Page 1 football 2019

While game changes around them, area linemen just keep grinding, page 2

Longmont Times-Call



Year of the lineman?                 

Photos by Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

Legacy defensive end Hunter O’Connor

Fairview tackle Cole Johnson



he start of the football season is around the corner. Another chance for fans of the gridiron to experience the things they love and cherish, and, well, endure the changes to their game they wish didn’t exist. The sport’s fluctuation over the last 10-plus years goes deeper than basketball’s move to the 3-point line or baseball’s home run--strikeout trade-off. A morphed fanbase bought into the fantasy football phenomena, rule changes centered around concussions, the analytics —they’ve all provided a shift to how the game is now played and viewed. And yet, some things remain. Legacy defensive end Hunter O’Connor followed in the footsteps of his father, who played decades ago. Like his dad, he moved to the defensive end position once he got into high school. The best part about it — “hitting people,� he said without hesitation. Yes, the game has changed — but at its heart, some things hold true. The game’s purest form can still be seen in the trenches, where offensive and defensive linemen fight for position on the field. It’s where you’ll find O’Connor, who had 56 tackles and a 5A Front Range League-leading eight sacks in 2018. The all-region lineman played a crucial role as the Lightning were able to rebound from an 0-6 start to win five straight, including an upset victory over Mullen in the opening round of the state playoffs. It’s also where you will find Fairview’s newest offensive weapon — 6-foot-2, 250-pound Knights’ offensive tackle Cole Johnson. The son of the University of Colorado’s new offensive coordinator, Jay Johnson, moved to the area earlier this year and will be a part of Tom McCartney’s squad for this fall. Among his duties, Johnson will look to keep high-profile quarterback Aidan Atkinson upright after the Northwestern commit threw for a state-record 55 touchdowns in 2018 before suffering a season-ending injury in the last game of the regular season. “They’ve obviously done well, and they obviously have a history of doing well, so I’m just looking to jump in and help out as I can,� Johnson said. “Just give (Atkinson) some protection and let him throw that thing around, you know?� No, Johnson doesn’t seem to mind leaving the headlines for the quarterbacks and such. He knows — as most linemen do — headlines aren’t commonplace for the men up front, especially if they do their jobs well. On the broad football spectrum — high school, collegiate and more so in the professional ranks — it’s the quarterbacks, receivers and running backs who get the most attention. For starters, the touchdown-to-interception ratio is easier to understand than pancake blocks in the box score. The daily G.O.A.T debate, whether on sports network television or among the twitter inclined, goes a lot better with clips of game-winning throws and not the protection or pressure that set it up. But that’s OK, Holy Family offensive left tackle Cord Kringlen said. The junior described those playing in the trenches as a “different breed� anyway. “I think it’s just a sense that I want to be the first one in the fight,� said Kringlen, the team’s blindside blocker. “I like it. I like being responsible for it and I like having that pressure.� Depending on schemes, many area offensive linemen will be asked to pass protect more than run block (see 2018 Fairview, above). For others, like at the throwback, smashmouth program at Mead, it’s flipped. Mavericks left tackle Kaleb Lee, who moved from center, will be arduously hitting sleds and linemen in one-on-ones in preparation for opening week. This is the kind of work needed for a team that rushed for 3,326 yards last season while only throwing for 575. “When you’re working your butt off and getting after it, play after play, then you look up and see (running backs) Nathan Bailey or Jake (Wachter) running down the field scoring, you know the only reason that happened is because the five up front were working their butts off,� Lee said. It doesn’t hurt when that work is noticed, either. Lee said quarterback Brady Veltien showed his gratitude by taking the O-line out for lunch over the summer. On the other side of the ball, the D-line must adapt to the next week’s offense. How well it can do so will likely go a long way in deciding how the team’s season unfolds. Skyline, which twisted the 4A playoff field into a frenzy last fall, held No. 1 Pine Creek well under its rushing average in an upset win in the second round. Then the next week, Falcons defensive end Austin Robison returned from a broken hand that kept him out for a long stretch of the season and helped the team shut out Ponderosa to get to the state finals. With a padded cast on his right hand, Robison said his first tackle back came on a fake punt attempt by the Mustangs, forcing a turnover on downs. “It’s just fun to get in the trenches, just you and the guy across from you,� Robison said. “That’s the mentality you have to have.� So, 2019 — could it finally be the “Year of the Lineman�? Not likely. Some things never change. “If we don’t do our job, no one else on the field can,� Johnson said. “And while (some) fans, they might watch the ball and not really get that, I think everyone that knows the game, plays the game, understands it starts at the line.� Brent W. New: or on Twitter @BrentWNew. Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

COVER PHOTO: From left, Holy Family’s Cord Kringlen, Skyline’s Austin Robison, Legacy’s Hunter O’Connor, Mead’s Kaleb Lee and Fairview’s Cole Johnson pose for a portrait in Erie.

Holy Family left tackle Cord Kringlen

Mead left tackle Kaleb Lee

Skyline DE/TE Austin Robison


Karsel, Thimsen get their kicks        

     BY BRENT W. NEW BOCOPREPS.COM Longtime Pomona football coach Jay Madden said the decision to roster female kickers has been an absolute no-brainer. It’s not a move based on societal progress, he explained after both Jefferson Academy student Lily Thimsen and former JA grad Alyson Thimsen led his kicking teams. Only talent. “They’re not kicking because we like them,� he said. “I mean, we also like them. But they’re kicking because they’re the best kickers we got.� Lily Thimsen and Lyons kicker Alexa Karsel are two known high school females from the area leading special teams units this fall. And while both players are better known for their soccer skills around town — with Thimsen an all-state player in 3A with the Jaguars and Karsel the 4A Northern League’s player of the year on Silver Creek — their contributions on the gridiron may help add into an important narrative about females in football. Here’s how it currently stands: In the National Football League, there has never been a woman head coach or general manager. Recently, though, women have broken in as coaches. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in fact, became the first NFL team to hire two full-time female coaches. And elsewhere, Antoinette Harris became the first women’s football player to receive a college scholarship to play a skills position this past year (and was the

Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

Lyons senior Alexa Karsel, left, and Jefferson Academy senior Lily Thimsen — the latter who kicks for Pomona — have enjoyed their time away from the soccer field over the years in favor of the pressure-packed situations placekicking on the gridiron can bring.

focus of a Toyota commercial during the Super Bowl). And before her, several women have kicked for major college programs, including Katie Hnida at Colorado and New Mexico. Thimsen and Karsel, meanwhile, are part of a limited number of female high school football players in the country (girls make up about 2,000 of the 1,000,000 high school players, according to recent numbers from the National Federation of State High School Associations). Neither girl, however, has current plans of playing football at the next level.

FAB FIVE: PLACEKICKERS Top five local returning placekickers. (2018 scoring) 1. Henry Blackburn, Fairview (77 points) 2. Luke Dunker, Frederick (59 points) 3. John Hoyland, Legacy (56 points) 4. Liam Gray, Holy Family (55 points) 5. Matthew Eich, Broomfield (46 points)

Thimsen is committed to playing soccer at the University of Northern Colorado next year while Karsel said she is planning to play college soccer, too. A temporary but a “oncein-a-lifetime� experience as Thimsen describes it. Both have embraced these new opportunities. “With the girls (in soc-

cer), we talk about girls stuff and we get along like best friends,� said Karsel, who joined the team as a freshman, something that transpired from joke with her dad before becoming a reality. “And with the football team they’re more like my brothers. We all look out for each other.�

Provost eager to see things through             

tions and be mentally tougher. It’s like if I mess up, I mess up. I have to be able to get over that pretty fast.� In the 17 games listed on MaxPreps, Karsel has made two field goals and 34 of her 39 PATs. Thimsen has made 41 of her 48 PATs in 11 games, per the site. Before her, her sister Alyson scored 112 points over her career and was an all-conference kicker, per Madden. For other girls looking to get on the gridiron, here’s a tip. “We can do anything the guys can do,� Karsel said. “It’s really not as scary once you get into it.�


Casey Knutsen and Poudre’s Tate Satterfield* each had 14 rushing TD’s. Fairview’s Bryce DesJardins had 1,221 receiving yards and caught 21 touchdowns. Returning Knights senior Henry Front Range League Blackburn, meanwhile, Teams and trends: accounted for 179 points with Fairview, Fossil Ridge, Horizon, 17 touchdowns, four field Legacy, Poudre and Rocky goals and 65 PATs. Mountain. The Knights won Defensively, Fossil Ridge’s the inaugural league title in Sean Bowerfind had 160 the newly formed Front tackles, while Legacy’s Hunter Range League in 2018. Before O’Connor* had eight sacks that, Fairview played in the and 19 tackles for loss. Horizon’s Dadrian Paris had six Mt. Cameron League along interceptions. with football-power Numbers game: Fairview’s Columbine. Legacy was in the Aidan Atkinson threw 55 Mt. Antero League. Fossil Ridge and Horizon were in the touchdowns in 2018, a state Mt. Elbert League. Poudre was record. The rest of the league in the Mt. Lincoln League with threw a combined 58 touchdowns. On the ground, Valor Christian and Rocky Legacy’s Dakota Key returns Mountain was in the Mt. as not only the most Wilson League. productive back in yards from 2018 league leaders: 2018, but in terms of yards Offensively, Fairview’s Aidan per carry among eligible Atkinson* led the way with returners with at least 100 3,952 yards through the air and 55 touchdowns. Legacy’s carries. He averaged 6.1 yards on 297 carries. On the other Dakota Key* rushed for 1,799 Please see 5A CAPS, 6E yards, while Fossil Ridge’s

