Class 5A, first round
(13) Fairview at (4) Regis Jesuit
Kickoff: Friday, 7 p.m. at Lou Kellogg Stadium
Records: Fairview 8-2, Regis Jesuit 9-1
Quick hits: Regis Jesuit brings an eight game winning streak and a Mount Antero Conference championship into the contest...The Raiders only loss was at No. 2 seed Mullen on Sept. 9...Regis Jesuit likes to run the ball, racking up 2,247 yards and 36 touchdowns on the season...The Raiders have three backs with more than 500 yards rushing, led by senior Alfred Jones' 632...Regis Jesuit averages 36.8 points per game while only surrendering 14.4...Linebacker Will Kulick, a 6-3, 230 pound senior, leads the Raiders defense, averaging more than 10 tackles a game...Fairview finished third in the Mount Cameron Conference behind No. 2 Mullen and No. 9 Columbine, the Knights' only two losses on the season...
Bottom line: Two perennial powers square off in a very good first round matchup. Game probably won't be decided until late in the fourth quarter, and could come down to which team makes the fewest mistakes.
(11) Legacy at (6) Grandview
Kickoff: Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Stutler Bowl
Records: Legacy 8-2, Grandview 9-1
Quick hits: Grandview won the Mount Massive Conference and brings a seven game winning streak into the contest...The Wolves are explosive, averaging 41.2 points per game...Most of that comes from a dominating ground game, as Grandview has rushed for 2,874 yards on the year...Senior Hayden Blubaugh leads 5A in rushing with 1,607 yards and averages 9.2 yards per carry...The ground game allows the Wolves to control the clock and they're only surrendering 18.2 points per game...Legacy only has one instate loss this season, a 36-9 setback at Regis Jesuit on Oct. 7...The Lightning have reeled off four straight wins and finished second in Mount Antero...junior Alec Lewis has developed into one of the top quarterbacks in the state, and is third in 5A in passing with 2,307 yards.
Bottom line: This could be one of the best first-round matchups as it features two teams with contrasting styles. Ironically, Legacy, the passing team, doesn't want it to turn into a shootout. It could come down to which defense can make the most key stops.
Class 4A, first round
(12) Heritage at (5) Broomfield
Kickoff: Saturday, noon at Elizabeth Kennedy Stadium
Records: Heritage 6-4, Broomfield 8-2
Quick hits: Heritage finished third in the Plains League, dropping a 27-10 decision to conference champ Chatfield in the regular season finale...Heritage has a balanced attack, finishing with 1,477 yards passing and 1,605 yards on the ground...senior quarterback Chase Hansen averages 161.6 yards per game and threw nine touchdowns against only four interceptions...Tyler Zoesch leads the ground attack with 635 yards and nine TDs...Senior defensive end Chris Smith is a force in the trenches, registering six sacks...Broomfield hasn't missed a beat under veteran coach Blair Hubbard in his first year with the team, winning eight of their final nine games...Equally as effective on the ground as in the air, Broomfield finished with 2,071 yards rushing and 1,671 passing...sophomore Steven Croell has developed into a dangerous player, throwing 17 touchdown passes while only being picked off twice...Jalon Torres is averaging more than 131 yards a game on the ground...the defense has been stout, holding five opponents to 14 points or less this season.
Bottom line: On paper, the battle of the Eagles is pretty even, but Broomfield feels like a team that can make a run at the 4A championship.
(10) Fruita Monument at (7) Monarch
Kickoff: Saturday, 1 p.m. at Spangenberg Field
Records: Fruita Monument 6-4, Monarch 7-3
Quick hits: This is a battle of two teams that were in 5A last year, but dropped down to 4A this season...Fruita Monument qualified for the 5A playoffs last year, winning a first round game...The Wildcats enter the game on an uptick, having won four straight and scoring at least 41 in their past six...Fruita Monument features a pair of rushers that eclipsed the century mark in junior Braeden Graham (1,349) and senior Logan Triplett (1,165)...The Wildcats can light up the scoreboard, averaging 37.2 points per contest. But they also can be scored upon, giving up 26.9 a game...Monarch has enjoyed a great turnaround season back in 4A, winning the Northern League title...The Coyotes also have a strong two-headed rushing attack in seniors Zach Bastres (1,031) and Alex Bradfield (1,077)...Monarch has been very solid defensively, only surrendering 17.6 points per game while registering 15 sacks and eight interceptions.
Bottom line: This could be a quick one, as both teams like to keep the ball on the ground. Monarch appears to be stronger defensively, ,however, and that could be the difference.
Class 3A, first round
(13) Longmont at (4) Lewis-Palmer
Kickoff: Friday, 7 p.m. at Don Breese Stadium
Records: Longmont 6-4, Lewis-Palmer 9-1
Quick hits: Longmont comes into the game reeling a bit, having dropped its final two regular season games while being outscored 31-3...All four of the Trojans losses this season, however, have came at the hands of playoff teams...Longmont uses a familiar formula of a strong rushing attack and a stingy defense...The Trojans have four players with at least 450 rushing yards and have 2,692 yards on the year...The defense has been good, lead by junior Avery Peterson (104 tackles) and a front that has 16 sacks...The Rangers finished second in the Southern League behind top seed Discovery Canyon, which handed Lewis-Palmer its only loss...The Rangers are explosive, averaging 41.3 points per game...They do it mostly on the ground, racking 2,539 yards rushing...junior Dieudonne Chea leads the way with 1,103 yards and 15 touchdowns...Lewis-Palmer opened the year by beating Mead 50-35, a team that beat Longmont 49-35 three weeks later.
