Can it possibly be Week 6 already?
The calendar says it’s October, so apparently it’s true.
That means, in football terms, the playoff push officially is on.
After this weekend, teams will have only four games remaining in order to shore up their postseason credentials. Teams that endured poor starts but are trying to make noise within their respective leagues (Boulder, Longmont, and Broomfield) come to mind) can continue to cement their status with strong performances in key league games this weekend.
Those clubs that started fast out of the gate but have since struggled (Skyline, Monarch, and Centaurus, we’re looking at you) have an opportunity to pocket key wins, perhaps critical ones, to gain momentum for the final four-game stretch of 2014.
In a couple cases, favorites for league titles may be decided in Week 6 showdowns, most notably with the only two undefeated teams in the Front Range League squaring off at Recht Field as Rocky Mountain visits Fairview, and in the 3A Northern League, where the Holy Family Tigers travel to take on Berthoud in a top-10, first-place showdown. Perhaps of equal importance will be Longmont’s road tilt Friday at Loveland, as the inconsistent Trojans hope to open 4A Longs Peak League play with a win against the sort of opponent playoff teams expect to beat.
Due to the Yom Kippur holiday on Friday, the bulk of this week’s action takes place under Thursday Night Lights. By Saturday afternoon, league favorites will have solidified their position and the stretch run officially will be underway.
Last week: 14-0
Season to date: 57-19
Rocky Mountain at Fairview
Kickoff: 7 p.m., Recht Field
Records: Rocky Mountain 5-0, 3-0 5A Front Range League; Fairview 5-0, 3-0.
Last week: Rocky Mountain won 31-20 against Horizon; Fairview won 35-10 at Monarch.
Quick hits: The only remaining undefeated teams in the Front Range League square off in a classic battle of strength-against-strength … Fairview’s high-flying offense is averaging 43.4 points behind QB Johnny Feauto, who ranks fourth overall in the state (first in 5A) with 1,374 passing yards … Rocky Mountain’s defense has surrendered double-digit points only once and is allowing just 9.2 points per game … Despite not completing a single pass, Rocky Mountain knocked off a solid Horizon squad last week behind 301 rushing yards, including 100-yard nights from Josh Rhead (112) and Autry Baskin (104) … The Lobos have compiled their 214.8 rushing yards a game with balance, as three different players have posted at least 290 yards … Fairview senior Jason Harvey continues to make his mark in the running game. Harvey is averaging 7.2 yards per attempt and has gained 333 yards in three games.
Rooney’s read: Fairview by 8.
Boulder at Denver East
Kickoff: 7 p.m., All-City Stadium
Records: Boulder 2-3, 2-1 5A Flatirons League; Denver East 4-1, 3-0.
Last week: Boulder won 63-42 against Northglenn; Denver East won 49-0 at Montbello.
Quick hits: Boulder junior TJ Jones continues to evolve into a dazzling all-around force for the Panthers. After his five-touchdown performance last week against Northglenn, Jones now has 14 TDs on the season and has scored in myriad ways — 10 rushing, one receiving, one on an interception return, and two on kickoff returns … Boulder has won consecutive games for the first time since the opening two games of 2012 … Panthers receivers Collin Heimbach and Shane Relkin have become big-play threats for QB Malcolm Patterson. Heimbach has recorded 15 receptions for 257 yards (17.1 yards per catch) and Relkin has posted six receptions for 170 yards (34 yards per catch). The duo has combined for five TD receptions … Denver East has surrendered just six points in its last two games and has allowed an average of only 6.8 points in its four victories.
Rooney’s read: Denver East by 4.
Monarch at Fossil Ridge
Kickoff: 6 p.m., French Field
Records: Monarch 3-2, 1-2 Front Range League; Fossil Ridge 3-2, 2-1.
Last week: Monarch lost 35-10 against Fairview; Fossil Ridge won 21-13 at Poudre.
Quick hits: Monarch, as expected, remains devoted to its dogged rushing attack even at the Class 5A level, but the Coyotes faced far too many third-and-long situations in FRL losses against Poudre and Fairview … Fossil Ridge QB Mitchell Salmela completed 27 of 39 passes for 204 yards and three TDs in last week’s win at Poudre … Outside a three-interception performance against the rugged defense from Rocky Mountain, Salmela has thrown only one interception in 91 attempts in his other four games … Despite being held to 65 rushing yards on 20 attempts last week, Fossil Ridge RB Andrew Spraberry still is averaging 122 yards a game.
Rooney’s read: Fossil Ridge by 8.
Skyline at Broomfield
Kickoff: 7 p.m., Elizabeth Kennedy Stadium
Records: Broomfield 3-2; Skyline 2-3.
Last week: Broomfield won 42-0 at Gateway; Skyline lost 49-0 against Windsor.
