8-Man Football Week 7 League Breakdown
In the 8-Man ranks most teams have already played 2 or more league games and most leagues have developed a couple front runners. 8-Man still plays at most a 9-game season and the playoffs start the same time as Class 2A and 1A. 8-Man seems to be very competitive this year with some leagues looking for multiple bids into the postseason. One thing is for certain is all roads will lead to 3-time defending state champions Sedgwick County.
Arkansas Valley League
The Ark Valley leagues is holding my preseason designation of being one of the toughest leagues in 8-Man. 4 of the 7 teams have at least a .500 record and only 1 team is winless. Currently Hoehne and Holly are leading the way at the top of the standings. Hoehne has 3 leagues wins over Springfield, Las Animas, and Fowler. Hoehne has 3 league games remaining and could know their fate after this week’s game. Holly is 2-0 in league with wins over Las Animas and Fowler. Holly and Hoehne meet up this weekend in what could be for a league championship. Of course, Hoehne will still have to face McClave and Holly would have to face McClave and Springfield, but this game will determine a ton. Hoehne picked up their win over Fowler with an impressive 44-0 win. Hoehne has been powered by their rushing attack and RB Trysten Moltrer has powered the way. Holly had an extra week to prepare for this game. Holly offensively has been balanced with 1004 yards passing and 968 yards rushing. Kobe Davis has been the leader for this team and he will be needed to lead the way again this week. I am leaning towards Holly in a very good game. Currently sitting in second place is Springfield and McClave both with 1 lose. Springfield did pick up the win over McClave last week, so they have the tie breaker. Springfield has a bye this week and awaits the results. McClave faces Las Animas this week. Las Animas is 1-2 in league and one more lose hurt any shot at the playoffs. Las Animas is #26 in the RPI. McClave is #25 in the RPI and need to move to 2-1 in league. McClave should be able to get their offense going effectively but they will need their defense to step up and stop the run. The final game for the Ark Valley league is Fowler at Wiley. This is a must win game for Fowler. Fowler is still sitting ok in the RPI at #8 but a lost to Wiley will plummet their RPI. Fowler is having to bounce back from back to back losses and should be able to right the ship against Wiley.
RPI: #5 Hoehne, #8 Fowler, #10 Holly, #21 Springfield, #25 McClave, #26 Las Animas, #28 Wiley
The Central League looks to be a one playoff berth league and it will be whoever wins the league. RPI wise South Park has the highest RPI at #23 and they already have one league loss to Front Range Christian. The two top teams currently in the Central league are Elbert and Front Range Christian and both sit at 2-0. Elbert and Front Range Christian also face each other this week. Elbert is 3-2 overall and with losses to Custer County and McClave. Elbert wins are against opponents with 0 wins. Elbert will have to play their best game this season to snag the win. Elbert offense has been very balanced and led by QB Nathan Tornone. Front Range Christian is playing in their first season of 8-Man. Front Range Christian is 3-2 as well and offensively have been putting up points. Front Range Christian has scored 224 points this season. Like I mentioned Front Range Christian already has a big win over South Park and can nearly lock up their league title with a win over Elbert. Elbert still must face South Park so a win over FRCS will not lock up their league title. One other league game takes place this week as well with South Park facing Rocky Mountain Lutheran. South Park should move to 2-1 and hope that Elbert can pull the upset to give them a shot at a league title game against Elbert. I am going with Front Range Christian to all but lock up the league title.
RPI: #23 South Park, #29 Front Range Christian, #35 Elbert, #36 Justice, #40 Rocky Mountain Lutheran
The Mountain League has also been one of the most competitive leagues. Only two teams out of seven are below .500 and two teams are currently undefeated. Sanford and Mancos are the two undefeated teams. Sanford is off to probably the best starts they have had in a long time. Sanford has posted 3 shutouts already this season defensively have given up 26 points all year. Mancos has given up 54 points on defense and held 3 opponents to 8 points or less. Sanford and Mancos meet up this week in Sanford and the victor will have a huge advantage going forward. Neither team can lock up the league title just yet. If Sanford wins they still have to Sargent and Dove Creek and if Mancos wins they still must face Norwood and Dove Creek. Sanford has been a big surprise this year. In my preseason breakdown I did mention that they were right on the verge of being a very good team and they seem to have found the right coach to lead them. Sanford is powered by their defense and a reinvented offense. Sanford will have to play great defense again this week and must find some success on offense against a great Mancos defense. Mancos picked up two huge wins against Merino and Sargent, but this will be their biggest game of the year. Mancos has also been led by their defense, but Chance Garcia has been the workhorse on offense. This should be a great game and I am leaning towards Sanford to out a physical football game. Sargent and Dove Creek are currently tied for second place at 1 lose. Sargent picked up a massive win last week over Norwood and host Sangre De Cristo this week. Sargent should be 2-1 in league after this week. Dove Creek has a non-league game against a Utah opponent so no movement really from the Top 4 teams. Norwood and Del Norte are the other big game this week. Del Norte is 0-2 in league and probably had their league title hopes crushed after losing to Dove Creek last week. Del Norte is also on the cusp of being eliminated from any playoff hopes. If Del Norte pulls the upset of Norwood they would still have an outside shot of the playoffs. Norwood is 1-2 in league with losses to both Sanford and Sargent. They are still alive RPI wise sitting at #14 but this is a must win game for Norwood. Norwood needs the win to move to 2-2 and hope for a shot at Mancos later in the season.
