If this year’s state football playoffs have a familiar feel locally, they should.

Silver Creek and Monarch were two of the final three BoCoPreps.com-area teams left standing in last fall’s postseason, with SCHS eventually making a run all the way to the Class 3A state title game.

Here we are in the state quarterfinals this fall, and only two local teams are still playing — Silver Creek in 3A and Monarch in 4A.

Monarch plays at Vista Ridge at 7 p.m. Friday, while Silver Creek hosts Pueblo Central at 1 p.m. Saturday.

What’s made these two teams stand out the last two seasons?

For one thing, defense. Despite scoring loads of points, both have been stingy. Monarch is giving up just 9.8 points per game, while the Raptors are surrendering just 12.3 per outing.

For another thing, both teams take care of the football. The Coyotes and their rushing offense average just one turnover per game, while Silver Creek features a starting quarterback in Ben Sjobakken who has thrown just one interception in 236 attempts this fall.

For the Coyotes and Raptors, it’s a simple formula: Take care of the football. Play solid defense. Play late into the postseason

If they can keep it up, there’s no reason both can’t keep playing to the first day of December.


NO. 5 MONARCH (10-1) AT NO. 4 VISTA RIDGE (10-1)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday, VRHS.

First round: Monarch 24, Falcon 14; Vista Ridge 41, Canon City 7.

Quick hits: This 4A quarterfinal matchups is a battle between two programs that know about getting up to speed quickly. Monarch reached the state playoffs in its second season of competition (1999) and has made it ever since, including eight trips to the quarterfinals or better. Vista Ridge opened in 2008 and made the 3A state semifinals in 2010, then the first round last season before moving up to 4A this year. … Monarch won the Mountain League, and the Coyotes’ only loss came to fellow quarterfinalist Wheat Ridge. … Vista Ridge finished second in the 4A Pikes Peak League, losing only to No. 2 Ponderosa. The Eagles beat Falcon — Monarch’s first-round opponent — 23-21 on Nov. 2. … Vista Ridge will counter Monarch’s double-wing rushing attack with a balanced offense led by quarterback Brayden Stewart (1,743 passing yards) and Brandon Cartagena (1,514 rushing yards). … Vista Ridge’s defense has intercepted a whopping 24 passes this season, an attribute that will likely be nullified against Monarch’s rushing offense. The Coyotes average about three pass attempts per game.

Lindenstein’s line: Monarch by 4.


Kickoff: 1 p.m. Saturday, Everly-Montgomery Field.

First round: Silver Creek 33, Elizabeth 14; Pueblo Central 24, Discovery Canyon 14.

Quick hits: This 3A quarterfinal matchup is between a pair of upset winners last week as Silver Creek knocked off No. 7 Elizabeth and Pueblo Central beat No. 2 Discovery Canyon. Lower seeds won four of eight first-round games in 3A, a group that also includes No. 13 Delta and No. 14 Eagle Valley from the Western Slope League. … Last week’s upset isn’t the only one Pueblo Central has pulled off recently, having beaten No. 4 Classical Academy (an upset loser to Delta last week) in Week 10. … Pueblo Central’s last playoff appearance before this season was a 2009 trip to the semifinals. … Silver Creek is in the quarterfinals for the third year in a row and will be looking to get back to the semis and championship game for the second year in a row. … Silver Creek quarterback Ben Sjobakken threw his first interception of the season last week, particularly impressive given that he’s attempted 236 passes on the season and thrown for 22 touchdowns. … Pueblo Central sports a run-heavy offense led by Nikko Valdez’s 1,550 rushing yards.

Lindenstein’s line: Silver Creek by 6.


Follow Josh on Twitter: @JoshLindenstein