And then, there were two.
The fact is, few survive to this point. Exactly 274 football teams start the season here in Colorado at around the same time in August, and by Thanksgiving Day there are just 18 left still absorbing bruises, huddling around space heaters on the benches and hoping that it all ends with one of those precious golden trophies.
Locally, the mighty Mead Mavericks came up just a touch short last week in their quest as Class 3A’s top seed; same for Fairview in 5A, where the Knights as a team were shaken up on game day but proved full of poise in taking top-seed Cherry Creek to the brink of elimination.
Yet, BoCoPreps still has hope of crowning a football champ for the first time since 2012, when both Monarch and Silver Creek planted their respective flags in the ground.
Frederick, whose only loss came to Mead in the regular season finale, used a 77-yard touchdown pass with just seconds to go to stun higher-seeded Discovery Canyon, 32-25, this past Saturday.
Broomfield, meanwhile, methodically drove Chatfield into the ground with 53 rushing attempts and just 13 pass attempts in a 27-3 win. The Eagles got revenge on a Chargers team that beat them in 2018, this time jumping out to a lead and not letting up defensively.
Here we are. Thursday morning, you’re likely to find those two teams getting out some shovels to clear half a football field so they can get some reps in. Saturday will come swiftly, and it’ll then be time to shine.
A look at the semifinals matchups involving the Warriors and Eagles:
Class 4A semifinals
No. 2 Broomfield travels to No. 6 Dakota Ridge
Details: At Jefferson County Stadium, Saturday, noon.
What to know: While Caden Peters continues to amass huge numbers to lead Broomfield, Dakota Ridge’s Eagles team has seen Charlie Offerdahl taking things upon his shoulders in a big way. In the past two games, he’s scored six touchdowns and has 300 rushing yards. … The DR Eagles didn’t score a whole lot of points during the regular season and in fact were shut out by Golden just three weeks ago, but the squad has posted 35 and 38 points, respectively, in the playoffs. … Broomfield is the only undefeated team left in 4A, and its defense has been head and shoulders better than the rest of the field having allowed barely over 100 points this season. … The three points it allowed Chatfield was the Chargers’ season low and it’s been seven weeks since a team even hung 10 points on the scoreboard. … MaxPreps rosters indicate 18 seniors for Dakota Ridge and 23 seniors for Broomfield.
Who to watch: Hall Edmonds. After missing the entire month of October, Edmonds is back wreaking havoc on defense as that roving linebacker who’s going to find the ballcarrier. Dakota Ridge will use a legion of running backs with different talents, and Edmonds and Co. will have to be on their toes as they were last week against the Chargers.
Class 3A semifinals
No. 6 Frederick hosts No. 2 Pueblo South
Details: At Frederick High School, Saturday, 1 p.m.
What to know: After going 5-6 in its first season at 3A, coach Ryan Goddard has Pueblo South back in the spotlight and raring to go against tough-nosed Frederick. The Colts are 11-1 and could be looking at virtually a home game for the 3A championship contest with a semis win (the 3A game will be played at CSU-Pueblo). … Frederick is hoping it needs to spring for another charter bus, meanwhile, after getting to the semis for the first time since 2011. … Having scored 45 and 32 points in playoff games, the Warriors have clearly shown the offense put up against some weaker teams early on was not a fluke. Frederick also busted out some long passes in its last game, giving Jake Green an opportunity to shake things up a bit. … Pueblo South’s George Longoria has carried the football 301 times this season, which amounts to about 25 carries a game. He’ll be adding to his state-leading workload.
Who to watch: Blake Duran. The senior is staring at the final games of his prep career and has made the most of the touches he’s gotten on offense while also providing a steady defensive effort with a couple of picks and tackles. If he can grow that connection with Jake Green just a hair more, it may just be the wrinkle the Warriors need to advance.