League and team outlook

BY ADAM DUNIVAN BOCOPREPS.COM Boulder’s Shane Provost entered the Panthers dressing room at Recht Field as a freshman ready to cement himself in a role on offense or defense that would carry him until his senior season. It’s the same for most incoming players, and for coaches the development certainly can be amplified the less roles the player has. Provost was one of those kids, though, that would end up proving too worthy of multiple positions to just stick to one plan. Now as a senior, he’s prepared this offseason to handle, well, just about anything. You probably aren’t going to see him line up for field goals. But what you will see is him having to switch jerseys in the middle of a game, perhaps even in the middle of an offensive series, to be able to do whatever it takes for BHS to rack up a few more wins. “I came in as a running back and right away coach Smith said, you know, we’re going to need you up front, we’re running straight ‘I’-(formation), and so I became the fullback,� Provost said after a recent practice. “Sophomore and freshman year, I was a fullback but I thought I was going to play defense, too. For some reason I didn’t get to do that a lot. “Now, I am glad to be able to play defense because I just want to get my nose in on every play.� Provost has seen three different head coaches walk through that very same dressing room in his four years. The first, Bob Simmons, made a late exit before the 2016 season; the second, Vincent Smith, lasted two years before

The Lyons senior said she has had plenty of nice memories to carry with her, including kicking a 42-yard field goal against rival Estes Park in 2016 and making a touchdown-saving tackle on a kickoff on the road against Byers in 2017. Writer Christoph Ludwig called the tackle “perfect� in a recent 5280 Magazine piece. Thimsen, meanwhile, said the game has given her a stronger mindset off the field. “I like having to deal with pressure, and I think it helps me deal with other aspects of my life,� the Jefferson Academy senior said. “Having to work through situa-

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Boulder’s Shane Provost is a four-year varsity player for the Panthers and seemingly has picked up another position to play each of those years. He’ll be wearing many hats, not to mention a couple different-numbered jerseys, on game days in 2019.

FAB FIVE: RUNNING BACKS Top five local returning RBs. (2018 yards/yards per game): 1. Dakota Key, Legacy (1,799 / 149.9) 2. Jake Wachter, Mead (688 / 98.3) 3. Nathan Bailey, Mead (959 / 87.2) 4. Brandon Hornby, Frederick (822 / 74.7) 5. Trevin Johnson, Holy Family (793 / 72.1)

deciding Year 3 was not in the cards literally days before the first day of practice. Ryan Bishop, present as an assistant coach all those years and then some, has provided the stability and instilled the pride the Panthers need. And Bishop has also placed trust in what Provost to carry the responsibilities of knowing the playbook forward and backward. “He’s going to play every position on the field that we can possibly put him ... but he’s really just bought into

that completely,� Bishop, no longer an interim head coach, said. “He’s done a lot of 7-on-7 stuff, a lot of weight stuff — he’s in our 1,000-pound club — and we’re proud of where he’s at.� Provost will still carry the ball from out of the backfield, as he first was tasked to do as a freshman. However, you may see him along the offensive or defensive lines, perhaps as a tight end ... depending on the play call he may be roaming as a linebacker. Will he punt? Well, the

Panthers are in need after losing one of the Metro 10 League’s best in Matt McCarthy. Provost knows he had better keep tabs on his equipment bag along the sideline and keep his mind open to anything. “What I was looking forward to was running back, defense, getting that down, but then on the line I’m going back and trying to know all the plays,� Provost said. “Big Jaden Bailey, he’s our center and he’s been helping me with my footwork, my zones, all that kind of stuff that I might need. I feel that my teammates will have my back.� Adam Dunivan: adunivan@prairiemountai or on Twitter @AdamDunivan24.



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Longs Peak and Northern Leagues prove strong in 4A

Sindelar looking to add some more scintillating plays



BY BRANDON BOLES BOCOPREPS.COM High school football in the northern part of the state is strong, most notably in two conferences in Class 4A: the Longs Peak League and the Northern League. Five of the 16 teams in the Class 4A state football tournament came from the two leagues and Loveland proved it was no fluke by defeating fellow Longs Peak foe Skyline for the state title this past December. In this day and age where the RPI is king, strength of schedule is one of the main factors that will help teams create a path to earn an at-large bid to the playoffs. Because of this, the two leagues use their overall strength to help each other with crossover games to open the season. “We play a lot of crossover league games with (the Longs Peak League), and there is a lot of good 4A football in the northern part of the state,� Broomfield coach Blair Hubbard said. “Obviously with Loveland winning it all and going undefeated, we see them Week 2 and we’ll see how we match up with the northern teams in 4A this year.� So which league is the strongest of the two? In the Northern League, three teams made the playoffs compared to two from the Longs Peak, and there is more competitive balance within the league. Teams in the bottom of the standings like Windsor and Brighton, who were one win away from a .500 season, played some close games with the teams ahead of them in the standings. Many believe it will be another tight race for the league title. “I think we will be in the hunt, but I also think Broomfield is going to be pretty good and Mountain View and Windsor will be much improved,� Longmont coach Doug Johnson said. “Greeley West was the top dog last year, so that makes it tough. And Brighton has a new coach, so I’m curious to see them.� Whereas the Northern League qualified more for the postseason and has more balance against each other, the Longs Peak League makes up for it by having one of



Frederick tight end Dylan Sindelar has no intentions of hitting 1,000 yards receiving this year. He knows the Warriors are pretty old school, as evidenced by the fact the team has averaged close to 300 rushing yards per game in Travis Peeples’ two years as the head man. At the same time, there’s no reason to think Sindelar’s senior season will be void of game-breaking plays. “It definitely makes me feel a lot more confident (throwing) knowing that I have a big target like that to throw to,� teammate and senior quarterback Jake Green said after a recent practice. “He’s athletic and can catch it, and if nobody’s open I know that he’s got a pretty good chance of winning a battle for the ball. “His ability to make plays definitely stood out for us last year.� Indeed, Sindelar emerged as a dependable, tough-to-take-down target for FHS in their limited pass attack in 2018 and he ended up with 22 catches for 579 yards and seven receiving touchdowns. In backto-back games, he went for 132 and 101 yards against Holy Family and Denver North with three of those scores coming in that stretch, as well. The confidence has skyrocketed, as has the attention from colleges which Sindelar further piqued during the camp participation wave this summer. That sparkling 26.3 yards per catch is something he hopes to maintain. “Playing on a heavy run team can be tough with getting touches and such, but I feel like every time I get the ball I can break tackles and have a chance of scoring,� said Sindelar, one of the top receiving

2018 — Valor Christian (5A), Loveland (4A), Palmer Ridge (3A), La Junta (2A), Limon (1A), Sedgwick County (1A 8-man), Stratton/Liberty (1A 6-man) 2017 — Pomona (5A), Pueblo South (4A), Palmer Ridge (3A), Bayfield (2A), Strasburg (1A), Sedgwick County (1A 8-man), Peetz (1A 6-man) 2016 — Valor Christian (5A), Pine Creek (4A), Pueblo East (3A), La Junta (2A), Strasburg (1A), Sedgwick County (1A 8-man), Hi-Plains (1A 6-man) 2015 — Valor Christian (5A), Windsor (4A), Pueblo East (3A), Bayfield (2A), Buena Vista (1A), Sedgwick County (1A 8-man), Eads (1A 6-man) 2014 — Cherry Creek (5A), Pine Creek (4A), Pueblo East (3A), Brush (2A), Paonia (1A), Caliche (1A 8-man), Arikaree/Woodlin (1A 6-man)

the more dominant teams in Class 4A in recent history. The Loveland Indians have won eight or more games in five of the past six seasons under head coach Wayne McGinn and have played for two state championships, winning it all last year. Add in Skyline, who played for the state title and has been a consistent winner under head coach Mike Silva, and the league has two of the best in Class 4A leading the way. Loveland has a new coach, however, in Jeff Mauck. While those two teams will draw the most attention, Silva also believes that other teams will emerge as potential playoff teams. “Monarch can always be counted on as being there, and Fort Collins always seems to have some good athletes, and they have a new coach there,� Silva said. “I think (Loveland, Skyline and Monarch) will be there and Fort Collins will be the question mark to make a run.� Regardless of where you stand on the two leagues, both should be strong yet again in Class 4A in 2019. Brandon Boles: or on Twitter @BrandonBoles.

