High School Sports

Watch: Post Preps Gameday previews Broomfield vs. Monarch football game
Post Preps Gameday was out at Broomfield High School on Thursday previewing their football game against Monarch High School. Tim Jenkins is hosted the show, filling in for Preps Editor Kyle Newman. The Denver Post will live stream the game, beginning at 7 p.m., on the Post Preps Game of the Week. Be sure to “Like” our Denver Post Prep Sports Facebook page and turn on page notifications to make sure you never miss a broadcast. Related ArticlesSeptember 27, 2017 Colorado Prep Football Preview: Top Week 5 games to watch September 26, 2017 Loveland football hungry for perfection after last season’s 9-1 record left Indians out of Class 4A playoffs September 26, 2017 Concussions, controversy will lead to decline in high school football participation, CU study says September 26, 2017 Watch Live: No. 5 Monarch vs. No. 6 Broomfield in Class 4A football on the Post Preps Game of the Week September 25, 2017 Following dispute over Confederate flag at prep football game, CHSAA commissioner says both sides must agree on the facts [...]
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Colorado Prep Football Preview: Top Week 5 games to watch
Denver Post preps editor Kyle Newman breaks down the biggest games to watch in Week 5 of the 2017 Colorado high school football season. Rangeview (0-4) at Gateway (2-2), Thursday 6:30 p.m., APS Stadium: The Anvil traveling trophy is up for grabs again as Rangeview looks for its ninth straight victory in the rivalry series, and the Raiders will lean on senior quarterback Jaelin Odegard and senior running back David Aggrey to make plays against the Olympians, who are coming off a convincing 31-13 thrashing of Vista PEAK Prep. Listen to this game live on Post Preps Radio. Related ArticlesSeptember 26, 2017 Loveland football hungry for perfection after last season’s 9-1 record left Indians out of Class 4A playoffs September 26, 2017 Concussions, controversy will lead to decline in high school football participation, CU study says September 26, 2017 Watch Live: No. 5 Monarch vs. No. 6 Broomfield in Class 4A football on the Post Preps Game of the Week September 25, 2017 Following dispute over Confederate flag at prep football game, CHSAA commissioner says both sides must agree on the facts September 25, 2017 Listen: Rangeview vs. Gateway football in an Aurora rivalry on the Post Preps Radio Game of the Week Broomfield (2-2) at Monarch (4-0), Thursday 7 p.m., Warrior Stadium: In a top-tier Class 4A showdown, a pair of heavyweight running attacks battle as junior Dylan Torres and No. 6 Broomfield take on senior Cole Polluconi and No. 5 Monarch in a game won 28-10 by the Eagles last year. This also could be a preview of a potential 4A playoff bout down the line. Watch this game live on Post Preps TV. Dakota Ridge (1-3) at Wheat Ridge (1-3), Thursday 7 p.m., Jeffco Stadium: This 4A Jeffco rivalry features two programs with deceiving sub-.500 records. Coach Ron Woitalewicz’s Eagles are headlined by senior quarterback Drew Dominic and senior middle linebacker Bryan Barger, while coach Stacy Coryell’s Farmers have a do-everything stud in senior running back/linebacker/returner Payton Dietrich. Cherry Creek (3-1) at Valor Christian (4-0), Friday 7 p.m., Valor Stadium: Two of the state’s most storied programs meet once again in a 5A top-five showdown between the No. 5 Bruins and the top-ranked Eagles. Valor Christian must focus on containing the potency of Cherry Creek junior quarterback Alex Padilla, while the Bruins have plenty to worry about on defense as well — especially when it comes to limiting big plays from Eagles junior running back Joshia Davis. Widefield (4-0) at Chatfield (3-1), Friday 7 p.m., Jeffco Stadium: With last week’s takedown of 5A rival Columbine, No. 3 Chatfield put the state on notice that it’s a legitimate threat to dethrone juggernaut Pine Creek as the 4A state champions. Senior quarterback Colton Arne and senior linebacker Cameron Lucas headline as the Chargers take on a rising Widefield squad led by senior quarterback/defensive back T.J. Davis and senior linebacker John Underwood. [...]