Quick hits: Two teams headed in opposite directions collide in the 4A Northern League opener for both clubs … Broomfield has shaken off an 0-2 start to post three consecutive wins … Sophomore RB Jalon Torres recorded 96 yards and two TDs on just 13 carries in last week’s shutout win at Gateway … Senior QB Logan McCormick has grown more efficient during the Eagles’ three-game win streak, going 21 for 34 with five TD passes and no interceptions during that span … After the program’s first 2-0 start in 10 years, Skyline has dropped three consecutive games, including the past two by a combined score of 77-7.
Rooney’s read: Broomfield by 14.
Mountain View at Silver Creek
Kickoff: 7 p.m., Everly-Montgomery Field
Records: Mountain View 2-3; Silver Creek 1-4.
Last week: Mountain View won 32-14 against Thompson Valley; Silver Creek lost 42-21 against Longmont.
Quick hits: Silver Creek must shake off its lopsided rivalry loss last week against Longmont as it plays its first game in the 4A Northern League … The Raptors have committed six turnovers in five games … Silver Creek RB Anthony Kasper has rushed for 363 yards in the past two games … Mountain View QB Dennis Landry completed 17 of 26 passes for 298 yards and three TDs without an interception in the Mountain Lions’ win last week against Thompson Valley … Mountain View’s diverse offense features four receivers who have caught at least 11 passes.
Rooney’s read: Mountain View by 8.
Centaurus at Arvada
Kickoff: 6 p.m., Trailblazer Stadium.
Records: Centaurus 2-3; Arvada 0-5.
Last week: Centaurus was idle; Arvada lost 37-0 at Golden.
Quick hits: Following a bye, Centaurus begins play in the 3A North Metro League … Centaurus entered the bye mired in a three-game losing streak but should get on track against a winless Arvada squad … Warriors senior RB Matt Buchler is averaging 126.6 rushing yards a game and 7.4 per carry … Junior QB Ryan Cotter is steadily improving his completion rate — he has a 53.8 mark on the season — but must cut down his interception rate. Cotter has thrown seven in 80 attempts … Arvada has suffered three consecutive shutout losses and is surrendering an average of 39.8 points a game … Arvada has netted only 50 rushing yards the entire season.
Rooney’s read: Centaurus by 14.
Justice at Nederland
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m.
Records: Justice 0-5, 0-4 8-Man Central League; Nederland 2-3, 2-3.
Last week: Justice lost 24-20 against Pikes Peak Christian; Nederland lost 30-26 at Gilpin County.
Quick hits: Senior running back Noah Ridnell had a big game for Nederland in last week’s rivalry loss against Gilpin County, rushing for 180 yards on 20 carries … The Panthers’ rushing attack is averaging an impressive 253.4 yards a game, an effort highlighted by Michael Wood (386 yards), Ridnell (381), Jaron Dillon (199), and Christian McClain (156) … Justice has lost eight consecutive games.
Rooney’s read: Nederland by 10.
Legacy at Poudre
Kickoff: 7 p.m., French Field.
Records: Legacy 3-2, 2-1 Front Range League; Poudre 2-3, 1-2.
Last week: Legacy won 35-3 against Mountain Range; Poudre lost 21-13 against Fossil Ridge.
Quick hits: Legacy’s CSU-bound QB Matt Lynch was at his best in last week’s rout of Mountain Range. Lynch completed 9 of 12 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown and also got the job done on the ground, rushing for 136 yards and three TDs … Lynch has thrown only three interceptions in 95 attempts … Lightning senior RB Connor Connolly has rushed for 266 yards and two TDs over the past two games … Three players, all juniors, have recorded at least 10 receptions for Legacy, including Dalton Royer (12 receptions, 151 yards), Jack Ruscher (10 receptions, 155 yards) and Logan Paulson (10 receptions, 129 yards) … Legacy’s defense has surrendered 20 points just once in five games … Excluding a 31-0 win against Northglenn, and Poudre has scored just 41 points in its other four games.
Rooney’s read: Legacy by 10.
Longmont at Loveland
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m., Ray Patterson Field.
Records: Longmont 2-3; Loveland 1-4.
Last week: Longmont won 42-21 against Silver Creek; Loveland lost 37-14 against Fort Collins.
Quick hits: The up-and-down Longmont Trojans will look to shake their inconsistent ways and build off last week’s long-awaited rivalry win against Silver Creek … As senior QB Clint Sigg has fared, so have the Trojans. In their three losses, Sigg went 25 for 66 with one TD and five interceptions. In Longmont’s two wins, Sigg went a sparkling 17 for 21 with three TDs and no interceptions … This is the 4A Longs Peak League opener for both teams … Despite posting just one win Loveland had competed well, suffering two of those defeats by a total of eight points … Loveland senior RB Jacob Weinmaster has collected 216 rushing yards over the past two weeks.
Rooney’s read: Longmont by 7.