“We play a lot of crossover league games with (the Long Peaks League), and there is a lot of good 4A football in the northern part of the state.� Blair Hubbard Broomfield head football coach

Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

a Their talent and execution should help growing wide receiver units for both the Falcons and Warriors. Skyline’s Chase Silva, left, and Centaurus’ Nick Faraca enter the 2019 season with the potential to post big numbers through the air.

Silva, Faraca loo oking to light up the night sky in n 4A once again        BY BRAD COCHI BOCOPREPS.COM

Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer

The Monarch Coyotes won a 4A state title in 2012 and is one of the teams that make up the Longs Peak League along with Silver Creek (2012 3A state champ) and Loveland (2018 4A state champ). Meanwhile the Northern League boasts Longmont (2014 4A runner-up) and Windsor (2015 4A state champ).

When players emerge at positions as critical as quarterback, it often signifies a watershed moment for a football team. In 2018, sophomore Chase Silva assumed the starting role after an injury in his team’s season opener and led the resurgent Skyline Falcons to the Class 4A title game. In nearby Lafayette, Centaurus’ junior quarterback Nick Faraca had a strong season for a Warriors team that was in transition and hoping to glimpse some light at the end of a tunnel of losing seasons. Both Silva and Faraca put up some eye-popping numbers last fall. And while they play for teams in different stages of rebuilding efforts, both players enter their respective 2019 campaigns with greater expectations. “Last year was pretty surreal,� Silva said. “I didn’t really expect to be the starter and I ended up playing in the state championship game. Of course, I have expectations for myself this season after getting that experience last year. But really, I just want to help the team win and do what we did last year.� After then-senior quarterback Nate McGregor was injured in the second quarter of Week 1, Silva, who is now a junior, went on to throw for 2,829 yards and 30 touchdowns. Faraca, now a senior, threw for 2,436 yards and 18 touchdowns, and also ran the ball in for nine scores. Both players were top 10 throughout of Colorado in passing yards during a season that saw Fairview’s Aidan Atkinson lead the state with 3,952 yards and an all-time best 55 touchdowns. That’s pretty good company for two relative unknowns to keep. But even now that they face the added pressure of having to back up their impressive personal statistics, both Silva and Faraca remain focused on how they can help their teams. “I’m just really excited for the season,� Faraca said. “I got two new wide receivers and I’m look-

FAB FIVE: WR/TE Top five local underclassmen WR/TE (2018 yards/yards per game): 1. Henry Blackburn, Fairview (890 / 74.2) 2. Braedon Peters, Holy Family (681 / 68.1) 3. Dylan Sindelar (TE), Frederick (579 / 57.9) 4. Sage Yazzie, Longmont (626 / 56.9)* 5. Julian Bell, Niwot (246 / 35.1) * Yazzie will start season at quarterback

targets in all the area in terms of yards gained. “I feel like the coaches really set me up to make plays, and Jake throws great balls. “I feel confident that there’s a mismatch in front of me every week.� While it’s enjoyable to be part of big plays, Sindelar said he takes just as much pride in making an edge block that frees up any of the running backs the Warriors employ throughout the course of a game. Under Peeples, the Warriors have made a steady climb from 6-4 in 2017 to 8-3 and a playoff appearance in 2018, largely because of a grind-it-out methodology. For FHS, the running-back-by-committee also seems to be a key element. Peeples has shown that if you can hold onto the football and find ways to keep churning your legs, your going to get your chance — eight players had at least 14 carries last season. “I think blocking is the most improved part of my game and that I’m a completely different player blocking-wise,� Sindelar said. Frederick begins the season just outside the top 10 in the coaches poll and match up with John F. Kennedy on the road in Week 1. Adam Dunivan: or on Twitter @AdamDunivan24.

“Playing on a heavy run team can be tough with getting touches and such, but I feel like every time I get the ball I can break tackles and have a chance of scoring.� Dylan Sindelar Frederick senior tight end

FAB FIVE: QUARTERBACK Top five returning local quarterbacks. (2018 total yards/yards per game): 1. Aidan Atkinson, Fairview (3,952 / 395.2) 2. Nick Faraca, Centaurus (2,436 / 243.6) 3. Calahan Carter, Holy Family (1,102 / 220.4) 4. Chase Silva, Skyline (2,829 / 202.1) 5. Carter Closson, Silver Creek (844 / 84.4)

Faraca’s responsibility is to help the Warriors turn things around after three straight seasons with four or fewer wins. Both will have to do it without being able to lean on star players from last season. Silva won’t have graduated tailback Jeremy Hollingsworth, who ran for 4,766 yards and scored 66 rushing touchdowns in his Falcons prep career, as well as wide receiver Kyle West, who is third all-time in Colorado with 225 career receptions. “We definitely lost some key guys who were big factors in our offense, for sure,� Silva said. “But we have a lot of guys who are working hard and maybe they’re not as good as them yet, but they definitely have the potential to step up and be what those guys were for our offense. I mean, our system is pretty much our system and maybe we’ll simplify things a little bit for the new guys on offense but I think once we get farther into the year, we should be able to get back to where we were last year.� Faraca won’t be able to throw the ball to Andres Mendoza, who caught 65 passes for 897 yards and six touchdowns in 2018. “It’s just like last year, we just need a couple more players at a couple more positions to step up,� Faraca said. “Our junior class is looking really good and they’re starting to fill in and round out into good football players. We just need a little bit more of that and more leadership around the field. The core groups are there and we just need to continue to push everyone Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer to be better.� Centaurus’ Nick Faraca could surpass 5,000 career passing yards in i the Warriors’ first game of 2019, as he currently sits at 4,804 Silva and Faraca stepping up was crucial for in 20 career games played. their teams’ success in 2018. If they want to drive their teams’ progression onward and ing forward to throwing them into the game and so it would be great to do better than that.� upward this fall, it looks like each young man seeing what they can do. We really want to win Silva’s task this season changes from leading may have to step it up even more. more games this year. My goal, at least, is to win a team on a playoff run after a lengthy drought five and go even on the season. All three years to trying to keep the Falcons among the top Brad Cochi: I’ve started, we’ve won just two or three games teams in 4A competing for state titles annually. or on Twitter @BradCochi.

Adam Dunivan /

Frederick senior Dylan Sindelar averaged 26.3 yards per catch last season and scored seven touchdowns.



receiver Drake Cortez gone, but Eli Bowman (23 receptions, 320 yards, 5 touchdowns) will look to keep it going. The Bulldogs may also lean on the run game with leading rusher Vershon Brooks (616 yards) returning … Greeley West won the league title but will be without its starting quarterback and leading rusher, receiver and tackler, so the team’s depth from last year will be tested … Keep an eye on Windsor’s rushing attack. Three rushers who combined for 1,352 of the team’s 2,521 yards return, including leading rusher Wyett Ekeler (707 yards).

League and team outlook Longs Peak League Teams and trends: Fort Collins, Greeley Central, Loveland, Monarch, Silver Creek, Skyline. Teams from the conference that have won a league title in recent history include Loveland (2018), Windsor (2017), Monarch (2016) and Fort Collins (2015, 2014). 2018 league leaders: Passing yards: Chase Silva, Skyline, 2,829*; Rushing yards: Zach Weinmaster, Loveland, 2,004; Receiving yards: Kyle West, Skyline, 1,285; TD’s: Weinmaster, Loveland, 32; Tackles: Michael Deschene, Loveland, 141; Sacks: Collin Morrison, Loveland, 8; Interceptions: Cody Rakowsky, Loveland, 6. Numbers game: Loveland’s offense got plenty of attention on the way to a state title, but the defense was perhaps the even better part of the team. The Indians gave up 83 points (5.92 points per game) and forced 38 turnovers … If Skyline is to make it back to the state championship game, it may be on the arm of quarterback Chase Silva, who stepped in and threw for 2,829 yards, the fifth most in the entire state. The Falcons averaged 32.5 points per game … Fort Collins showed balance on offense averaging 137 rushing yards and 131 passing yards per game. Hayden Iverson led the team in passing yards (1,298) and rushing yards (650), but the Lambkins are without their top three receivers from last year. *Eligible to return in 2019

Broomfield Eagles Coach: Blair Hubbard The Scorecard: The Eagles were second in the Northern League standings and put up some impressive numbers during the regular season, but the year came to a halt with a first-round upset loss to Chatfield 10-7. Caden Peters had the most explosive plays on offense and should be a dynamic playmaker again, and Hubbard also believes that Zachary Kapushion can step in at quarterback after leading the freshman and JV teams the past two seasons. Numbers are high and the team hopes they can platoon and keep everyone fresh and healthy for the season. If they do, the Eagles should be able to have similar success from last year Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer while trying to avoid another early playoff exit.

Silver Creek’s Michael Tomaszewski. Monarch hopes its youth from last year will pay dividends. Still, Bravo believes the league is stacked with talent and will challenge his team again.

the same page in order to help Silver Creek improve from its two-win total.

