Amazingly, the area small schools already are done with a football season that transpired much too quickly. For the local 3A and 4A powers, playoff fates have largely been determined already.
In 5A, however, it’s on.
Defending state runner-up Fairview begins its quest for a second consecutive appearance in the 5A title game Friday night with a first-round matchup against Castle View. Fairview has given its fans a few tense moments by winning its past two games by a mere total of three points, but the Knights survived a few similarly-scripted thrillers during the regular season last year, ultimately becoming battle-tested for a stirring postseason run. Beginning Friday, we’ll find out if the past few weeks have steeled Fairview for a repeat performance.
In its first season of 5A play Monarch also reached the tournament field, drawing a challenging first-round match at Regis Jesuit. Legacy, which came within a few seconds and the latest Johnny Feauto highlight from upsetting Fairview a week ago, will host Eaglecrest.
The drama will expand next week when the local standouts in 4A and 3A join the fray, a list that includes Longmont, Broomfield and Holy Family. For everyone else, this weekend is all about getting started on the 2015 season on a high note.
Last week: 13-1
Season to date: 113-23
Rock Canyon at Boulder
Kickoff: 7 p.m., Recht Field
Records: Rock Canyon 3-6; Boulder 3-6.
Last week: Rock Canyon lost 42-21 at ThunderRidge; Boulder lost 62-22 against Westminster.
Quick hits: Win or lose, Boulder has shown commendable progress by just about any measuring in the second season of the Bob Simmons era. Last year, the Panthers went 2-9, allowing an average of 37.7 points per game while scoring just 10.4 per game. Though the defense still has struggled entering this year’s finale, Boulder has scored nearly three times as many points, averaging 30 points per game … A big reason for that improvement has been junior running back TJ Jones, who has rushed for 1,383 yards and 14 TDs. Jones rushed for 406 yards in the past two games … Boulder also won its non-playoff 5A finale last year at home, defeating Aurora Central 37-20 … Junior Cleveland McCarty leads the Boulder defense with 67 tackles. Senior Anes Balic is second with 56 and also has a team-leading five sacks … Senior QB Ryan Hommel has thrown for 1,325 yards and 14 TDs for Rock Canyon.
Rooney’s read: Rock Canyon by 4.
Thompson Valley at Longmont
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m., Everly-Montgomery Field
Records: Thompson Valley 4-5, 2-2 4A Longs Peak League; Longmont 6-3, 4-0.
Last week: Thompson Valley lost 50-7 against Windsor; Longmont won 23-14 at Greeley West.
Quick hits: With the league title already in hand, red-hot Longmont will look to continue rounding into playoff form in the regular season finale … The Trojans are ranked ninth in the state and have won five straight games after a 1-3 start … Longmont running back Conlan Berger has scored a pair of touchdowns in each of the past four games and has averaged 130.8 yards during the team’s winning streak … QB Clint Sigg threw for 211 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead a 38-14 win against Thompson Valley last year … Longmont will learn its postseason fate Sunday when the 4A bracket is released … Thompson Valley surrendered 386 rushing yards in last week’s lopsided loss against Windsor.
Rooney’s read: Longmont by 8.
Skyline at Fort Collins
Kickoff: 6 p.m., French Field
Records: Skyline 2-7, 0-4 4A Northern League; Fort Collins 9-0, 4-0.
Last week: Skyline lost 39-10 at Mountain View; Fort Collins won 30-21 at Broomfield.
Quick hits: Skyline will need to pull off a monumental upset against the state’s No. 2-ranked team in 4A in order to avoid its third consecutive two-win season … The Falcons won the first two games of the season, but turnovers and inconsistent play have stunted Skyline’s progress … Falcons quarterbacks have tossed 15 interceptions in 173 attempts … Skyline has surrendered an average of 42.2 points over the past five games … Fort Collins already has locked up the league crown and is in line for one of the top seeds in the 4A tournament … Despite their unblemished record, the Lambkins have survived several close scares, including a three-point win against Silver Creek, a one-point win against Windsor and a six-point victory against Longmont … Fort Collins is led by two-way threat Kyler Sigsbee at quarterback. The senior has thrown for 980 yards and rushed for 676 yards. Sigsbee also has thrown just two interceptions in 140 attempts.