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Loveland football hungry for perfection after last season’s 9-1 record left Indians out of Class 4A playoffs
Loveland football feels the pressure of the playoffs every time the Indians take the field because, the way the Indians see it, every game is a playoff game. That’s the type of hyperfocus the team must have after last season’s 9-1 record failed to earn them a Class 4A playoff spot, a snub that was a direct result of first year of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) being used to determine the state bracket. “Ever since we figured out that we didn’t make the playoffs, we’ve had our minds set on going 10-0 this year,” junior tight end and linebacker Trey Cardenas said. “Our goal is perfection every night, in every aspect, because we have to prove that one loss can’t be the reason we don’t make the playoffs. We can’t leave anything to chance.” Loveland, ranked No. 8 in the Prep Power Rankings and slotted at 11th in the latest 2017 RPI, is off to a 4-0 start and playing with the perfectionist mindset Cardenas describes. But to truly understand why this season’s Tribe might be equipped to add to Loveland’s football legacy — the program has six state titles to its credit, but none since 2003 — requires a glimpse back to Oct. 30, 2015, a date on which the Indians entered its penultimate regular season game at 3-5, looking like they had a lost fall in front of them. Somehow, in a 49-15 victory over a mismatched Adams City squad that night, the Indians found their swagger again. They’ve won 18 of their 20 games since that day, including four more consecutive wins in 2015 before eventually falling to Windsor in the championship game. “When we got it going towards the end of our season a couple years ago — that’s how we started the run last year, and we want to keep it going this year,” fifth-year coach Wayne McGinn said. “The difference this year is that we’re gelled right now and we already have it going, while a couple years ago at halfway through the season, something just had to click.” Senior linemen Kyle LeVault (6-1, 240) and Jayden Manu (6-5, 300) set the tone in the trenches for an Indians team that’s deep with skill players, although Manu has been sidelined for the past couple weeks with an injury. Offensively, junior quarterback Riley Kinney is surrounded by senior running back Zach Weinmaster, sophomore running back Jojo Bork and junior wideout Caleb Smith. “It’s really hard for people to load up on one or the other,” McGinn said, “because they’ve got to defend both, the run and the pass. And once we get Manu back, hopefully in a couple weeks, we’re going to be really strong.” Meanwhile, while the Indians’ defense is defined by Cardenas and senior cornerback Karl Dunlap, and the play of that unit — which has just allowed just three touchdowns this season. They’ll continue to be crucial, especially as Loveland’s ‘circle game’ against Broomfield looms Oct. 6 at Elizabeth Kennedy Stadium. The 2016 state runner-up Eagles were Loveland’s lone loss last year, and while the Indians realize a win over Broomfield would be big for their RPI, they aren’t looking past their upcoming Week 5 bout against Mountain View. “The week-to-week hard work that we put in is important — we’ve bought into that work ethic, and we’ll see how far that can take us,” Zach Weinmaster said. “All of our guys are excited for that (Broomfield) game, but we’ve got to focus one week at a time, and that starts with a big cross-town rivalry with Mountain View.” Friday’s affair against the Mountain Lions (2-2) kicks off at 7 p.m. at Ray Patterson Field. [...]
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Weekly Colorado Preps Primer: Games to watch for Sept. 26-30
The following is a look at the marquee games this week in softball, volleyball and boys soccer in Class 5A and Class 4A. (All rankings and records are current as of Monday.) SOFTBALL Legacy (11-2) at Broomfield (10-4), Thursday 4:15 p.m.: In a pivotal Front Range League softball game, senior infielder Trisha Cook (.605, 24 RBIs and 5 home runs) leads the No. 6 Lightning into a road showdown against a Broomfield team that has regained its swagger from last season — when the No. 9 Eagles came up just short of the Class 5A title — following a 1-3 start. Valor Christian (14-0) at Thomas Jefferson (14-1), Saturday 10 a.m.: The top-ranked, three-time defending Class 4A champions have looked nearly untouchable this fall, largely thanks to the pitching of senior Ali Kilponen (14-0. 