Skyline Falcons Coach: Mike Silva The Scorecard: The Falcons Silver Creek Raptors made a push to the state Coach: Brian McGee championship game before The Scorecard: McGee is falling to league rival Loveland back for his second season at the helm of Silver Creek and is at Broncos Stadium at Mile Monarch Coyotes looking to get the Raptors back High. The run to the Coach: Phil Bravo to their contending ways. He is championship game is one that Skyline will use as The Scorecard: The Coyotes looking at his senior class as motivation for everyone are coming off a 5-5 season but good leaders to help that coming back. Chase Silva led hope that experience will help process and returns many the league in passing yards them win a few more games contributors on both sides of and gives the offensive attack a this year. The team is looking at the ball. Quarterback Carter steady presence at a key returning 16 starters. Austin Clossen will anchor the position. Look for Grayden Fiala, Ryan Shaughnessy and Bridwell to emerge as a go-to Max Fredricksmeyer give them offensive side and have another classmate as the target and Michael McKrola, a depth and experience in the returning leading rusher in backfield on offense to build 220-pound running back, to Michael Tomaszewski. The on. As for defense, Monarch give the offense some balance. defense will include Cole Riters Silva is also excited about four returns leading tackler Jack Ewig (103 tackles), but they will and Zach Hirman as the senior returning offensive linemen try to generate more turnovers leaders from last year. McGee with playoff experience. If the and his coaches also worked after only creating 12 during offensive numbers stay the season. With many league this offseason, attending clinics consistent to what they were teams re-tooling in general, last year, the Falcons feel they’ll and camps so they can get on

Longmont Trojans Coach: Doug Johnson The Scorecard: Head coach Doug Johnson returns for his 20th season with Longmont and is focused on improving in all areas to build on a 7-4 record and first-round playoff Northern League exit. Keep a close eye on Teams and trends: Brighton, Brayden Engelking, a leader on Broomfield, Greeley West, the defensive end that Johnson feels can improve even more Longmont, Mountain View, this season. Sage Yazzie will get Windsor. Broomfield has the chance to step in at finished either first or second quarterback and should fill in in their conference in each of nicely this year. Bryce Rhode, the last pine seasons. Aiden Tank and Aiden Gaddis 2018 league leaders: are also back and should step Passing yards: Robbie Coffin, Brighton, 2,153; Rushing yards: up for the Trojans as well. Johnson feels that with the Drake Engelking, Longmont, talent in the league, you have 1,429; Receiving yards: Drake to be able to win in a variety of Cortez, Brighton, 1,003 ; TD’s: ways and compete at the Engelking, Longmont, 21; highest level. Before facing Tackles: Beau Little, Windsor, their Northern League foes, 109; Sacks: Ryan Capasso, Longmont will open the season Broomfield, 9; Interceptions: yet again with powerhouse Darren Peeples, Windsor, 5. Pueblo East on Sept. 5. Numbers game: Brighton’s dynamic passing game could Pioneer League take a hit with quarterback Teams and trends: Centaurus, Fruita Monument, Robbie Coffin and leading have what it takes to make another postseason run, but Loveland will still be the team to beat for them. Those two battle against each other Nov. 9 at Everly-Montgomery Field.

Hinkley, Standley Lake, Thornton, Vista PEAK Prep. Fruita Monument, the league champion last year, has reached the playoffs in each of the past four seasons and won its past two league titles (won 4A’s Mountain League in 2017). 2018 league leaders: Passing yards: Nick Faraca, Centaurus, 2,436*; Rushing yards: Treyton Queen, Fruita Monument, 1,506; Receiving yards: Andres Mendoza, Centaurus, 897; TD’s: Queen, Fruita Monument, 18; Tackles: Harlan Potts, Hinkley, 109; Sacks: Jeremiah Blackwood, Vista PEAK, 18.5; Interceptions: Alex France, Standley Lake, 3. Numbers game: Fruita Monument had the highestscoring offense in the league and averaged 31.4 points per game, but most of that came from Treyton Queen, the graduate who led the league in rushing yards and touchdowns… The most prolific rushing attack returning belongs to Vista PEAK with Gene Sledge Jr. (944 yards, 12 touchdowns) and Ja’derris Carr-Kersh (719 yards, 7 touchdowns). All the players who combined for 2,377 yards and 28 touchdowns return for the Bison … Standley Lake had the second-highest scoring offense in the league but also allowed just over 23 points per game. If the defense is to bounce back, Kevin Starnes will need to lead the way as they do not return their top three tacklers. *Eligible to return in 2019 Centaurus Warriors Coach: Andy Hampton The Scorecard: The Warriors will be young again this year and are hoping to see a deep sophomore class catch up on how to play at the varsity level. One bright spot and leader for the team will be quarterback Nick Faraca as he threw for 2,436 yards and 18 touchdowns. His go-to receivers are expected to be Davian Lujan and Titis Gebhardt, and Hampton is also looking for big seasons from Eddy Zygowicz, Talor Herbstreit, Parker Heslin and Freddy Perez on both sides of the ball. There has been a harder work ethic in the weight room this offseason that the team feels will help them challenge more of their league opponents, but all will be determined by how fast some of the younger players catch on.

5A CAPS FROM PAGE 3E side of the ball, the top four players with the most tackles per game in 2018 are expected to be back with Legacy’s Adam Lynch (9.1 per game), Fairview’s Henry Blackburn (8.1), Fairview’s Brayden Wood (6.9) and Legacy’s Hunter O’Connor (6.2) all returning. Fairview Knights Coach: Tom McCartney The Scorecard: It’s Year 27 for McCartney, who has accumulated a 180-107 record at Fairview. Year 26 was full of the spectacular and fascinating, and the bewildering and cruel. Quarterback Aidan Atkinson and a talented group of wideouts put the state on notice as Atkinson threw for 3,952 yards and a Colorado high school-record 55 touchdowns; the Northwestern commit would likely have gone for more but suffered a seasonending injury in the final game of the regular season. Fairview, with Liam O’Brien at QB, beat Denver East in Round 1 before losing to ThunderRidge for the second time in 2018 in the second round. In 2019, Atkinson is back healthy, and he’ll have the multi-talented Henry Blackburn as a friendly target, but he’ll be without Bryce DesJardins and Matt

season. Through the air, though, they graduated starting quarterback Nick McCarthy as well as Noah Anderson, who had the second-most passing attempts on the team. QB Brayden Harris, who is returning, had the third most attempts with only six. Returning wideouts Jacob Duran, Cole Walker and Jaiden Peterson should help the air attack. Defensively, Hunter O’Connor returns, and he was a monster from the defensive end position with a league-best eight sacks. On the line, Jal Chan and Tyler Weber also return, as do linebackers Adam Lynch and Mason Dickerson.

Fairview’s Brayden Wood, far left. Greenwald, who graduated after being first and second on the team in receiving yards. On the line, new tackle Cole Johnson, CU offensive coordinator Jay Johnson’s son, will be crucial in protecting Atkinson. Brayden Wood should again be a stalwart on the defensive line. Legacy Lightning Coach: Corey Heinz The Scorecard: The

and 22 touchdowns. Smoky Hill’s Obasanjo Sanni* rushed for 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also accounted for 104 points. Westminster’s Nic Lopez averaged a league-most 8.9 yards per carry among runners with at least 100 carries. Defensively, Adams City’s Jacob Marquez had 134 tackles and Smoky Hill’s David Hoage had 24 tackles for loss. Mountain Range’s Diego Torres* had 13 sacks and Northglenn’s Hector Ortega had seven interceptions. Numbers game: Smoky Hill and Denver East both made the state playoffs before bowing out in the opening round. Can the league get a Metro 10 League win in the postseason this Teams and trends: Adams year? Well, last year Denver City, Boulder, Denver East, Far East led the league through Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer Northeast Warriors, Mountain the air with 230 passing yards Range, Northglenn, Prairie per game, but now will be View, Rangeview, Smoky Hill without 2018 starting QB Myles Lightning got off to a bumpy and Westminster. Smoky Hill Patterson. Smoky Hill, start in 2018 under their new coach, Heinz, before rallying for won the league title last year in Northglenn and Rangeview were the only other teams that five straight wins, including an the league’s first year in existence. Since the league is averaged over 100 yards upset win over Mullen in the 10 teams — teams which went through the air. Westminster opening round of the state dominated on the ground at playoffs. In 2019, the Lightning a combined 22-66 the year prior — every team only plays 307 yards per game. Smoky return a few nice pieces to one or two nonconference Hill, Northglenn, the Far their stout rushing attack, games. Northeast Warriors and Boulder including seniors Ian Gilbert 2018 league leaders: were the other league teams and Andrew Kue on the line, and of course Dakota Key, who Offensively, Denver East’s Myles averaging more than 100 yards Patterson threw for 2,508 yards on the ground. had eight 100-yard games last

*Eligible to return in 2019 Boulder Panthers Coach: Ryan Bishop The Scorecard: Under Bishop, the Panthers are looking to change the football culture at the school. He took over the head position just days after Vincent Smith turned in his resignation, and his team showed plenty of reason for optimism in Year 1. In Year 2, Boulder, which went 4-5 in the Metro 10 League and 4-6 overall (a loss to rival Fairview Week 1), has plenty of returners. Shane Provost, a running back who will pretty much play everywhere, leads the group after rushing for 531 yards and accounting for 31 tackles. Wiley Bennett, a defensive back and wideout, and William Ramirez, an outside linebacker and receiver, are back, and are nice prospects. And MLB Manny Arellano, RB/DB Daniel Feenstra and DB/RB Saul Escobar should also be key in helping push the program forward. “We had an amazing offseason, where the team worked to change the culture and the attitude of the program,” Bishop said. “With new defensive and offensive coordinators, we have a fresh look with new systems.”