Rooney’s read: Fort Collins by 14.
Castle View at Fairview
Kickoff: 7 p.m., Recht Field
Records: Castle View 4-5; Fairview 9-0.
Last week: Castle View won 25-24 against Chaparral; Fairview won 50-49 at Legacy.
Quick hits: Winners of 21 of 22 games over the past two seasons, the Knights begin their quest for a second consecutive appearance in the 5A title game … Even with a different cast of characters in its vaunted passing attack, Fairview has displayed a similar “team of destiny” aura this season, as exemplified perfectly by last week’s improbable 50-49 win at Legacy … Johnny Feauto’s 546 passing yards against Legacy was the fifth-best single-game mark in state history. It increased his season total to 2,901 passing yards, which ranks first in 5A and second overall in the state … Castle View limped to a 1-5 start but rallied to make the playoffs with three consecutive impressive wins against Legend, Fountain-Fort Carson, and Chaparral … Castle View boasts a solid rushing attack that averages 185.2 yards a game. Seniors Erik Taylor (739 yards) and Collin McKee (513) … The winner will play either Denver East or Overland next week in the second round.
Rooney’s read: Fairview by 12.
Monarch at Regis Jesuit
Kickoff: 6 p.m.
Records: Monarch 4-5; Regis Jesuit 8-1
Last week: Monarch lost 31-7 at Rocky Mountain; Regis Jesuit won 48-0 at Fruita Monument.
Quick hits: Despite losses in its past two games and several key injuries throughout the year, Monarch still managed to squeak into the tournament field in the Coyotes’ first season as a 5A program … Regis won the Continental League North Division with a perfect 5-0 mark … The Raiders’ only loss was a season-opening setback against Cherry Creek. In the eight victories since, Regis has averaged 40.4 points a game … Junior Alec Barnes (1,182 rushing yards, 16 TDs) leads a Regis running attack that averages over 300 yards a game … The winner will play either Doherty or Heritage next week in the second round.
Rooney’s read: Regis Jesuit by 10.
Eaglecrest at Legacy
Kickoff: 7 p.m., 1st Bank Field
Records: Eaglecrest 4-5; Legacy 6-3.
Last week: Eaglecrest lost 42-27 against Cherry Creek ; Legacy lost 50-49 Fairview.
Quick hits: Even though the Lightning suffered a heartbreaking last-second, 50-49 loss last week against Fairview, Legacy still enters the postseason on an encouraging note after rallying from an early deficit and putting up nearly 400 yards against one of the state’s top teams … Legacy running back Connor Connolly has scored a touchdown in six consecutive games and has scored seven in the past three games … Eaglecrest finished the regular season with losses in four of five games, but all those setbacks were against tournament teams — Grandview, Valor Christian, Overland and Cherry Creek … The Lightning defense likely will focus on Eaglecrest QB Elijah Ross. The senior has thrown for 2,008 yards and also leads the Raptors with 837 rushing yards … The winner will play either Grand Junction or Quadrant 3 top seed Ralston Valley in the second round next week.
Rooney’s read: Legacy by 3.
Silver Creek at Broomfield
Kickoff: 7 p.m., Elizabeth Kennedy Stadium
Records: Silver Creek 3-6, 2-2 4A Northern League; Broomfield 6-, 3-1.
Last week: Silver Creek won 35-24 against Greeley Central; Broomfield lost 30-21 against Fort Collins.
Quick hits: Ranked 10th in the final 4A AP media poll, Broomfield had a six-game winning streak snapped with last week’s loss against No. 2 Fort Collins … A win would all but clinch a berth in the 16-team playoff field for the Eagles, who begin the weekend ranked 13th in 4A Wild Card points … Broomfield senior QB Logan McCormick posted his second 100-yard rushing game of the season last week and continues to orchestrate an efficient passing attack. Over the past seven games, McCormick has thrown nine touchdowns and no interceptions … After making three consecutive appearances in the 3A title game, Silver Creek’s first season at the 4A level will end without a playoff berth. However the Raptors are finishing strong with wins in two of their past three games. The lone setback during that stretch was a three-point decision at conference champ Fort Collins.
