FRONT RANGE LEAGUE OUTLOOK

Fairview and Legacy reunite as league foes for the first time since 2015, and the league in general is a carbon copy of three years ago with Fossil Ridge, Horizon, Rocky Mountain and Poudre all involved. While Legacy has been solid in the past five years, Fairview's consistency certainly has to be considered when talking of a season-opening frontrunner, with the Lightning's toughness never to be underestimated.

 

FAIRVIEW KNIGHTS

COACH: Tom McCartney (26th year, 170-105)

LAST YEAR: 10-2 overall; 4-1 Class 5A Mt. Cameron League

RETURNING STARTERS: Aidan Atkinson (Jr., QB, 6-4, 195); Tyler Banks (Sr., NG/OL, 5-8, 230); Henry Blackburn (Jr., DB/WR, 6-0, 165); Bryce DesJardins (Sr., WR/DB, 6-0, 170); Zach Ellis (Sr., OT/DE, 6-5, 220); Jacob Fenton (Sr., LB/RB, 5-11, 205); Matt Greenwald (Sr., WR/DB, 6-2, 180); Ashton Nichols (Sr., SS/WR, 6-3, 192); Brayden Wood (So., DL/TE, 6-3, 231).

OTHERS TO WATCH: Brad Bolles (Jr., LB/OL, 6-0, 200); Zach Harpool (Sr., OL/DT, 6-0, 250); Devynn Holly (Jr., DB/RB, 5-11, 155); Django Kolb (Sr. DL/RB, 5-11, 190); James Masciarelli (Sr., DE/OT, 6-4, 221); Brian Moreno (Sr., DL/RB, 5-7, 190); Adam Moser (So., ATH, 5-11, 165); Stephen O'Hara (Jr., LB/RB, 6-0, 208); Shea Yurkunas (Jr., K, 6-5, 225).


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COLLEGE PROSPECTS: Atkinson, Colvin, Wood, Greenwald, DesJardins, Ellis, Nichols.

MUST-SEE GAMES: Aug. 24 vs. Boulder and Sept. 27 vs. Legacy.

STRENGTHS: Collectively, the receiving corps of Greenwald, DesJardins, Nichols and Blackburn, along with Wood at tight end, is perhaps Fairview's best ever. That's saying a lot.

WEAKNESSES: There are several two-way players, and several specialists that will play either offense or defense, but beyond the starters McCartney said there's a lot of "bringing up to speed" going on.

OUTLOOK: The Knights are once again looking to their skill guys as a plus, viewing their lines as sturdy and their health as ultimately the difference between a good season and a great one. Unfortunately, the team took a big hit early as junior tight end/linebacker Landon Colvin suffered a broken leg on the first day of live practices that will force him out of action for the year. Still, the Knights have the potential to run the table in the reshuffled Front Range League with Atkinson, a future Division I candidate at quarterback, threading needles. Fenton will get the chance to tote the rock full-time, and his presence as an experienced linebacker now has added meaning with Colvin out.

 

* indicates league contest

Aug. 24 at Boulder 5:30 p.m.

Aug. 30 vs. Evans (Fla.) 7 p.m.

Sept. 6 at ThunderRidge 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 Doherty 7 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Rock Canyon 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 Legacy* 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Horizon* 7 p.m.

Oct. 12 Fossil Ridge* 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 at Poudre* 6 p.m.

Oct. 26 Rocky Mountain* 7 p.m.

Home games at Recht Field

LEGACY LIGHTNING

COACH: Corey Heinz (First year, 0-0)

LAST YEAR: 6-4 overall, 3-2 5A Mt. Antero League

Legacy receiver Jacob Duran.
Legacy receiver Jacob Duran. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

RETURNING STARTERS: Lee Biersner (Sr., OL, 5-10, 275); Aron Baugh (Sr., OL, 6-0, 250); Owen Weber (Sr., WR/DB, 6-3, 168); Landon Sneyd (Sr., WR/DB, 6-2, 170); Jacob Duran (Jr., WR/DB, 5-9, 160); Dakota Key (Jr., RB, 6-0, 162); Adam Lynch (Jr., LB); Hunter O'Connor (Jr. DL, 6-2, 192); Jal Chan (Jr., DL); Nick Jensen (Sr., LB/DB).

OTHERS TO WATCH: Nick McCarthy (Sr., QB, 6-3, 185); Cale Claridge (So., TE/LB, 6-1, 175).