2019 WEEK-BY-WEEK SCHEDULE WEEK 1 Thursday, Aug. 29 Boulder at Fairview, Recht Field, 5:30 p.m. Sheridan at Prospect Ridge Academy, North Stadium, 6 p.m. Silver Creek at Thomas Jefferson, All City Stadium, 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30 Frederick at Kennedy, All City Stadium, 4 p.m. Broomfield at Legacy, North Stadium, 7 p.m. Evergreen at Erie, 7 p.m. Mead at Lewis-Palmer, 7 p.m. George Washington at Niwot, Everly-Montgomery Field, 7 p.m. Skyline at Westminster, 7 p.m. Holy Family at Pueblo South, 7 p.m. WEEK 2 Thursday, Sept. 5 Ralston Valley at Fairview, Recht Field, 7 p.m. Pueblo East at Longmont, 7 p.m. Monarch at Dakota Ridge, Jeffco Stadium, 6 p.m. Lyons at Sheridan, 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6 Northglenn at Boulder, 7 p.m. Loveland at Broomfield, 7 p.m. Centaurus at Silver Creek, Everly-Montgomery Field, 7 p.m. Pueblo South at Erie, 7 p.m. Legacy at Bothell (Wash.), TBA Skyline at Mead, 7 p.m. Niwot at Greeley Central, District 6 Stadium, 7 p.m. Glenwood Springs at Holy Family, 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 Hayden at Justice, Recht Field, 1 p.m. Flatirons Academy at Prospect Ridge Academy, North Stadium, 1 p.m.

WEEK 3 Thursday, Sept. 12 Legacy at Lakewood, Jefferson County Stadium, 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 Boulder at Mountain Range, 7 p.m. Littleton at Centaurus, 7 p.m. (Homecoming) Erie at Frederick, 7 p.m. ThunderRidge at Fairview, Recht Field, 7 p.m. Justice at Soroco, 7 p.m. Longmont at Fort Collins, French Field, 7 p.m. Evergreen at Mead, 7 p.m. Fort Lupton at Niwot, Everly-Montgomery Field, 7 p.m. Prospect Ridge Academy at Bishop Machebeuf, 4 p.m. Clear Creek at Lyons, 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 Broomfield at Standley Lake, North Area Athletic Complex, noon Monarch at Rampart, 6 p.m. WEEK 4 Thursday, Sept. 19 Justice at Denver Christian, 7 p.m. Denver East at Boulder, 7 p.m. Longmont at Greeley Central, District 6 Stadium, 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20 Centaurus at Widefield, 7 p.m. Weld Central at Frederick, 7 p.m. Fairview at Doherty, Garry Berry Stadium, 7 p.m. Legacy at Eaglecrest, Legacy Stadium, 7 p.m. Mead at Roosevelt, 7 p.m. Holy Family at Discovery Canyon, 7 p.m. Greeley West at Monarch, Spangenberg Field, 7 p.m.

Niwot at Littleton, 7 p.m. Silver Creek at Windsor, 7 p.m. Lyons at Wiggins, 7 p.m. Brighton at Skyline, Everly-Montgomery Field, 7 p.m. WEEK 5 Friday, Sept. 27 Boulder at Westminster, 7 p.m. Monarch at Broomfield, 7 p.m. Wheat Ridge at Centaurus, 7 p.m. Erie at Canon City, 7 p.m. Lyons at Yuma, 7 p.m. Abraham Lincoln at Frederick, 7 p.m. Rock Canyon at Fairview, Recht Field, 7 p.m. (Homecoming) South Park at Justice, Recht Field, 1 p.m. Mountain View at Silver Creek, Lyons High School, 7 p.m. Mountain Vista at Legacy, 7 p.m. Roosevelt at Holy Family, 7 p.m. Skyline at Longmont, 7 p.m. Prospect Ridge Academy at Jefferson, Trailblazer Stadium, 4 p.m. WEEK 6 Thursday, Oct. 3 Smoky Hill at Boulder, 7 p.m. Broomfield at Fort Collins, 6 p.m. Centaurus at Heritage, 6 p.m. Holy Family at Skyline, Everly-Montgomery Field, 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 Mead at Erie, 7 p.m. Frederick at Littleton, 7 p.m. Fairview at Legacy, North Stadium, 7 p.m. (Homecoming) Longmont at Silver Creek, Everly-Montgomery Field, 7 p.m. Gateway at Monarch, Spangenberg Field, 7 p.m. Strasburg at Lyons, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 5 Justice at Dolores Huerta Prep, CSU-Pueblo, 1 p.m. Eagle Valley at Niwot, Everly-Montgomery Field, 1 p.m. The Academy at Prospect Ridge Academy, Five Star Stadium, 1 p.m. (Homecoming) WEEK 7 Thursday, Oct. 10 Legacy at Poudre, French Field, 6 p.m. Monarch at Loveland, Patterson Stadium, 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11 Boulder at Prairie View, 7 p.m. Windsor at Broomfield, 7 p.m. (Homecoming) Centaurus at Fruita Monument, 7 p.m. Northridge at Erie, 7 p.m. Horizon at Fairview, Recht Field, 7 p.m. Niwot at Thompson Valley, 7 p.m. Denver North at Holy Family, 7 p.m. Prospect Ridge Academy at Berthoud, 7 p.m. Flatirons Academy at Lyons, 7 p.m. Silver Creek at Skyline, Everly-Montgomery Field, 7 p.m. Mead at Skyview, 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12 Frederick at Northfield, 2 p.m. Greeley West at Longmont, 1 p.m. (Homecoming) WEEK 8 Thursday, Oct. 17 Holy Family at Frederick, 7 p.m. Fairview at Fossil Ridge, French Field, 6 p.m. Rocky Mountain at Legacy, 7 p.m. Northfield at Mead, 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 Rangeview at Boulder, 7 p.m. (Homecoming)

Broomfield at Mountain View, Patterson Stadium, 7 p.m. Erie at Niwot, Everly-Montgomery Field, 7 p.m. Longmont at Windsor, 7 p.m. Skyline at Monarch, Spangenberg Field, 7 p.m. Greeley Central at Silver Creek, Lyons High School, 7 p.m. Lyons at Estes Park, 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 Vista PEAK Prep at Centaurus, 1 p.m. Front Range Christian at Justice, Recht Field, 1 p.m. University at Prospect Ridge Academy, North Stadium, 1 p.m. WEEK 9 Thursday, Oct. 24 Poudre at Fairview, Recht Field, 7 p.m. Monarch at Fort Collins, French Field, 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25 Boulder at Far Northeast, 7 p.m. Greeley West at Broomfield, 7 p.m. Thornton at Centaurus, 7 p.m. Erie at Roosevelt, 7 p.m. Denver North at Frederick, 7 p.m. Justice at Elbert, 7 p.m. Legacy at Fossil Ridge, French Field, 7 p.m. Longmont at Brighton, 7 p.m. Holy Family at Mead, 7 p.m. Northridge at Niwot, Everly-Montgomery Field, 7 p.m. Prospect Ridge Academy at Eaton, 7 p.m. Skyline at Greeley Central, District 6 Stadium, 7 p.m. Highland at Lyons, 7 p.m. Silver Creek at Loveland, Patterson Stadium, 7 p.m. WEEK 10 Thursday, Oct. 31 Fairview at Rocky Mountain, 6 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 1 Fort Collins at Skyline, Everly-Montgomery Field, 7 p.m. Adams City at Boulder, 7 p.m. Brighton at Broomfield, 7 p.m. Thompson Valley at Erie, 7 p.m. Frederick at Skyview, 7 p.m. Horizon at Legacy, North Stadium, 7 p.m. Mountain View at Longmont, 7 p.m. Mead at Denver North, All City Stadium, 7 p.m. Silver Creek at Monarch, Spangenberg Field, 7 p.m. Niwot at Fort Morgan, Legion Field, 7 p.m. Northfield at Holy Family, 7 p.m. Lyons at The Pinnacle, 7 p.m. Resurrection Christian at Prospect Ridge Academy, Five Star Stadium, 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2 Centaurus at Hinkley, Aurora Public Stadium, TBA Pikes Peak Christian at Justice, Recht Field, 1 p.m. WEEK 11* Thursday, Nov. 7 Broomfield at Longmont, 6:30 p.m. Monarch at Greeley Central, District 6 Stadium, 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8 Standley Lake at Centaurus, 7 p.m. Fort Morgan at Erie, 7 p.m. Frederick at Mead, 7 p.m. Niwot at Roosevelt, 7 p.m. Skyview at Holy Family, 7 p.m. Fort Collins at Silver Creek, Everly-Montgomery Field, 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 Loveland at Skyline, Everly-Montgomery Field, 1 p.m. *1A/2A/5A begin playoffs this week


Brad Cochi tackles his favorite area rivalries                 BY BRAD COCHI BOCOPREPS.COM Who doesn’t like a good rivalry, am I right? I sure do. With the 2019 high school football season right around the corner, here’s a quick look at a few of my favorites in the area.