Bottom line: Lewis-Palmer is definitely the favorite, but Longmont remains a dangerous team. The Trojans have played in a ton of big games over the past few years and, if they can get their offense going, an upset isn't out of the question.
(12) Durango at (5) Silver Creek
Kickoff: Saturday, 11 a.m. at Everly Montgomery Field
Records: Durango 7-3, Silver Creek 10-0
Quick hits: Durango comes in on a hot streak, having won four straight while outscoring it's opponents 154-27...The Demons are balanced on offense, finishing with 1,439 yards passing and 1,517 yards rushing...Junior Gavin Mestas had a big game in the finale, scoring on an 85-yard kick return, an 87-yard touchdown reception and adding an interception in a 31-7 win over Harrison...Despite going undefeated and winning the Northern League, Silver Creek was only seeded fifth in the postseason...Dylan Ordway has been strong under center for the Raptors, throwing for 1,968 yards and 23 touchdowns...junior Andreik Knechtel leads the ground attack with 1,043 yards...Khari Harrison and George Ramirez are dangerous players that can score from anywhere with 26 toucdowns between them...Seniors Karl Olson and Tyler Gibbs each have 9.5 sacks on the season.
Bottom line: Silver Creek is a balanced team that is strong offensively and defensively. The Raptors are built for a deep run in the playoffs, and this should be the first step.
(11) Mead at (6) Palmer Ridge
Kickoff: Saturday, 1 p.m. at Don Breese Stadium
Records: Mead 7-3, Palmer Ridge 8-2
Quick hits: Mead is in the playoffs for the second consecutive season, finishing second in the Tri-Valley League...The Mavericks are still looking for their first postseason win in the program's history...Nathan Mackey leads the ground attack, averaging 164.1 yards a game...Quarterback Riley Glynn is a steady presence under center, throwing for 1,157 yards and 15 TDs against just one interception...Palmer Ridge likes to throw the ball, with sophomore quarterback Ty Evans averaging more than 277 yards per game...He likes to spread the ball around, with six receivers having 13 catches or more...The Bears bring a six game winning streak into the contest...They have an explosive offense, topping the 40-point mark in six games, including a 63-32 win over Vista PEAK in the regular season finale.
Bottom line: Mead has established themselves as a formidable team in the regular season. Now the Mavericks need to find some postseason success. A win over the Bears would be a good start.
(10) Rifle at (7) Holy Family
Kickoff: Saturday, 1 p.m. at Mike G. Gabriel Stadium.
Records: Rifle 8-2, Holy Family 8-2
Quick hits: Rifle finished second in the Western Slope Conference behind No. 3 Palisade...Before that, the team had won at least a share of the WS crown in each of the previous four seasons...The Bears are primarily a rushing team, averaging 328 yards a game on the ground...They have a pair of 1,000 yard rushers in seniors Blaine Vance (1,292) and Drake Montgomery (1,017)...Montgomery suffered an ankle injury and missed most of Rifle's regular season finale, a 49-14 loss to Palisade...Holy Family went undefeated in the Tri-Valley League to claim the crown...The Tigers are one of the most explosive teams in Colorado, averaging 43.8 points a game...Senior Michael Zeman leads the state in rushing with 2,001 yards and 19 touchdowns...Sophomore quarterback Stone Samaras is sixth in passing with 2,482 yards and 29 TDs...Senior Joe Golter is third in receiving with 1,033 yards and 20 TDs.
Bottom line: Holy Family hasn't gotten past the first round of the playoffs the past five seasons. Although Rifle is a quality foe, the Tigers should be able to end that streak on Saturday.
(15) Erie at (2) Pueblo East
Kickoff: Friday, 7 p.m. at Dutch Clark Stadium
Records: Erie 6-4, Pueblo East 9-1
Quick hits: Erie is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2012...The Tigers finished 16th in RPI, securing their spot with a 28-0 win over Frederick in the regular season finale...The win over the Warriors snapped a three-game skid for Erie...Noah Roper rushed for 187 yards in the game and finished the season with 1,186...Quarterback Ruben Portillo has been solid under center, throwing for 1,418 yards and 16 scores against only five interceptions...Pueblo East is the two-time defending 3A state champs and considered one of the top contenders to win the title again this year...The Eagles won the South Central League and are on a seven game win streak...Pueblo East's only loss was to No. 1 seed Discovery Canyon...Bryson Torres has rushed for 1,170 yards this season...Luc Andrada has thrown for 1,512...The Eagles are only surrendering 14 points per contest.
Bottom line: Erie worked hard to get to the playoffs and were ecstatic when they were included in the postseason field. The Tigers have nothing to lose in their game with Pueblo East, but it would be a monumental upset.
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