0.49 ERA). But the No. 4 Spartans are a title sleeper, as coach Kyler Jackson has viable firepower in senior first baseman Sevi Harden and senior pitcher Zoya Robbins, both of whom have eight home runs. VOLLEYBALL Denver South (8-3) at George Washington (9-2), Thursday 6:30 p.m.: While Denver East and Thomas Jefferson have hogged much of the Denver Public League headlines this year, Denver South and George Washington also steadily made themselves known. The Rebels are led by fourth-year coach Katie Ryan, while coach Angela Danley’s Patriots are paced by senior Kaitlyn Walden and sophomore Isabelle Oss. Highlands Ranch (10-1) at Castle View (10-1), Tuesday 6 p.m.: It’s still early, but this match could end up deciding the Continental League champion. No. 3 Highland Ranch sophomore Cassie Davis (155 kills), senior Kelsie Milkowski (148) and junior Jill Borgerding (90) will be opposite of No. 1 Castle View seniors Kate Menz (126) and Ashley Echols (101), while both teams boast elite sophomore liberos in the Falcons’ Libby Borgerding and the Sabercats’ Leanne Lowry. BOYS SOCCER Air Academy (8-0) at Discovery Canyon (4-1-1), Tuesday 5 p.m.: In the Pikes Peak League opener for both sides, the top-ranked Cadets battle the Thunder at District 20 Stadium. Air Academy has a well-rounded offense featuring senior Kristian Hooker, junior Luke Louthan and sophomore Thaddaeus Dewing, while Discovery Canyon will lean on the leadership and talents of senior captains Brendan Byrnes, its top forward, and keeper Cory Gurnett. Fort Collins (6-0-1) at Fairview (7-1), Tuesday 6:30 p.m.: The No. 6 Lambkins battle the No. 3 Knights as the grind of the Front Range League continues for each team. Fairview is fresh off an impressive 1-0 win over No. 4 Broomfield on Saturday, and coach Jeff Frykholm looks for his team to continue that momentum against a potent Fort Collins offense that’s scored 18 goals over its last three matches. [...]
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After Confederate flag dispute, CHSAA says sides must agree on facts
The animosity over whether a Confederate flag was displayed at a football game between Manual High School and Weld Central on Friday won’t get resolved until both sides can agree upon the facts, said commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green of the Colorado High School Activities Association. “We have conflicting statements about what happened,” Blanford-Green said. “And until there’s an agreement that something did or did not happen, communication moving forward will be tough.” On Saturday, the morning after Weld Central’s 48-12 victory over the Thunderbolts in Denver, Manual principal Nick Dawkins sent a community letter accusing the Rebels of displaying a Confederate flag during the first quarter of the game, noting “the tension created by the flag led to conflict on and off the playing field,” such as player injuries and racial slurs. Weld Central countered with its own, forcefully written letter the next day in which principal Dan Kennedy and district superintendent Greg Rabenhorst denied Dawkins’ claims, saying there was no Confederate flag displayed and that “our team and community were unfairly represented with what appears to be significantly inaccurate information presented to the Manual community and the media.” The Greeley TribuneThis January file photo depicts Weld Central Middle School’s mascot. The mascot, which is the same one used by Weld Central High School, has come under fire recently after a national debate erupted about civil war monuments and homages. CHSAA is not involved in mending the dispute, which has resulted in Weld Central unilaterally canceling all future competitions with Manual. “At any time (CHSAA) is asked to come in and serve as a mediator, and as a facilitator, we will make ourselves available to any school,” Blanford-Green said. “But we haven’t been asked.” Related Articles Weld schools leaders counter Denver high school’s allegations, saying no Confederate flag was displayed at football game Weld Central officials deny reports of racism, Confederate flag display during football game Confederate flag raised at Denver high school football game leads to injuries, principal says After Weld Central’s denial, Denver Public Schools responded with a statement saying that “we are reaching out to the Weld Central High School community to jointly discuss the events of Friday night and how we can all move forward in a collaborative and positive spirit.” Meanwhile, Manual, in conjunction with the Whittier Neighborhood Association, organized a greeting of the student body at the start of school Monday morning as a show of support after the drama of the weekend. All the while — and amid DPS talk of “a collaborative and positive spirit” — Blanford-Green also emphasized each school needs to continue to focus on its internal investigations. “The Colorado High School Activities Association feels like there are some questions that are being asked right now that have gone unanswered,” Blanford-Green said. “Our role is to let the investigation by the two schools continue.” [...]