Broomfield-Legacy This battle between Broomfield’s two biggest schools is always a good one, and six of the last 11 games between these teams have been decided by five or fewer points. Last year, however, Broomfield won 55-14 to snap a five-year streak of Legacy holding onto the Mayor’s Cup. Sadly, it sounds like this cross-classification clash between the Eagles and the Lightning will not be renewed for the upcoming two cycles. So for fans of this rivalry, come out to next Friday’s season opener to see where the Mayor’s Cup will rest for at least the next few years. “I’ve been through three of those games and the atmosphere is just incredible for the community,� Broomfield coach Blair Hubbard said. “You get a lot of alumni coming back and it’s a big boost for our booster club whenever we host it. It’s a big game every year but it’s got a little extra this year because it’ll be the last one, at least for a couple cycles.�

Erie-Frederick The Miners Trophy! From 2011-13, Frederick dominated this series but Erie has won the past five contests including a 43-16 victory in last year’s game. But I, for one, am expecting this year’s game on Sept. 13 to be much closer with Frederick looking stronger coming off an 8-3 season and Erie looking to reload

Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer

The Longmont Trojans and Silver Creek Raptors will get after each other once again this season, this time on Oct. 4 at Everly-Montgomery Field.

after graduating a ton of talented seniors including alleverything star Noah Roper.

Boulder-Fairview Dating back to 2005, Fairview has won 13 of 14 meetings between these two cross-town rivals and the games have grown increasingly lopsided in recent years including a 42-7 victory over the Panthers last season. But with the Boulder program seemingly on an upswing, Panthers head coach Ryan Bishop thinks there’s reason to be hopeful they can make this annual contest a bit more competitive in the coming years. “One of our ultimate goals

WHO’S YOUR RIVAL? Rivalry games get going as soon as opening week in 2019. Here’s a list, by date, of some sure-to-be hotly contested affairs: Aug. 29 — Boulder vs. Fairview, Recht Field, 5:30 p.m. Aug. 30 — Broomfield at Legacy, North Stadium, 7 p.m. Sept. 6 — Skyline at Mead, 7 p.m. Sept. 13 — Erie at Frederick, 7 p.m. Sept. 27 — Monarch at Broomfield, 7 p.m. Sept. 27 — Skyline at Longmont, 7 p.m. Oct. 4 — Longmont at Silver Creek, 7 p.m. Oct. 25 — Holy Family at Mead, 7 p.m. Oct. 25 — Thornton at Centaurus, 7 p.m.

is to start putting it all together and put a competitive product out there and luckily for us, that starts with them because we get them Week 1 this season,� Bishop said. “I think that this year, more than any other recent year, we’re more confident than we have been.�

Seventh-ranked Fairview’s stable of Division-I talent led by record-setting quarterback Aidan Atkinson and two-way stud Henry Blackburn will have something to say about that when the Knights host the Panthers to kick off the 2019 campaign next Thursday at Recht Field.

League and team outlook Northern Metro League Teams and trends: Denver North, Frederick, Holy Family, Mead, Northfield, Skyview. During their time in the Northern Metro and the TriValley before that, Mead and Holy Family have combined to win three straight conference titles. 2018 league leaders: Passing yards: Erik Flores, Denver North, 2,240; Rushing yards: Nathan Bailey, Mead, 959*; Receiving yards: Keon Brickens, Denver North, 1,062; TD’s: Kyle Helbig, Holy Family, 22; Tackles: Devon Edwards, Mead, 147*; Sacks: Brian Guevara, Skyview, 5.5*; Interceptions: Trey Ward, Mead, 8*. Numbers game: Last year’s Northern Metro featured a bunch of teams that liked to utilize multiple ball carriers in their ground attack and none of last year’s top six rushers — Nathan Bailey (Mead), Brandon Hornby (Frederick), Trevin Johnson (Holy Family), Trey Odell (Frederick), Jake Wachter (Mead) and Brian Guevara (Skyview) — graduated at the end of last school year ... Primarily on the strength of its run game, Frederick led the league with 4,579 total yards in 2018 ... The Warriors also gave up the fewest points with 162 scored against them, or 14.7 per game. *Eligible to return in 2019 Frederick Warriors Coach: Travis Peeples The Scorecard: In each of the past two seasons under third-year head coach Travis Peeples, the Frederick Warriors have increased their win total. In the first round of last fall’s postseason, however, they fell 34-31 to Discovery Canyon in double-overtime, coming up just short of the program’s first playoff victory since 2011. So while the Warriors are still chasing playoff success, they

return the bulk of last year’s roster and this year’s team is shaping up to be deeper, more talented and have more senior leadership than in recent years. Frederick’s running back group is led by Brandon Hornby, who averaged 13.1 yards per carry in 2018, and the Warriors have a solid offensive line flanked by a potential Division-I prospect in tight end Dylan Sindelar. Defensively, the Warriors believe their four-senior linebacker group to be the strength of this year’s team. They’ve been building and the Warriors feel really good about their potential this fall. Holy Family Tigers Coach: Mike Gabriel The Scorecard: Holy Family lost in the first round of the 2018 state postseason, which has the Tigers feeling like they have something to prove this fall. In order to do so, the squad will have to make up for the significant production it lost with the graduation of star player Kyle Helbig, who is now at CSU. The Tigers, who are ranked No. 9 in the preseason poll, also graduated their top two leading tacklers from 2018. But while they may be inexperienced at the skill positions on both sides of the ball, head coach Mike Gabriel feels he has a solid group of veterans returning. Running back Trevin Johnson, who rushed for 793 yards as a sophomore last season, is one of several returning players to keep an eye on. Senior quarterback Calahan Carter and senior wide receiver Braeden Peters are two others. Even though the Tigers bowed out in the first round last year, they still posted seven wins and something similar will likely be the standard once again. Mead Mavericks Coach: Jason Klatt The Scorecard: The Mavericks were a young team but still reached the state quarterfinals last season and did so by running the ball a ton, so expect more of that in 2019 as the Mead boys enter

This may seem like a weird one because the everchanging classification and league alignments make developing consistent rivalry series tricky between these teams. But especially with Skyline playing in last year’s 4A title game, Mead’s emergence and historically strong programs like Longmont and Silver Creek all playing in the same area, it’s always fun to see which team makes it the furthest. “Anybody within the Longmont area, the teams that all play at Everly-Montgomery, those are all great rivalry games,� Longmont coach Doug Johnson said. “We’ve got a good tradition

of football around here so those rivalries have been around a long time and it gets really good when all the teams around here are good.� A touch of rivalry always adds a dynamic that makes any contest a bit more intriguing and there are plenty of other good ones in the area like a fun thing developing between Holy Family and Mead in recent years, Centaurus and Thornton looking forward to seeing one another after last year’s 4035 conference slugfest ... the list goes on. So here’s to an exciting 2019 season. May all your scores be settled.



