CLASS 4A QUARTERFINALS
No. 1 Pine Creek
Game data: No. 1 Pine Creek (10-1) at No. 9 Skyline (8-3) … Saturday at 1 p.m. at Everly-Montgomery Field. The winner will move on to play either No. 5 Ponderosa or No. 13 Chatfield in the 4A semifinals.
Scouting report: It took Pine Creek no time at all to prove why it was selected the No. 1 seed in Class 4A, defeating No. 16 Heritage 50-0 in the opening round last week. Using its commanding run game the Eagles racked up 36 points in the second quarter thanks to four different running backs with 50 or more yards.
But the quarterfinals may look different for the Eagles without star running back David Moore III. Last week Moore injured his arm at the end of the first quarter, and later confirmed via Twitter he had a fracture in his elbow, indicating his season is over. Prior to the injury Moore ran for 81 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown.
In his absence senior DJ Armstead and juniors Max Lofy and Armani Gantt picked up the ground game. Armstead led the team with 96 rushing yards and a touchdown. Gantt had 62 yards, and Lofy ran for 58 and two touchdowns. Lofy also had 51 receiving yards and a touchdown catch and five tackles.
Pine Creek quarterback Gavin Herberg threw 7-for-9 for 92 yards and a touchdown. Lofy was his top receiver, followed by Eddie Kyle with one reception for 14 yards. Kyle also had two interceptions.
No doubt Moore’s absence will be felt by the Eagle offense as he is responsible for 55 percent of Pine Creek’s total rushing yards this season, but Skyline will still need to be on the lookout for a powerful Pine Creek rusher in Lofy, who averages 19.6 yards per carry. He is second on the team with 352 total rushing yards, followed by Armstead with 206, who averages nine yards per carry.
Skyline finds itself in the quarterfinals after a 32-23 win over No. 8 Pueblo West in the first round. The Falcons have a well-balanced offense, which averages more than 400 total yards per game. They’re led by impressive sophomore quarterback Chase Silva, who has 2,458 passing yards and a stellar .718 completion percentage in his first varsity season. He has thrown for 26 touchdowns to a group of five receivers with 100 or more receiving yards this season. That core is led by seniors Kyle West (1,217 yards, 9 touchdowns) and Jack Wathen (863 yards, 11 touchdowns).
On the ground the Falcons are led by Jeremy Hollingsworth with 1,475 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. Heading into the quarterfinals Hollingsworth has four more total yards this season than Moore.
But the Pine Creek defense has some impressive statistics of its own, averaging two sacks and an interception per game. The Eagles defense has not allowed more than 28 points this season, and averages just 11.5 points allowed per game.
CLASS 3A QUARTERFINALS
No. 4 Palmer Ridge vs. No. 5 Harrison
Game data: No. 5 Harrison (11-0) at No. 4 Palmer Ridge (9-2) … Saturday at 1 p.m. at Don Breese Stadium. The winner will play either No. 1 Palisade or No. 9 Mead in the semifinals.
Scouting report: Two of the area’s most exciting quarterbacks will be going head-to-head in an all-Pikes Peak region quarterfinal as last year’s 3A state champ Palmer Ridge hosts Harrison, which is in the midst of making program history of its own.
Palmer Ridge play caller Ty Evans will face off against Harrison QB Orlando Westbrook-Sanchez as the top two area quarterbacks in terms of passing yards - and, two best friends.
The Panthers completed the program’s first-ever undefeated regular season and is in uncharted territory, heading to the state quarterfinals for the first time in history thanks to a 34-28 win over No. 12 Holy Family in the first round.
Led by an impressive senior class Harrison stormed through the regular season as one of the two Class 3A teams to enter the postseason undefeated. But the Panthers also had the lowest strength of schedule among the Top 16.
Senior quarterback Westbrook-Sanchez made a big leap from his successful junior season, throwing for 2,247 yards, 17 touchdowns and just one interception this season. Westbrook-Sanchez is also an immense threat on his feet, sitting in second on the team in rushing yards with 781 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Senior Aumiere Shedrick leads the team with 1,525 rushing yards, including eight games with 100 or more rushing yards. He has 16 rushing touchdowns and also has 425 receiving yards.
The Panthers’ top receiver is sophomore Seth Fuller with 852 yards, followed by DeVon Washington with 550 yards. Each has six touchdown catches.
Harrison’s high-powered offense averages 446 total yards per game, relatively evenly split between rushing yards (241.7 yards per game, average) and receiving (204.7 yards per game, average).
The Palmer Ridge offense averages 361.3 total yards per game, averaging 162 rushing and 197.7 yards passing per game.
The Bears’ offensive attack is led by Evans, who has 2,144 passing yards and 29 touchdowns this season. He has thrown touchdowns to 10 different receivers, led by Deuce Roberson with 748 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He is followed by Charlie Deeds with 361 yards, and Kaden Dudley with 322. Freshman Anthony Costanzo has 268 yards followed by Raef Ruel with 144.
Ruel rules the ground game with 986 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. Last week Ruel helped Palmer Ridge to a 41-7 win over Pueblo South with 140 rushing yards.
With two stellar offensive systems, Saturday will likely turn into a defensive battle to keep Evans and Westbrook-Sanchez from finding the end zone.
The Palmer Ridge defense allows 11.4 points per game, on average, and has allowed no more than one touchdown since Sept. 21. The Bears average 2.6 sacks per game and 1.5 interceptions per game. Senior JC Sparks leads the team in sacks with 13 and Dudley has seven interceptions.