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Valor Christian, spurred by Joshia Davis’ three touchdown runs, defeats Pomona in Class 5A championship rematch
ARVADA — For the first quarter of Friday night’s Class 5A football showdown at a packed North Area Athletic Complex, No. 1 Valor Christian and No. 2 Pomona tussled as heavyweights often do. They slugged back and forth, only for each side to dig in deeper. They played as evenly as one would expect from programs that have met in the past two championship games through a scoreless first frame. But it was two-time defending champion Valor Christian who used an array of big plays — including three touchdown runs from junior Joshia Davis — to push past the Panthers 34-21 in the highly anticipated nonconference matchup. “Our last two games have showed his versatility,” Valor Christian coach Rod Sherman said of Davis. “Last week he had two receiving touchdowns and was our leading receiver, and this week did all those things in the run game. It shows why CU’s offered him, and why a ton of schools want him to come play for them.” Davis opened the offensive floodgates early in the second quarter, as his 23-yard reception from senior Blake Stenstrom set up sophomore Brian Brogan’s 37-yard field goal to give Valor Christian a 3-0 lead. Valor Christian continued to use big plays throughout the second quarter to set up scores and turn the home Pomona crowd quiet. First, junior Luke McCaffrey’s 40-yard pass to sophomore Kaiden Keefe set up Stenstrom’s 11-yard touchdown toss to Keefe a few plays later to make it a 10-0 Eagles advantage midway through the second. The Panthers took the field with urgency on their following drive and senior Ryan Marquez quarterbacked the Panthers into Eagles territory. But the march was derailed by an airmailed snap on third down that took Pomona out of field goal position and forced a punt. The next play, Davis busted right up the guy for an 80-yard touchdown run that made it 17-0. “We had Davis in the backfield on that first touchdown, and he popped through,” Pomona coach Jay Madden said. “That was a blown assignment, and the great teams make you pay for that.” 👀 That 80-yard TD run by @ValorFootball‘s Josiah Davis. Watch live: https://t.co/jMgEG3KdND #copreps pic.twitter.com/8sFOX3HSgc — Denver Post Preps (@postpreps) September 23, 2017 But Pomona, never a team to wave the white flag under Madden, responded. A Marquez 32-yard keeper combined with junior Billy Pospisil’s 35-yard reception put the Panthers within striking distance, whereupon Marquez got his team on the board with a 31-yard touchdown pass to senior Riley Govan on fourth-and-18 to cut the score to 17-7 at halftime. Valor Christian took the momentum right back in the third quarter, again using a large gain to set up another Davis touchdown run, this time from 7 yards out midway through the third. “Our offensive line played great. We knew it was going to be a tough game, and we fought through it,” Davis said. “We really started to settle in during the second half, and I could tell our big guys were starting to wear them down.” It looked like the Eagles were on their way to a blowout, but the next play, Pomona senior and Washington State commit Max Borghi took the Valor Christian kick return 93 yards to the house. The touchdown made it 24-14, sparked the Panthers sideline and rejuvenated a subdued Big Black crowd that had been unnerved by the Eagles’ rushing attack. However, it was going to take a knockout punch to defeat the Eagles, who continued to tack on to the scoreboard. A 41-yard Brogan field goal, followed by a 51-yard scoring scamper from Davis with time winding down in the third quarter gave Valor Christian a 34-14 lead and essentially put the game out of reach heading into the final quarter. Have a day, Josiah Davis. Watch live: https://t.co/I3rDGUzCTO #copreps @Valoreagles pic.twitter.com/XJ85yt2iqh — Denver Post Preps (@postpreps) September 23, 2017 “We know what the gold standard is, and we’ve got to raise our level if we want to have a chance,” Madden said. “I thought we did there at times, but we didn’t maintain it. Our defense got a little tired, and we had some bad tackling on a couple plays.” The Eagles (4-0) host No. 5 Cherry Creek next Friday, while the Panthers (3-1) play at Rockhurst (Kansas City, Mo.) that same night. [...]