Pretty much all the teams in the Longmont area

the season ranked fifth. Quarterback Brady Veltien, as well as tailbacks Nathan Bailey and Jake Wachter, were a trio that combined for 57 percent of the Mavericks’ offensive yards in 2018 and are all back. Senior Devon Edwards, who led the Mavericks with 147 total tackles, is also returning. This year’s Mead team has good line depth and plenty of solid seniors who should provide leadership and playoff experience for what figures to be a tough schedule. Mead has reached the playoffs, and more often than not has advanced quite far, for the past four seasons. The Mavericks have every intention of pushing that streak to five this fall. North Valley League Teams and trends: Erie, Fort Morgan, Niwot, Northridge, Roosevelt, Thompson Valley. In the ever-fluctuating world of 3A football league alignments, Fort Morgan has finished either first or second in its league for seven straight years while playing in four different conferences over that span. 2018 league leaders: Passing yards: Isaac Linker, Fort Morgan, 1,214; Noah Roper, Erie, 2,226; Receiving yards: Trey Kreikemeier, Thompson Valley, 468*; TD’s: Roper, Erie (37); Tackles: Connor Doucette, Roosevelt, 88; Sacks: Garrett Padgett, Roosevelt, 6.5*; Interceptions: Kaleb Fuhrmann, Erie, 4. Numbers game: Despite having just two teams finish the 2018 season with winning records, the North Valley saw four teams — Erie, Fort Morgan, Roosevelt and Northridge — receive votes in the CHSAA preseason rankings poll ... Over the course of last season, Erie scored an incredible 382 more points than it allowed and the Tigers outscored their five conference opponents 229-44 ... Niwot was 3-2 entering conference play last season and finished at 3-7 ... Thompson Valley (2-8) led the league with 1,556 passing yards in 2018. *Eligible to return in 2019

Erie Tigers Coach: Chad Cooper The Scorecard: The big question for the Erie football team in 2019 is how will they retool after graduating a number of talented seniors including two-way standout Noah Roper? Still, the Tigers have reached the state semifinals or further in back-toback seasons and head coach Chad Cooper says deep playoff runs will continue to be the expectation. Erie also enters the season ranked fourth in 3A so the Tigers are the early favorites to repeat as league champions. Overall, the Tigers won’t be as experienced as in recent years but quarterback Gavin Mendoza, at least, will be after throwing for 550 yards and 10 touchdowns last fall. Cooper likes what he has in terms of speed at the skill positions and a solid core of interior linemen, and it will be interesting to see how the Tigers develop into the balanced squad they hope to become. Niwot Cougars Coach: Jeremy Lanter The Scorecard: The Cougars have been mired in a rough stretch for nearly a decade but last season’s three wins were a significant improvement over the 0-10 campaign in 2017 that preceded it. Hoping to build on that in their third season under Jeremy Lanter, NHS return the bulk of its offensive production from last season including quarterback Ayden Bartko, tailback Liam Flanagan and receiver Jarrett Noterman. Offensively, they expect to be more explosive but the Cougars are reloading at the linebacker position so Niwot’s defense will be young in 2019. Lanter was clear that the next game is the most important game Niwot will play at this point. The Cougars’ first five non-league opponents this season had a combined 12-37 record in 2018 so hopefully they can get off to a good start and build some momentum heading into conference play.

First Team Offense (Name, 2018-19 class, school ) QB Aidan Atkinson, Jr., Fairview; QB Chase Silva, So., Skyline; RB Drake Engelking, Sr., Longmont; RB Dakota Key, Jr., Legacy; RB Noah Roper, Sr., Erie; RB Jeremy Hollingsworth, Sr., Skyline; WR Bryce DesJardins, Sr., Fairview; WR Matt Greenwald, Sr., Fairview; WR Andres Mendoza, Sr., Centaurus; WR Kyle West, Sr., Skyline; TE Jack Smith, Sr., Legacy; OL Nate Hackney, Sr., Erie; OL Ricky Childers, Sr., Skyline; OL James Masciarelli, Sr., Fairview; OL Davis Elliott, Sr., Monarch; OL Preston Hall, Sr., Mead. First Team Defense (Name, 2018-19 class, school ) DL Hunter O’Connor, Jr., Legacy; DL Jay Olson, Sr., Mead; DL Logan Robinson, Sr., Frederick; DL Telvin Townsend, Sr., Longmont; DL Brayden Wood, So., Fairview; LB Ryan Capasso, Sr., Broomfield; LB Ashton Nichols, Sr., Fairview; LB Ethan Drewes, Sr., Skyline; LB Devon Edwards, Jr., Mead; DB Jack Ewig, Sr., Monarch; DB Kaleb Fuhrmann, Sr., Erie; DB Cole Riters, Sr., Silver Creek; DB Trey Ward, Sr., Mead. First Team Athletes/Specialists (Name, 2018-19 class, school ) ATH Kyle Helbig, Sr., Holy Family; ATH Cruz Garcia, Sr., Longmont; ATH Henry Blackburn, Jr., Fairview; K Julian Custine, Sr., Erie; P Matthew McCarthy, Sr., Boulder; KR Jack Wathen, Sr., Skyline. Honorable mention Brian Acosta, Sr., K/P, Justice; Christian Adams, Sr., P, Silver Creek; Nathan Bailey, So., RB, Mead; Tyler Banks, Sr., OL/DL, Fairview; Alex Bishard, Sr., OL/DL, Legacy; Spencer Brooks, Sr., OL/LB, Erie; Jonathan Carillo, Sr., OL/DL, Niwot; Dante Ciaravola, Sr., ATH, Frederick; Asher Cook, Sr., DL, Centaurus; Steven Croell, Sr., QB, Broomfield; Sebastian Dalton, Sr., DL/RB, Holy Family; Oakley Dehning, Sr., QB, Longmont; Matt Delgado, Sr., DL, Holy Family; Mario Diaz, Sr., ATH, Justice; Brennen Dibella, Sr., OL, Mead; Sam Dirkes, Sr., DL, Silver Creek; Will Drewes, Jr., LB, Skyline; Luke Dunker, Jr., K, Frederick; Matthew Eich, So., K, Broomfield; Zach Ellis, Sr., OL/ DL, Fairview; Brayden Engelking, Jr., LB, Longmont; Nick Faraca, Jr., QB, Centaurus; Austin Fiala, Jr., RB, Monarch; Beck Fieth, Sr., WR, Longmont; Liam Gray, So., K, Holy Family; Isaac Hesse, Sr., OL/ DL, Skyline; Sean Holbrook, Jr., LB/RB, Frederick; Brandon Hornby, Jr., RB, Frederick; Tanner Leise, Sr., DE, Mead; Dillon Lucas, Sr., RB/LB, Prospect Ridge; Nicholas McCarthy, Sr., QB, Legacy; Ian McDonald, Sr., LB, Erie; Nate McGregor, Sr., ATH, Skyline; Anthony Montoya, Sr., WR/DB, Centaurus; Jaymeson Nelms, Sr., TE/DE, Erie; Adrian Nii, Jr., P, Monarch; Rex Olinger, Sr., LB, Silver Creek; Gavin Orbus, Sr., OL, Holy Family; Trevor Ordway, Sr., OL, Silver Creek; Caden Peters, Jr., WR, Broomfield; Braedon Peters, Jr., WR/KR, Holy Family; Shane Provost, Jr., ATH, Boulder; Ryan Ruger, Sr., OL, Broomfield; Eric Ruiz, Jr., ATH, Niwot; Tyshawn Silva, Sr., ATH, Justice; Dylan Sindelar, Jr., TE/DE, Frederick; Preston Stansel, Sr., ATH, Boulder; Lucas Steiner, Sr., LB, Niwot; Jake Steinmetz, Sr., CB/WR, Boulder; Trey Stewart, Jr., LB, Monarch; Dylan Torres, Sr., RB, Broomfield; Jake Wachter, Jr., RB, Mead.


CHSAA revamps playoff seeding process, again    

        BY BRAD COCHI BOCOPREPS.COM Which teams make the postseason and which don’t, and where teams are seeded, is always one of the hotbutton topics of debate in prep sports. While no one can ever seem to completely agree, and probably never fully will, that debate is part of what makes the emotionally-charged world of prep sports so much fun. Starting with football this season, the Colorado High School Activities Association is attempting to clarify the playoff seeding debate a bit by adding more criteria to the seeding process. A single seeding committee will seed all classifications from 1A through 5A based these four equallyweighted (25 percent each) criteria: final RPI rankings, final rankings, final Packard rankings and a poll of all head coaches in each classification being seeded. This new system is intended to create a more unified and consistent approach to playoff seeding. It also relies on Colorado’s football coaches to remain objective in their voting. So, will they be? “I think there’s been issues for the last few years of some teams making the playoffs and with seeding as well,� Erie head coach Chad Cooper said. “CHSAA is always trying to make it better and I think it’s good that they’re involving the coaches because who knows the teams better than all the coaches in a classification? “You just hope that the coaches can remain objective. At the end of the year, the CHSAA poll usually reflects pretty accurately where the teams stand so if the voting is a little off, it would be easy to tell right away if people aren’t being truthful. But I don’t think we’ll have a problem because we’re all in this together and we’re all motivated to be objective because you always want

Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

Jake Green and the Frederick Warriors were one of four local 3A teams to make the 16-team playoff field in 2018. The introduction of new criteria for seeding in all classifications is something the CHSAA hopes creates the best possible brackets, according to assistant commissioner Adam Bright.

“I think there’s been issues for the last few years of some teams making the playoffs and with seeding as well.� Chad Cooper Erie head football coach other coaches to treat your team fairly and that starts with how you treat them.� Cooper’s belief that giving the coaches themselves more say in playoff seeding is likely to be a good thing, seems to be the prevailing sentiment among Colorado’s football coaches. Adam Bright, the new CHSAA assistant commissioner in charge of football, agrees.

