com area. It was this:
2. Holy Family
4. Silver Creek
These teams all figured to be good but the top four and five of the top 10 teams in all of 3A coming from the same area is ridiculous. I couldn't figure out how to explain it, so I called Mead head coach Jason Klatt to see if maybe he could.
"I don't think I've seen that in all my years of coaching," Klatt said. "Some years you have good kids and some years you don't. That's just what happens in public education. But all these local teams being this good at the same time is crazy. I think it speaks volumes about the quality of coaching and the quality of the leadership in the St. Vrain and other school districts in our area. There's just quality people here and that has a lot to do with it. And when you have good teams around, it encourages other teams to get better and challenge them."
That's a better explanation that my original Marvel-inspired theory that there was something in the Longmont-area water 17 years ago and that produced a generation of football super babies that have now grown into juniors and seniors in high school. Now, that would be truly crazy. I also called Ryan Casey, director of digital media for the Colorado High School Activities Association, who doesn't think the CHSAANow.com rankings suffer from any sample bias cause by a disproportionate number of voters being located in that area.
Realistically, this many ranked teams being so close to one another geographically can probably only be explained by the convergence of a number of factors, including Klatt's opinion of the area's school districts' attractiveness and local population growth, as well as the low number of games that have been played and other coincidental things. Several of these schools are also either near the enrollment cutoff for 4A or private.
But it still amazes me that Erie, Longmont, Mead and Silver Creek sharing a school district that has open enrollment hasn't at least diluted the talent pool more significantly. Longmont High School has long stood as the standard of excellence in the city, but I thought Silver Creek and Mead opening up within eight miles of its doors would have had more of an effect.
Again, it is also early in the season. Very early. And these rankings could change significantly over the coming weeks and months. But so far, these teams appear to be the real deal.
Silver Creek and Mead were a few plays away from facing one another in the state championship game last season and both won their season openers in 2017. Longmont opened the season with a 31-6 win over three-time defending state champion Pueblo East. Holy Family came from behind to beat Mountain View in zero week and beat then-No. 8 Palisade by 36 points last Friday. Erie handled a solid Vista PEAK club in its opener.
I guess finding a way to explain the current rankings phenomena isn't really all that relevant right now. But what is important to note is that this football season will feature some very exciting local matchups.
Mark these dates:
Sept. 22 — Mead at Longmont
Sept. 27 — Holy Family at Longmont
Sept. 29 — Silver Creek at Erie
Oct. 12 — Holy Family at Erie
Oct. 20 — Holy Family at Mead
Oct. 27 — Silver Creek at Longmont and Mead at Erie
According to the current rankings at least, that's a whole bunch of marquis football games to look forward to.