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This summer, BoCoPreps.com will take an early look at each area football team ahead of the fall season and in this installment, we look at the Silver Creek Raptors.

Silver Creek coach Brian McGee said he believes if things align the way he hopes on the football field, his program could be a playoff team this fall.

Chalk it up to the expected and generic, if you will — ‘We’re going nowhere fellas, hang your heads in shame’ would be far more startling.

But for a program winless just two seasons ago, going 0-7 in the pandemic 2020 campaign, any chatter of wins or postseasons for that matter can’t simply be skirted past.

“If we can get everything together and gel, I think we have the opportunity to make the playoffs. I do without a doubt,” McGee said when asked about expectations for the upcoming season. “It kind of depends on where we end up on a couple of those games that determine if we’re ready or not.”

If ready, the Raptors, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2016, will need to build a strong core without many of their cornerstones from last year’s 4-6 team. No more so than at the skill positions, where starting quarterback Bryce Gorr, two-way all-region standout Eli Hubert, and top-five 2021 offensive contributors Bridger Sutherland, Rodrigo Ordonez-Enriquez and Tanner Stevens all graduated.

The Raptors will also need to conquer a regular season that appears to do them no favors. Nonleague opponents Frederick, Golden and Skyline were all postseason teams in 2021. Class 4A Northern League 1 favorite Erie was a play away from the state title last fall.

Ready or not as a program, here are some names who should lead the way.

The stalwart

Senior Maddax Schaefer. McGee said there’s “not a kid on our team that works harder” than the two-way lineman who has played varsity for the Raptors the past two seasons.

“Always works hard, does what we need,” the coach said.

Schaefer is part of a strong returning core of experienced big men and could also see time at linebacker, McGee said. The senior had 34 tackles, four for loss, and 4.5 sacks last season.

Star in the making

Junior Cole Rogers. Rogers is expected to own the workload out of the backfield for a second straight season, building on a sophomore campaign in which he gained nearly six yards a touch and scored five touchdowns.

Expecting to have four-fifths of the program’s 2021 offensive line back should only help him, too.

“He looks really, really solid,” McGee said. “He’s kind of one of those special kids every coach likes to have from time to time. He can make your offense look good even when things don’t go exactly to plan.”

Solidifying a presence

McGee likes the makeup of his team. He said the Raptors had a team camp at Western Colorado in Gunnison after the school year and have been in OTA’s across the summer months.

Other names to know include Elijah Mires, who spelled relief at the quarterback position a year ago, gaining valuable experience ahead of what will likely be his offense in 2022.

And of course, Luke Riters. The senior, with two older brothers who went through the program and then on to play in college, is another staple on both sides of the ball. With an offer from Western Colorado in hand, per his coach, Riter’s athleticism, work ethic and football IQ makes him a plug-and-play at a number of positions.

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