He also thinks the addition of other criteria like rankings and the Packard rankings — created by Erik Packard, an associate professor of mathematics at Colorado Mesa — will help create a more effective system. “In an effort to strengthen our football seeding, it was determined by our football committee that three addi-

tional data sources were necessary,� Bright said. “While conducting research in how to better seed our playoffs, this new seeding process matched up very closely with the actual outcomes on the field in the previous seasons. “The coaches have some of the best information necessary for greater accuracy, and we wanted to make sure their voices were heard in the seeding process. The key aspect to the new seeding process will be the integrity of all data points and people involved, and the Association trusts its coaches.�

2018 5A-3A PLAYOFF QUALIFIERS (Final regular season record in parentheses) 5A — 1. Valor Christian (10-0); 2. Columbine (10-0); 3. Cherry Creek (9-1); 4. Eaglecrest (9-1); 5. Grandview (9-1); 6. Ralston Valley (8-2); 7. Pomona (6-4); 8. ThunderRidge (8-2); 9. Fairview (9-1); 10. Arvada West (6-4); 11. Cherokee Trail (7-3); 12. Mullen (4-6); 13. Arapahoe (5-5); 14. Castle View (7-3); 15. Highlands Ranch (3-7); 16. Regis Jesuit (6-4); 17. Smoky Hill (10-0); 18. Doherty (5-5); 19. Fountain-Fort Carson (5-5); 20. Lakewood (3-7); 21. Legacy (4-6); 22. Poudre (4-6); 23. Legend (5-5); 24. Denver East (8-2). 4A — 1. Pine Creek (9-1); 2. Loveland (10-0); 3. Greeley West (8-2); 4. Broomfield (8-2); 5. Ponderosa (8-2); 6. Montrose (9-1); 7. Fruita Monument (8-2); 8. Pueblo West (8-2); 9. Skyline (7-3); 10. Grand Junction Central (7-3); 11. Dakota Ridge (6-4); 12. Longmont (7-3); 13. Chatfield (7-3); 14. Standley Lake (7-3); 15. Rampart (7-3); 16. Heritage (8-2). 3A — 1. Palisade (9-1); 2. Pueblo East (8-2); 3. Erie (10-0); 4. Palmer Ridge (8-2); 5. Harrison (10-0); 6. Green Mountain (8-2); 7. Discovery Canyon (8-2); 8. Evergreen (6-4); 9. Mead (7-3); 10. Frederick (8-2); 11. Thomas Jefferson (8-2); 12. Holy Family (73); 13. Pueblo South (5-5); 14. Durango (6-4); 15. Lewis-Palmer (6-4); 16. Fort Morgan (8-2).



League and team outlook

Top five local returning scorers. (2018 touchdowns): 1. Henry Blackburn, Fairview (17 TDs) 2. Brandon Hornby, Frederick (15 TDs) 3. Jake Wachter, Mead (13 TDs) 4. Nathan Bailey, Mead (13 TDs) 5. Dakota Key, Legacy (13 TDs)

Class 2A Patriot West League Teams and trends: Berthoud, Eaton, Prospect Ridge Academy, Resurrection Christian, The Academy and University. Since the league was created in 2016, Resurrection Christian has won the title twice and Eaton has won it once. The Miners will have to make a leap to contend after winning three league games in three years. 2018 league leaders: Offensively, The Academy’s Brandon Boston* threw for 1,800 yards and 16 touchdowns. Resurrection Christian’s Kyle Lueck rushed for 892 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Academy’s Grady Mandl had 747 receiving yards, while Resurrection Christian’s Zane Zuhlke caught seven touchdowns and accounted for 70 of his team’s points. Defensively, Berthoud’s Brock Johnson had 115 tackles and teammate Ty Beaman had 12 sacks. Zuhlke had 10 interceptions. Numbers game: Resurrection Christian was tied with Loveland in the state for most interceptions last season with 24. The national leader had 31, per MaxPreps. *Eligible to return in 2019

FAB FIVE: DEFENDERS Top five local returning defenders. (2018 tackles per game): 1. Devon Edwards, Mead (12.3) 2. Jack Ewig, Monarch (10.3) 3. Adam Lynch, Legacy (9.1) 4. Hall Edmonds, Broomfield (8.4) 5. Henry Blackburn, Fairview (8.1) 2019 MaxPreps roster, including QB/WR/CB Colton Bashor, kicker Alexa Karsel, RB/ Joe Amon / THE DENVER POST LB Joey Applen, WR/DB Matt Justice Phoenix head coach Nels Thoreson, center, continues to be a positive influence on his players in his seventh Izatt, RB/LB Isaac Paswaters and OL/DT Trevor Woelfle. season. but many of our twos and threes are either new to football or have not played in years.� Despite that, he has a handful of talented starters returning, including two-way lineman James Luehr, RB/LB Seth Hagan, OL/DL Evan Walls, QB/DE/DB Dylan Meredith, C/DE Deklan Wilk and OL/DL Greyden Sautter. “Going into the 2019 season we feel that our line play on both sides of the ball will be our biggest strength,� Storer said. “Our linemen are starting their second year in the system and are looking great. Outside of our line, we have some outside speed that will be beneficial.� He added: “The culture our football team has created will also foster some success for us on and off the field.�

Prospect Ridge Miners Coach: Mike Storer The Scorecard: The Miners are looking to improve on 2018 when they went 1-8 overall and 0-5 in league. Storer, in his Northern League second year at the helm, Teams and trends: Estes doesn’t have a plethora of Park, Flatirons Academy, depth on his squad, saying “we Highland, Lyons, Strasburg and have good numbers this year, The Pinnacle. Strasburg has not

Class 1A

lost a league game since its inception in 2016. Before that, the Indians were in the 2A Frontier League; Lyons, Estes Park and Flatirons Academy played in the 1A Metro League; and Highland was in the 1A North Central League. The Pinnacle, meanwhile, played in the 2A Patriot West League prior to 2018. 2018 league leaders: Offensively, Flatirons Academy’s Zach Dube threw for 639 yards and Strasburg’s Michael Spence aired out seven touchdowns. Spence also rushed for 752 yards and 14 touchdowns, accumulating 102 points for his team. Estes Park’s Calum Torrey* had 442 receiving yards and Strasburg’s Michael Burns* caught five touchdowns. Defensively, Strasburg’s Wyatt Warren had 83 tackles and The Pinnacle’s Ivan Martinez Pantaleon had 25 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. The Pinnacle’s Diego Santander*, Flatirons Academy’s Trevor Ryan* and Strasburg’s Jon Walters each

had five interceptions. Numbers game: Strasburg allowed on average 11.1 points per game in league in 2016 and 2017. Last year, it reduced it to an average of just 3.8 points. *Eligible to return in 2019

Class 1A 8-man

Central League Teams and trends: Elbert, Front Range Christian, Justice, Rocky Mountain Lutheran and South Park. Since being named the 8-man Central League in 2014, many teams have come and gone. No team, however, Lyons Lions has won the league title twice. Coach: Jason Yantzer In its five years, there has been The Scorecard: The Lions five different champs. need a jumpstart. They finished 2018 league leaders: winless in 2018, getting Offensively, Front Range outscored, 435-39. So, Christian’s Luke Hiltman* threw something good early into the for 2,079 yards and 28 2019 season might serve as a touchdowns. South Park’s nice lift — however, for that to Daigen Springer rushed for happen, that something might 1,112 yards and teammate have to come on the road. The Camren Rullan had 14 TD’s on Lions begin the season with the ground. Front Range four straight on the road, (five Christian’s CJ Hoff* had 1,204 including a scrimmage), per receiving yards and caught 17 touchdowns. Hoff accounted MaxPreps, traveling to Sheridan, Clear Creek, Wiggins for 144 points. Defensively, Justice’s Mario Diaz had 129 and Yuma. When they do tackles, 15 for loss. Rocky finally get home, they’ll host Mountain Lutheran’s Luke league and state power Hahm* had eight sacks and Strasburg on Oct. 4. It’s never Hoff had eight interceptions. easy. The Lions, meanwhile, Numbers game: The winner have just six seniors on their

of the league title has gone undefeated inside league every year since its inception in 2014. That includes 2018 champ Front Range Christian, which, along with Justice, were the only teams in the league with more passing than rushing yards. Justice Phoenix Coach: Nels Thoreson The Scorecard: Thoreson says it every year, “I truly never know who I truly have until the first practice.� Why? Justice is made up of students coming from tough circumstances and the team is made up of at-risk students who have been spurned by the traditional school system. Issues range from home problems, to past school concerns, to legal ones — fluctuation and uncertainty on the football team is commonplace. Thoreson expects returning starters in TE/DE Marc Rodriguez, QB/WR/ LB Angel Garcia, OL/DL Larry Cortez, OL/DL Misael Huerta and OL/DE Pedro Barraza. The coach said these returners, size on the line, as well as the senior leadership of Rodriguez and Huerta will be a strength. Chemistry and experience in the skill positions, meanwhile, will be a weakness.

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