MUST-SEE GAMES: Aug. 24 at Broomfield; Sept. 27 at Fairview; Oct. 26 at Horizon.

STRENGTHS: The Lightning have nice athleticism across the board and good size, especially at the wide receiver position. They have six returning starters on offense.

WEAKNESSES: Legacy will be young in areas and had to replace a number of starters from a year ago.

OUTLOOK: Heinz takes over after the departure of longtime coach Wayne Voorhees. The Lightning have had winning seasons for four straight years and are looking for a fifth despite losing several veterans from last year's 6-4 team. McCarthy appears to be in line to take over at quarterback for Alec Lewis, who graduated after throwing for over 2,000 yards in 2017. Legacy begins the year with city-rival Broomfield and will be looking for a sixth straight win in the series.

 

* indicates league contest

Aug. 24 at Broomfield 7 p.m.

Aug. 31 Bothell (WA) 7 p.m.

Sept. 6 Lakewood 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 Eaglecrest 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Mountain Vista 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Fairview* 7 p.m.

Oct. 5 Poudre* 7 p.m.

Oct. 13 Rocky Mountain* 9 a.m.

Oct. 18 Fossil Ridge* 7 p.m.

Oct. 26 at Horizon* 7 p.m.

Home games at North Stadium

METRO 10 LEAGUE OUTLOOK

In yet another attempt to establish parity in big-school football, the Metro 10 League was formed to help struggling programs along using competition against each other as a sort of growing agent. Boulder, for example, will play nine of its 10 games within the league, and there really are a lot of people watching to see just what this experiment will really mean come playoff time.

 

BOULDER PANTHERS

COACH: Ryan Bishop (First year, 0-0)

LAST YEAR: 3-7 overall, 2-3 Class 5A Mt. Massive League.

RETURNING STARTERS: Jaden Bailey (Jr., OL, 6-6, 265); Saul Escobar (Jr., RB/DB, 5-7, 165); Daniel Feenstra (Jr., RB/DB, 6-1, 170); Torrance McCarty (Jr., OLB, 6-0, 185); Angel Ocon (Sr., OL, 6-0, 220); Shane Provost (Jr., RB/DL, 6-0, 230); William Ramirez (Jr., MLB, 6-2, 205); Cade Travis (Sr., WR/DB, 5-10, 185); Jack McNulty (Jr., OL, 6-0, 205); Jake Steinmetz (Sr., DB, 5-11, 180); Preston Stensel (Sr., QB/RB/DB, 6-0, 185).

OTHERS TO WATCH: Drake Arthur (So., TE/OLB, 6-1, 205); Parker Patchett (So., OLB/RB, 5-9, 180); Matthew McCarthey (Sr., DL, 6-3, 220); Justin Kunkel (Sr., DB, 5-10, 180); Izzah Mazzio (Jr., OL/DL, 5-11, 200); Hale Chargois (Jr., QB, 6-1, 195)

MUST-SEE GAMES: Aug. 24 vs. Fairview and Oct. 5 vs. Prairie View.

STRENGTHS: Bishop is going to encourage establishing the run game, which is bolstered by nearly every back returning to the squad. Defense has some experience and will get after it.

WEAKNESSES: A few questions reside as to how fast holes at some positions can be filled by student athletes who may be playing said positions for the first time.

OUTLOOK: New coach, new league, new expectations. That's the running theme for Boulder in 2018 with the prideful and passionate-about-Boulder Bishop leading things. "We will rally around these student-athletes and as they give us their best, we will do the same," Bishop said. The Panthers will be part of the experimental Metro 10 League in 2018, which consists largely of teams that have struggled at the 5A level in recent years, and there is hope that the competitiveness week in and week out will foster a quicker rebuild. For Bishop, it all starts with a community bonding together, from administration down to the younger siblings of the current players.

 

* indicates league contest

Aug. 24 Fairview 5:30 p.m.

Aug. 31 at Northglenn* 7 p.m.

Sept. 7 Mountain Range* 7 p.m.

Sept. 15 at Denver East* 2 p.m.

Sept. 21 Westminster* 7 p.m.

Sept. 29 at Smoky Hill* 1 p.m.

Oct. 5 Prairie View* 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 at Rangeview* 6:30 p.m.

Oct. 19 Far Northeast Warriors* 7 p.m.

Oct. 26 at Adams City* 7 p.m.

Home games at Recht Field