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Weld schools leaders counter Denver high school’s allegations, saying no Confederate flag was displayed at football game
Weld County schools leaders weighed in Sunday after a football game in Denver where Manual High School players and the principal alleged a Confederate flag was displayed and that players were taunted with racial slurs — saying they found no evidence this happened. The Weld officials declared they’ve canceled future sports competitions with Manual High School in Denver and denounced any form of racism. Photo provided by The Greeley TribuneThis January file photo depicts Weld Central Middle School’s mascot. The mascot, which is the same one used by Weld Central High School, has come under fire recently. Weld Central High officials reviewed a video recording of the Friday night football game at Manual that included shots of the crowd, Superintendent Greg Rabenhorst and Weld Central High School Principal Dan Kennedy said in a letter distributed to families. “From our viewings, no signs of a Confederate flag exist. Further, we have no evidence at this point that any of our student athletes displayed racially motivated inappropriate behavior on or off the field….,” Rabenhorst and Kennedy wrote. “We are not certain what may have led to what currently appears to be false accusations toward our team and spectators.” Weld Central is located in Keenesburg, about 40 miles northeast of Denver, and the school’s Confederate-themed “Rebel” mascot has stirred conflict recently reflecting the national debate around Civil War monuments and racism. Concerns surfaced Saturday after Manual Principal Nick Dawkins put out a letter addressing incidents he called “extremely concerning” and publicly shared “the facts as I know them at this time.” The visiting Weld Central team had “a Rebel mascot,” Dawkins said in a letter to families, and “displayed a Confederate flag during the first quarter of the game, offending many members of the Manual community. We asked them to remove the flag and they did so. However, the tension created by the flag led to conflict on and off the playing field. Three of our players were injured during the game, including a student who suffered a concussion and a student who was transported to the hospital for a leg injury.” Those players will be fine, the letter said. But, in addition, “some of our players reported that, when tackled, players from the opposing team taunted them with racial slurs,” Dawkins wrote. Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg was notified and “is reaching out to the Weld County superintendent to express our concerns that such symbols of racism and hatred, and racial slurs, ought to have no place in athletics or in any part of our students’ experiences,” Dawkins’ letter said. “We are all very concerned about what occurred and are trying to gather as much information as we can so we can determine next steps.” The Weld schools officials’ letter said their investigation isn’t done and that “any behavior of this form found to be true will be subject to discipline. In the event any accusations are substantiated, we as a district will take full responsibility in condemning such behavior and disciplining students as appropriate.” On Sunday, Denver Public Schools officials posted a follow-on letter from Dawkins to parents saying Monday’s junior varsity football game with Weld Central has been canceled and that Manual officials are “reaching out to the Colorado High School Athletics Association (CHSAA) for support in ensuring all future athletic contests are conducted in a positive spirit.” Dawkins’ Sunday letter thanks families for support and kindness, noting that Manual has been “challenged by our fears over DACA” and by the deaths of two Manual students. On Sept. 5 the Trump administration ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which shielded immigrants brought as children illegally to the U.S. from deportation. “It is in this light that I am asking our community and media to respect the healing and grieving process our students are going through by allowing us to return our focus to school and the upcoming spirit week and homecoming activities that can make high school so fun,” Dawkins wrote. [...]
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Confederate flag raised at Denver high school football game leads to injuries, principal says
A Confederate flag flown during a high school football game touched off tense conflict on and off the field Friday night and three players from Manual High School were injured, the principal said in a community letter Saturday. Players from Manual also told coaches that students on the visiting team, Weld Central High School, taunted them with racial slurs during tackles, according to principal Nick Dawkins’ letter. Weld Central, in Keenesburg about 40 miles northeast of Denver, has a Rebel as a mascot. The team displayed the Confederate flag during the first quarter of the game, offending players from the Denver high school, Dawkins said. Weld Central removed the flag at Manual High’s request. “What occurred is extremely concerning and I want to share the facts as I know them at this time,” he wrote. Related ArticlesSeptember 22, 2017 Shakeup at Denver’s East High School after cheerleader splits controversy September 20, 2017 Denver Public Schools making changes to choice process meant to benefit low-income parents September 14, 2017 National Western Center’s longtime shepherd departs as $1.1 billion Denver project nears construction September 12, 2017 Denver police still searching for boy found with gun at high school September 4, 2017 Marijuana sales fund $9.2 million in school pot prevention, health care programs Of the three players injured during the game, one suffered a concussion and another was taken to a hospital with a leg injury. “I want to emphasize that the players received treatment and will be fine,” Dawkins said. The principal said he had contacted Weld Central’s coaches and notified Denver Public Schools superintendent Tom Boasberg and the school board. Boasberg “is reaching out to the Weld County superintendent to express our concerns that such symbols of racism and hatred, and racial slurs, ought to have no place in athletics or in any part of our students’ experiences,” the letter said. “What happened at Friday night’s game is unacceptable,” he said. Officials from Weld Central could not be reached for comment Saturday night. [...]
