5A League 3
Teams and trends: Boulder, Fairview, Fort Collins, Fossil Ridge, Poudre and Rocky Mountain. Fairview, Fossil Ridge, Poudre and Rocky Mountain were all together in the 5A North League last fall. The Sabercats won the league title thanks to an overtime victory over Legacy. The Knights, meanwhile, reached the postseason but never played a game in it after it forfeited due to COVID-19 exposure inside the program. Boulder and Fort Collins come out of the 5A Metro 1 League. The Lambkins won the league title, while Boulder was third.
Coach: Casey Geiger
The Scorecard: The Panthers, following a 4-6 season in the fall, have their third coach in three years. Geiger, who takes over for interim coach Craig Van Patten, was previously an assistant at Green Mountain, Wheat Ridge and Riverdale Ridge. He inherits a standout senior in CB/RB Ethan Kunkel, who had 56 tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles a season ago. He is joined by seniors WR/DB Jaden Seligman, who caught 22 passes for 212 yards last fall, and WR/LB Malachi Torrico, who had 50 tackles and two sacks in 2021. The Panthers opened play at Centaurus on Friday.
Coach: Tom McCartney
The Scorecard: Fairview reached the postseason last fall but had to forfeit its first-round game against ThunderRidge due to COVID-19 exposure. The Knights have a new quarterback this fall after 2021 freshman standout Bekkem Kritza transferred to California. In his place is Rowan Risner, who was the team’s JV quarterback last year and led the team to a 29-21 win over Highlands Ranch Thursday. Around him offensively are sophomore WR Jordan Rechel, who caught 57 balls for 845 yards and 13 scores last season, and senior RB/LB Zach Lewis, who had seven scores while totaling 104 tackles on defense. The starting front includes seniors Leaf Bruno, Jack Lillie, Mark Worster and junior Russell Hutchens. LB Josh Zhang and LB/TE Ryder Villarreal return after each had two picks last fall.
5A League 2
Teams and trends: Brighton, Horizon, Legacy, Mullen, Prairie View and Rangeview. Legacy had six wins a season ago and finished second in the 5A North League, which also featured Horizon. The Lightning missed a league championship after falling to Fossil Ridge in overtime late in the season. Brighton was in the 4A Northern League and reached the postseason with five wins. Mullen, out of the 5A Jefferson County League, had four wins. Prairie View and Rangeview come out of the 5A Metro 2 League, going a combined 7-13 in 2021.
Coach: Jay Madden
The Scorecard: The Lightning hired prestigious football coach Jay Madden, who takes over for Corey Heinz. Madden was previously at Pomona for the better part of two decades until he stepped away following the 2020 season. He comes in with a 218-86 career record and two state titles. He inherits a talented pass rush featuring seniors Ryan Bynarowicz, Alex Gottschalk and Noah Williams, who are all multi-year starters. Other returners include senior OLs Owen Lee and Kade Smith. As of this past week, the quarterback competition remained fluid between senior Jadon Carter and junior QB/WR/FS Kullen Lerma, who the coach believes has Division-I potential as a wide receiver and defensive back. Legacy dropped its first game of the season, 10-3, to Arapahoe on Thursday night.