Holy Family at Berthoud
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Records: Holy Family 4-1, 2-0 3A Northern League; Berthoud 5-0, 2-0.
Last week: Holy Family won 59-0 against Niwot; Berthoud won 17-7 at Erie.
Quick hits: After outmanning its past two opponents by a combined score of 109-7, Holy Family will do battle in the Tigers’ third 3A top-10 matchup of the season against No. 8 Berthoud. The fifth-ranked Tigers went 1-1 against their other two top-10 foes, defeating then-No. 4 Palisade and losing to current No. 2 Discovery Canyon … Holy Family QB Chris Helbig ranks first in 3A and second overall in the state with 1,620 passing yards … The Tigers have posted at least 50 points in all four of their victories but will face the league’s stingiest defense at Berthoud. The Spartans opened the season with three consecutive shutouts and have allowed only 13 points over the past two weeks … Berthoud’s balanced offense is led by junior QB Cody Braesch (66 for 112, 1,073 yards, 11 TDs, four interceptions).
Rooney’s read: Holy Family by 4.
Mead at Niwot
Kickoff: 7 p.m., Everly-Montgomery Field
Records: Mead 2-3, 1-1 3A Northern League; Niwot 0-5, 0-3.
Last week: Mead lost 49-26 against Roosevelt; Niwot lost 59-0 at Holy Family.
Quick hits: Mead had won consecutive games before last week’s setback against Roosevelt and will look to get on track against a reeling Niwot club that has lost 11 consecutive games … Junior RB Dane Myers has emerged as an all-around threat for Mead. Myers has rushed for a team-leading 561 yards and seven TDs while also leading the Mavericks with 13 receptions for 232 yards and another pair of TDs … Niwot has scored just six points all season and is allowing an average of 44.2 points a game … This will be the first football game between the local rivals.
Rooney’s read: Mead by 13.
Frederick at Roosevelt
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Records: Frederick 0-5, 0-2 3A Northern League; Roosevelt 4-1, 2-0.
Last week: Frederick lost 47-19 against Northridge; Roosevelt won 49-26 at Mead.
Quick hits: The Warriors are on pace to suffer their first losing season since 2009. The last time Frederick lost five games in a season was 2010, when a 7-5 campaign included a win against Roosevelt in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament … Frederick, which has been riddled by injuries, is allowing an average of 43 points a game … The Warriors’ rushing attack showed signs of progress in last week’s loss against Northridge, gaining 247 yards. Senior Ben Vue led the way with 105 yards on 17 carries … Roosevelt is ranked seventh in 3A in the latest AP media poll … Frederick’s reeling defense will have its hands full against a Roosevelt ground game averaging 282.4 yards per contest. Sophomore Cameron Hurtado leads the Roughriders with 449 rushing yards.
Rooney’s read: Roosevelt by 17.
Longmont Christian at West Grand
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Records: Longmont Christian 0-5, 0-4 8-Man Central League; West Grand 2-3, 1-3.
Last week: Longmont Christian lost 50-0 at Rocky Mountain Lutheran; West Grand won 50-20 against Plateau Valley.
Quick hits: Rebuilding Longmont Christian has been outscored 250-32 … The Warriors haven’t put together a double-digit point total since a season-opening 50-12 loss at Pikes Peak Christian … Longmont Christian committed five turnovers in last week’s loss against Rocky Mountain Lutheran … West Grand’s win last week against Plateau Valley snapped a three-game losing streak.
Rooney’s read: West Grand by 14.
Erie at Northridge
Kickoff: 1 p.m., District 6 Stadium
Records: Erie 3-2, 0-2 3A Northern League; Northridge 2-3, 1-1.
Last week: Erie lost 17-7 against Berthoud; Northridge won 47-19 at Frederick.
Quick hits: Erie will pit its tough defense against a Northridge offense averaging 37.2 points a game … Erie has scored more than 17 points just once in five games … After Erie’s new-look offense reeled off 59 points in the season’s first two games, the Tigers have produced just 24 points over the past three games … Senior BJ Jensen leads Erie with 439 rushing yards and has been hot of late, producing 100-yard games each of the past two weeks … Northridge QB Brenden Fulton is second in 3A (behind Holy Family’s Chris Helbig) and third overall in the state with 1,484 passing yards … Fulton’s lowest passing output occurred last week against Frederick, yet he still completed 10 of 19 passes for 229 yards and three TDs without an interception.
Rooney’s read: Northridge by 4.
Lyons at Mead JV
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
Records: Lyons 2-3.
Last week: Lyons lost 61-6 at Resurrection Christian.
Quick hits: This is a game Lyons scrambled to schedule after Denver Christian opted to not field a football team this fall, leaving a void in the Lions’ 1A Metro League slate … Lyons resumes its league schedule with a demanding matchup next week at 1A No. 7 Platte Canyon.
Rooney’s read: Lyons by 10.
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