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PHOTOS: Pamona vs. Valor in 5A football
Pomona took on Valor Christian in a Class 5A nonconference high school varsity football game held at the North Area Athletic Complex Friday, September 22, 2017. [...]
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Prep football rundown: How 5A, 4A ranked teams fared in Week 4 action
Here’s how the teams in the latest Post Preps Power Rankings fared in Week 4 action. The next set of Power Rankings come out Monday afternoon. 5A FOOTBALL No. 1 Valor Christian (4-0) beat No. 2 Pomona (3-1) 34-21 behind three rushing touchdowns from junior Joshia Davis as well an interception to ice the game by junior Jaden Murray. No. 2 Pomona (3-1) lost to No. 1 Valor Christian (4-0) 34-21 as the Panthers were unable to stop the run consistently after the first quarter in a rematch of the past two championship games. No. 3 Eaglecrest (4-0) beat Cherokee Trail (2-2) 28-14 with a defensive touchdown from senior Victor Garnes and two scores, one by air and one by ground, from senior quarterback Jalen Mergerson. No. 4 Regis Jesuit (2-1) plays at No. 6 Highlands Ranch (3-0) on Saturday night. No. 5 Cherry Creek (3-1) beat No. 8 Grandview (2-2) 40-20 as CU commit Dimitri Stanley caught two touchdowns and threw for another as the Bruins took control with a 21-0 second quarter. No. 6 Highlands Ranch (3-0) hosts No. 4 Regis Jesuit (2-1) on Saturday night. No. 7 Columbine (3-1) lost to 4A No. 3 Chatfield (3-1) 35-14 as the Rebels lost playmaker Ted Mullin to injury in the first half and were shutout in the fourth quarter in an upset loss to their crosstown rival. No. 8 Grandview (2-2) lost to No. 5 Cherry Creek (3-1) 40-20 despite leading by a touchdown after one quarter, a defensive score from junior safety Trevor Greenlee and two touchdowns from senior Aaron Harris. No. 9 Mullen (2-3) lost to Bothell (Wa.) 31-28 even though senior tailback Alonzo Moon rushed for three touchdowns and senior wideout A’Jon Vivens caught another. No. 10 Doherty (3-1) beat Westminster (0-4) 21-20 to avoid an upset as senior Julian Cooks led the Spartans with 120 yards rushing and a touchdown. 4A FOOTBALL No. 1 Pine Creek (4-0) beat Vista Ridge (2-2) 26-0 as the Eagles defense continues to flex its muscle, having allowed just two touchdowns so far this season. No. 2 Ponderosa (4-0) beat No. 9 Rampart (3-2) 56-17 as the Mustangs rolled once again thanks to the play of senior quarterback Sterling Ostdahl as well as a 98-yard kickoff return by senior Kade Ongna. No. 3 Chatfield (3-1) beat 5A No. 7 Columbine (3-1) 35-14 to snap a seven-year losing streak to the Rebels as senior quarterback Colton Arne came through with a number of clutch plays. No. 4 Windsor (3-1) beat Greeley West (2-2) 17-7 on Thursday with 103 yards rushing from senior quarterback Connor Apodaca, plus rushing scores by senior Jaedyn Traut and junior Noah Montague. No. 5 Monarch (3-0) plays at Brighton (2-1) on Saturday morning. No. 6 Broomfield (1-2) plays at Greeley Central (1-2) on Saturday morning. No. 7 Fruita Monument (5-0) beat Grand Junction Central (1-3) 21-20 on Thursday as senior linebacker Ryan Ficken and junior linebacker Delson Pyland helped the Wildcats get key second-half stops. No. 8 Vista Ridge (2-2) lost to No. 1 Pine Creek (4-0) 26-0 although senior corner Malique McKay’s interception was a bright spot for the Wolves. No. 9 Rampart (3-2) lost to No. 2 Ponderosa (4-0) 56-17 as junior Christian Glass’ first-half rushing touchdown and a 52-yard touchdown strike from Kevin Witcher to Jared Behm were the Rams’ highlights. No. 10 Pueblo West (4-0) beat Dakota Ridge (1-3) 31-7 as coach Monte Pinkerton has the Cyclones off to their best start since 2012. [...]
