As nice as it would have been for the Boulder football team to have claimed a Class 5A Flatirons League title this past Friday night, the Panthers were secure in knowing they had all but clinched a playoff spot two weeks ago.
That was realized on Sunday afternoon when the CHSAA released playoff brackets for five of the seven classifications including the big-school field of 32 teams.
For their first winning season since 2003, the Panthers were matched up with former Front Range League foe Legacy in the first round. The Lightning were awarded a No. 3 seed in Region A with their second-place finish in the FRL, and will host the Panthers on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Sixth-seeded Boulder (5-4) is 5-2 since dropping its first two games of the season, and the Panthers have become better-balanced offensively behind sophomore quarterback Max Bajza. TJ Jones, however, still leads the state with 27 rushing touchdowns.
Legacy is just a little bit hotter at 7-2 overall and riding a five-game win streak. The Lightning just beat Fairview on the road to close out the regular season, and they'll be looking for a first-round playoff win for the first time since 2009.
Fairview quarterback Thomas Creese has helped the Knights to a No. 4 regional seed and a first round home playoff game, throwing for nearly 3,000 yards and 22 touchdowns in his first year as a starter. He'll get a chance to add to those totals as the Knights host Chaparral to open their postseason at Recht Field (date and time to be determined).
Class 5A state football playoffs
in bracket order
(8) Overland at (1) Columbine
(5) Cherokee Trail at (4) Heritage
(7) Rangeview at (2) Regis Jesuit
(6) Boulder at (3) Legacy
(8) Prairie View at (1) Grandview
(5) Denver East at (4) Mountain Vista
(7) Poudre at (2) Pomona
(6) Doherty at (3) Horizon
(8) Legend at (1) Valor Christian
(5) Chaparral at (4) Fairview
(7) Bear Creek at (2) Arapahoe
(6) Fossil Ridge at (3) Ralston Valley
(8) Rock Canyon at (1) Cherry Creek
(5) Rocky Mountain at (4) Mullen
(7) Fruita Monument at (2) Westminster
(6) ThunderRidge at (3) Fountain-Fort Carson