League and team outlook
Class 1A 11-man
Teams and trends: Estes Park, Flatirons Academy, Highland, Prospect Ridge, Ridge View Academy, Strasburg. Strasburg is the 1A runner-up and also can stake claim to four straight seasons with two or fewer losses. Flatirons Academy made the Class 2A championship game in Season C (7-1 record), falling by a single point against Manitou Springs, 31-30.
Numbers game: Strasburg scored 388 points in eight games leading up to the 1A championship game — a remarkable 48.5 per contest — and then proceeded to be shut out by Limon, 28-0 in the title tilt.
Prospect Ridge Miners
Coach: Michael Storer
The Scorecard: The Miners had a rough go at Faith Christian on Friday night, but that won’t deter coach Storer from believing his team can make a dent in the league. The internal competition from one of the program’s bigger teams will help, and seniors abound with the likes of WR Hunter Love, HB Marcus Martinez, LB Tyler Beveridge, LB David Castro, OL Ryan Hammond and LB Andrew Blanchette all returning starters. Add to the list junior LB Teddy Cundiff and up-and-comers Mac Vacco (junior CB), Torrin Bennett (sophomore RB) and linemen Ashton LeRoy, David Agbosse and Chase Schaffer.
Class 1A 8-man
Teams and trends: Byers, Elbert, Front Range Christian, Justice, Lyons, South Park. Justice and Front Range Christian were among the handful of teams that opted to play in spring, and both made the Season C playoffs. No other teams in the league made playoffs. Elbert made the 16-team field in 2019.
Numbers game: Lyons’ Wyatt Bashor showed some sneaky good hands in 2020, nabbing 14 receptions for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Coach: Jason Yantzer
The Scorecard: Lyons made the move to 8-man and proved competitive throughout the season. Now it’s a matter of honing in on playing more team-oriented football, especially on defense, to try and flip the scoreboard. Wyatt Bashor, a senior TE/LB, leads the way in that task. Senior Joel Uecker is expected to guide the offense at QB, while Jesse Uecker (Sr., WR/CB), Dequlynn Keller (Jr., RB/LB), Finn Oeting (So., WR/FS) and Maregu Sullivan (WR/CB) are challenged to do one thing better than the week before. Said Yantzer: “We have a great group of guys that have a great attitude and a work ethic that they will bring week by week as this season sorts itself out.”
Coach: Nels Thoreson
The Scorecard: The constant battle for coach Thoreson lies in the pure numbers of kids available, but it appears this year the Phoenix have some carryover from a spring season in which they performed admirably in a playoff game. Seniors Christian Koff (OL/DE), Noe Chavez (RB/LB), Carson Wagner (WR/DB) and Larry Cortez (TE/DE) return along with junior C/DT Bryce Swett and sophomore lineman Loki Heckman. Q’ Smith, Sergio Swan and Justin Britton are all hopeful producers as Justice begins the season in a week at Dolores Huerta Prep. “We’re really looking forward to watching our kids compete and make forever memories with their teammates,” Thoreson said.