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With a two-headed monster in the circle, Brighton softball’s barreling toward its first state title
Second-year Brighton softball coach Marty Stricklett gathered his players at practice a few weeks ago to dish up some motivation that left him on the receiving end of a few quizzical looks. “I told them, the biggest number you have to remember is 10-2,” Stricklett said. “None of them knew what I was talking about.” Stricklett’s “10-2” mantra is derived from the score of the Bulldogs’ final game last season, a decisive loss in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament to this fall’s top-ranked team, Eaglecrest. “I want them to remember the feeling of 10-2 and what that felt like to get eliminated from the state playoffs early,” Stricklett explained. “And that we have to compete day-in and day-out at practice so that doesn’t happen again.” Brighton’s lone loss this year, a narrow 5-3 setback to Eaglecrest on Aug. 24, proves the No. 3 Bulldogs (12-1) have busted into the top tier of 5A programs as they continue climbing a learning curve toward the program’s first state title. If Brighton can hang with a championship favorite like the Raptors during the first week of the season — and if the team can post victories over quality opponents as it did against No. 10 Columbine in the championship game of the Dave Sanders Tournament two weeks ago — then all indications point to the Bulldogs making noise at the end of October. Catalyzing Brighton’s success is the one-two pitching combination of junior Halie Litwin and sophomore Tori Haug, arms that Stricklett switches back-and-forth between, depending on matchup. “Against Columbine, I pitched Halie for the first four innings, Tori for the fifth, Halie for the sixth and Tori for the seventh,” Stricklett said. “It’s a true two-headed monster out there, so if I can see that they’re timing up certain girls, I’ll switch them in and out. They’re two totally different pitchers — Tori is a dropball, riseball girl, where Halie is more of a screwball, curveball girl. One’s up-and-down, one’s in-and-out.” And though the Bulldogs are still relatively young with five juniors, three sophomores and just one senior in the starting lineup, Stricklett believes his program is capable of establishing itself as a powerhouse, just as his teams did in his eight years at Wheat Ridge, where he coached the Farmers to four 4A state titles. “We have a very young group of athletes, and they’re starting to work hard and buy into the system,” Stricklett said. “And we have our goals set for this year — they’re the same set of goals I had at Wheat Ridge.” [...]
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Denver South grinds out Week 4 win over Heritage for coach Ryan Marini’s first career victory
New Denver South football coach Ryan Marini earned his first career win on Thursday night, beating his alma mater Heritage 35-20 in a non-conference, Class 4A affair at Littleton Public Schools Stadium. “It’s cool to be on my old field, but more than about me, I’m just happy for our kids,” Marini said. “They’ve been working so hard, and we’ve lost two games in the last minute where we’ve had the lead. But we hadn’t really earned it yet. Tonight, I felt like we earned it.” Denver South struck first after taking advantage of an interception deep inside the Eagles territory, as senior running back Brandon Martin’s 4-yard touchdown run gave the Rebels an early 7-0 advantage. Heritage, playing without the services of injured senior running back Josh Martin, responded with its other dynamic backfield weapon in senior Tyler Zoesch, whose 14-yard touchdown run tied the game 7-7 with 6:29 to play in the first. The Rebels weren’t done scoring in the opening quarter, however, as Brandon Martin busted a 57-yard scoring scamper with less than four minutes to play in the frame to give Denver South a 14-7 advantage. “He’s a complete X-factor,” Marini said of Martin. “He’s also probably the smartest football player I’ve ever coached. He brings that athleticism, and he’s a double X-factor because he’s like a coach on the field.” The Eagles came right back early in the second quarter, with Zoesch finding the endzone by ground again, this time from 64 yards out in what is the longest offensive play for Heritage this season. The extra point was no good, making it a 14-13 score in favor of Denver South. But it was the Rebels who — in a seesaw battle between two winless teams hungry for their first victory — had the decisive momentum-shifting play. It came with 5:58 to play in the second quarter as Rebels senior quarterback Kwesi Singleton scrambled and found senior wideout Hassan El-Amin for a 64-yard touchdown strike to give Denver South a 21-13 advantage and a tangible swagger heading into halftime. After a scoreless third, Denver South added another score early in the fourth quarter to go up 28-13 but the Eagles came back with a third Zoesch touchdown run, this time from 3 yards out, to make it a 28-20, one possession game with 4:55 to play. Defensively, Heritage senior linebacker Matthew Brouillette was all over the field to limit the Rebels’ offensive playmakers. Meanwhile, junior tackle Nejon McCray stood out for Denver South with his backfield disruption, as did sophomore linebacker Nate Flannery, whose 38-yard scoop-and-score sealed the win for the Rebels with 3:27 to go in the fourth. Denver South (1-3) hosts Palmer next Friday at All-City Stadium, while Heritage (0-4) plays on the road at Mesa Ridge that same night. “I told the kids that now that the monkey of (that first win) is off our back a little bit, we can be more confident,” Marini said. “And like we did tonight, we can play with the lead with a little bit more assurance instead of always being worried about losing. We’re going into league here in a couple weeks, so hopefully we can use this momentum to move ahead.” Listen to the archived broadcast of the game: [...]