The Harrison defense allows just 7.9 points per game on average, and shut out four of its last five opponents in the regular season. The Panthers average 2.6 sacks and 1.3 interceptions per game. Makeah Scippio has seven sacks on the season, followed by Washington with five. Sergio Alvarado leads the team with five interceptions.
No. 7 Discovery Canyon
Game data: No. 7 Discovery Canyon (9-2) vs. No. 2 Pueblo East (9-2) … Saturday at 1 p.m. at Dutch Clark Stadium. The winner will take on either No. 3 Erie or No. 3 Green Mountain in the 3A semifinals.
Scouting report: After a thrilling double overtime win over No. 10 Frederick in the first round, No. 7 Discovery Canyon will face another challenge in the quarterfinals as the Thunder travel to face No. 2 Pueblo East.
The Eagles will welcome Discovery Canyon with revenge on their minds as the Thunder defeated Pueblo East 54-24 in September - but the Eagles were without their star Kain Medrano.
Discovery Canyon, typically not a pass-first offense, had over 100 passing yards last week as quarterback Zack Anderson had one of the best passing games of the year with a .600 completion percentage and 105 yards. His top target was Ryan Monteleone with 68 receiving yards and a touchdown.
But it was Marshall Pike on the ground who did most of the damage for the Thunder with 131 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Anderson also rushed for 25 yards and a touchdown.
Pike leads the formidable Thunder rushing offense with 1,268 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns followed by Anderson with 739 yards and 13 rushing TDs. Monteleone (585), Kevin Pasion (324) and Drew Listello (105) follow to help the Thunder to 3,356 rushing yards this season, averaging 305.1 yards per game.
While Discovery Canyon is strong on the ground, Pueblo East is just as strong through the air led by quarterback Luc Andrada who has 2,440 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Andrada’s top target Medrano is an acrobatic receiver with 901 yards and 16 touchdowns. Medrano also has 82 tackles - including seven for a loss - and seven interceptions.
While the Eagles are powered by Andrada and the passing game, he also leads the ground game with 655 rushing yards, followed closely by Patrick Gonzales with 619. Both have nine rushing touchdowns.
Last week against Lewis-Palmer in the first round Andrada threw for 251 yards and four touchdowns while Gonzales ran for 103 yards.
The Eagles average 241.6 receiving yards per game and 185.4 rushing yards per game, whereas Discovery Canyon averages 305.1 rushing and 66.2 passing yards per game.
The Discovery Canyon defense is led by Nick Monahan with 75 total tackles, while Gage Clawson has 54 total tackles and a team-leading 11 for a loss and five sacks.
Last time out against Pueblo East Pike had 176 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while the Discovery Canyon core of running backs ran for 449 total yards and seven touchdowns. Anderson also had 96 passing yards, completing 6 of 7 attempts.
CLASS 1A SEMIFINALS
No. 4 Colorado Springs Christian
Game data: No. 4 Colorado Springs Christian (10-1) at No. 1 Limon (11-0) … Saturday at 1 p.m. at Limon High School. The winner will play either No. 3 Strasburg or No. 7 Centauri in the 1A state championship next week.
Scouting report: Colorado Springs Christian is in the midst of its most successful season dating back to 2004, and is just one win away from the program’s first appearance in the state championship - but the Lions must first get past Limon, which holds the Colorado state record for most state football championships with 17, dating back to 1933.
For the first time in the 1A tournament CSCS will be the underdog after earning a spot in the semifinals thanks to a 13-10 win over No. 5 Florence last week.
The 37-yard field goal by Greg Olsen with less than a minute left to play lifted the Lions to their ninth consecutive win and a spot in the state semifinals.
Florence effectively held CSCS’ powerful run game led by Peyton Brones to just 99 yards. The Lions average 278.5 rushing yards per game, with Brones running on average for 156.7. Brones has 1,724 total rushing yards and 24 touchdowns, followed by sophomore Joe Dunn with 884 and 15 touchdowns.
Quarterback Caleb Stockton threw for 196 yards and a touchdown against Florence, with his top target being senior Nate Dunn with 94 receiving yards. The Lions average just 74.3 passing yards per game, as Stockton has 827 total yards and 13 touchdowns. Joe Dunn is the team’s top receiver with 230 yards, followed by sophomores Grant Baker with 212 and Severin Grundvig with 151.
Limon enters the semifinal game scoring less than 30 points just twice this season, and is fresh off a 42-8 victory over No. 8 Meeker in the quarterfinals.
On paper the Badgers look similar to CSCS with 251.5 rushing yards per game on average an 82 receiving yards per game. Limon has seven running backs with 100 or more yards on the season, led by sophomore Kory Tacha with 709 and 17 touchdowns. He is chased by Hauk Hubbard and Jeremiah Leeper with 546 and 522 yards, respectively.
Quarterback Cannan Bennett has 851 yards and 12 passing touchdowns with just one interception. His top target is Braden Sandersfeld with 432 receiving yards.
The Lions average 37.6 points per game, compared to Limon’s 37 ppg average. CSCS also averages 2.4 sacks per game, and holds opponents to just eight points per game thanks to six shutouts this season. Limon averages a sack and 1.8 interceptions per game while the defense holds opponents to 6.1 points per game on average with two shutouts.