Rooney’s read: Broomfield by 8.
Northridge at Holy Family
Kickoff: 7 p.m., Mike G. Gabriel Stadium
Records: Northridge 6-3, 5-1 3A Northern League; Holy Family 7-2, 5-1.
Last week: Northridge won 32-20 at Berthoud; Holy Family won 46-14 at Mead.
Quick hits: Calculators may be necessary as two of 3A’s most prolific offenses collide … Both clubs have suffered their losses against elite competition. Northridge began the season with losses against 4A’s Greeley West, which was ranked most of the season, and 3A No. 3 Evergreen. The Grizzlies have won six of seven since, with the only setback occurring against 3A No. 4 Roosevelt … The sixth-ranked Tigers also lost to Roosevelt in addition to 3A No. 2 Discovery Canyon … Prepare for aerial fireworks. Holy Family QB Chris Helbig ranks third overall in the state with 2,849 passing yards and Northridge’s Brenden Fulton ranks fifth with 2,426 passing yards … Though Holy Family undoubtedly wants to keep its momentum rolling for the playoffs, the game may be of more importance to Northridge. Holy Family sits at No. 6 in 3A Wild Card points, while the Grizzlies are ranked 12th.
Rooney’s read: Holy Family by 6.
Erie at Niwot
Kickoff: 7 p.m., Everly-Montgomery Field
Records: Erie 4-5, 1-5 3A Northern League; Niwot 0-9, 0-6.
Last week: Erie lost 41-8 against Roosevelt; Niwot lost 41-10 against Frederick.
Quick hits: Erie put together a promising 3-0 start in the first season under former Holy Family assistant Chris Summers, but injuries have contributed to a 1-5 slide since … The Tigers scored 59 points in the first two games of the season. They’ve scored 60 in the past seven games … Even a win will not allow Erie to jump into the playoff picture. The Tigers are ranked 24th in 3A Wild Card points … Niwot has lost a school-record 15 consecutive games … Senior Justin Lee is expected to start at QB for the Cougars in place of Zach Kinnison, who suffered a concussion last week against Frederick … The Cougars broke a streak of three shutouts in four games last week by scoring a season-high 10 points, but Niwot still has scored only 28 points all season … Niwot will honor 15 seniors prior to the game.
Rooney’s read: Erie by 12.
Frederick at Mead
Kickoff: 7 p.m., Mead High School
Records: Frederick 1-8, 1-5 3A Northern League; Mead 3-6, 2-4.
Last week: Frederick won 41-10 at Niwot; Mead lost 46-14 against Holy Family.
Quick hits: Mead has lost three consecutive games, while Frederick avoided a winless campaign with its victory at Niwot … Mead running backs Gino Musick and Dane Myers both have topped the 100-yard mark in the past two games … Myers’ 119-yard effort last week pushed him over the 1,000-yard threshold. Myers now has 1,066 rushing yards this season … Though they have scuffled of late the youthful Mavericks have shown impressive growth and should be primed for improvement in 2015; most of Mead’s statistical leaders are underclassmen, including Musick and Myers … Injuries have helped contribute to Frederick’s first losing season since posting a 4-6 mark in 2009 … Senior Ben Vue has provided a spark for Frederick’s offense of late, recording his second 100-yard rushing game of the season last week.
Rooney’s read: Mead by 10.
Centaurus at Thomas Jefferson
Kickoff: 1 p.m., All-City Field
Records: Centaurus 3-5, 1-3 3A North Metro League; Thomas Jefferson 4-5, 1-3.
Last week: Centaurus lost 45-0 against Evergreen; Thomas Jefferson lost 55-7 against Conifer.
Quick hits: The Warriors have lost three consecutive games, scoring only 10 points during that span … Centaurus senior Matthew Buchler has recorded eight interception, which leads 3A and ranks second overall in the state. Buchler also leads the Warriors in rushing (854 yards), receptions (25) touchdown receptions (3), fumble recoveries (3) and tackles (51) … Thomas Jefferson has lost four of its past five games and has surrendered a total of 90 points the last two weeks.
Rooney’s read: Thomas Jefferson by 3.
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