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Colorado Prep Football Preview: Top Week 4 games to watch
Denver Post preps editor Kyle Newman breaks down the biggest games to watch in Week 4 of the 2017 Colorado high school football season. Valor Christian (3-0) at Pomona (3-0), Friday 7:30 p.m., NAAC: The No. 1 Eagles battle the No. 2 Panthers in a rematch of the past two Class 5A championship games, both won by Valor Christian. But Pomona, which has won the regular season matchup over Valor Christian each of the past two seasons, has the firepower necessary to make it three victories in a row thanks to Washington State commit Max Borghi. He has six rushing touchdowns in two games this year and will play opposite of Valor Christian star Luke McCaffrey, who will see time at quarterback, wideout, running back and returner. Related ArticlesSeptember 19, 2017 Valor Christian and Pomona battle in Class 5A football rivalry that could (again) be a championship prelude September 19, 2017 Study shows playing football before age 12 can lead to mood and behavior issues September 18, 2017 Prep Power Rankings: Week of Friday, Sept. 22 September 18, 2017 Listen: Denver South vs. Heritage in Class 4A football on the Post Preps Radio Game of the Week September 18, 2017 Watch: No. 1 Valor Christian vs. No. 2 Pomona in Class 5A football on the Post Preps TV Game of the Week Chatfield (2-1) at Columbine (3-0), Friday 7:30 p.m., Jeffco Stadium: After an out-of-state loss in Week 0, 4A No. 3 Chatfield reeled off consecutive blowout wins thanks to scoring 50-plus points in each and a defense that’s allowed just one touchdown over the past eight quarters. Senior running back Ben Frenette is key against the 5A No. 7 Rebels, who have gotten solid quarterbacking from junior Logan Dearment in addition to having a capable running back corps highlighted by sophomore Tanner Hollens and senior Ted Mullin. Grandview (2-1) at Cherry Creek (2-1), Friday 7:30 p.m. Stutler Bowl: The showdown between the longtime Centennial League rivals gives each team a chance to gain momentum heading into the finale of nonconference action next week. Coach John Schultz’s Wolves look to their array of playmakers, such as senior wideout/defensive back Julius Carter Jr., to earn a bounce-back win after losing to No. 3 Eaglecrest. Meanwhile, coach Dave Logan’s Bruins will likely ride a talented rushing duo in sophomore Jayle Stacks and junior Alec Pell, along with a defense led by junior free safety Carson Brantley. Rampart (3-1) at Ponderosa (3-0), Friday 7 p.m., Echo Park: In a top-tier 4A clash, the No. 9 Rams travel to Parker to take on the No. 2 Mustangs. Rampart is led by senior running backs Chris Yoo and Keion Cross, plus a hard-nosed defense defined by senior linebacker Chris Schockey and senior free safety Jared Behm. But early title favorite Ponderosa has an overwhelming arsenal to match, with senior quarterback Sterling Ostdahl and senior wideout Kade Ongna highlighting an offense that can rack up 50-plus points on any given Friday. Regis Jesuit (2-1) at Highlands Ranch (3-0), Saturday 6 p.m., Shea Stadium: The 5A Top 10 battle between the No. 4 Raiders and the No. 6 Falcons pits two hard-nosed lines against each other. Regis Jesuit senior Sean Dunnington heads up the Raiders’ big men who have proven they can control the trenches on both sides of the ball, while juniors Drake Nugent and Austin Johnson provide size and experience up front for Highlands Ranch. The quarterback battle is also key, with Raiders seasoned senior Justin Lamb mirroring Highlands Ranch senior Kyle Weston. [...]
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