RPI: #4 Sanford, #7 Mancos, #14 Norwood, #18 Sargent, #20 Dove Creek, #32 Sangre De Cristo, #33 Del Norte
Most teams in the Northwest League have played 2 or 3 league games and the picture for the Northwest League is starting to come into focus. Two teams have risen to the Top of the league standings West Grand and Soroco are both undefeated in league play and overall. West Grand is 6-0 overall and has a bye this week and have a huge leg up on most league opponents with wins over Plateau Valley, Vail Christian, and Rangely. West Grand now gets to sit back and await the results of this week’s games. Soroco this week travels to face Vail Christian. Vail Christian is 1-2 in league but have losses to Rangely and West Grand. Vail Christian picked up their first league win over Hayden last week 60 to 22. Vail Christian could be a tough opponent for Soroco especially after giving up 46 points to Plateau Valley. Vail Christian must find an answer for RB Jace Logan or will be in a world of hurt. Vail Christian offensively also must get their offense going again this week and may need to 60 points again to pull the win. Soroco escaped with the 64 to 46 win over Plateau Valley and RB Jace Logan had himself a career day rushing for 480 yards and 9 TDs. Those are not even video game numbers those are 2 to 3 game numbers for most RB in High School. Soroco must fix the problems they had last week on defense or could be in another shootout. I am leaning towards Soroco due to Jace Logan and their effective offensive attack. Another important game will be Rangely vs Hayden. Rangely will be looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season. Rangely played well against West Grand but came up just short. We will have to see how they bounce back but I expect Rangely to be 2-1 after this game. 1 game we didn’t mention was Plateau Valley vs Gilpin County. Plateau Valley should get their second league win this week as well.
RPI: #1 West Grand, #3 Rangely, #11 Soroco, #17 Vail Christian, #24 Plateau Valley, #28 Hayden, #34 Gilpin County
The Plains league is the usually the standard of a tough league and that holds true again this year. 4 of the 7 teams have .500 records and at least every team in the league has 2 wins. Two teams have risen to the top of the standings so far with Sedgwick County at 3-0 and Caliche at 2-0. Sedgwick County as we know is your 3-time defending state champions and currently undefeated so far. Sedgwick County travel to face Dayspring Christian this week. Dayspring Christian grabbed an impressive 48 to 14 win over Byers last week and have a win over Haxtun. Dayspring Christian has struggled against Top teams with all three loses coming to ranked teams and all three by 20 points are more. Sedgwick County has yet to be challenged this year and have given up 8 points or less in 4 of their 5 games. Sedgwick County second string did give up 14 points last week to Haxtun but when their starters were in they gave up 7 points. Sedgwick County ha league wins already over Akron, Byers, and Haxtun but two big opponents still await in Caliche and Merino. Game #2 in the Plains league features Akron at Byers. Akron picked up a huge win over Merino last week to pick up their first league win. Akron now is hoping to move up to 3rd place this week. Akron will be the favorite against Byers and should be 2-1 after this week. The main event in the plains league this week is Merino at Caliche. Merino comes in at 1-1 in league after dropping last week’s game to Akron. Merino now is hoping to bounce back and pick up a big win against Caliche. Merino will have to find a way to stop the run and must play better on offense. Merino was held scoreless last week in the first half and cannot do that again this week. Caliche did not play a league game last week, but they blasted South Park 56 to 6. Caliche has two league wins over Dayspring Christian and Byers but were blowout wins. Caliche now hits the hard part of their schedule and if they hope to keep pace with Sedgwick County must get by a tough Merino team. Caliche has been led by QB/RB Adam Zink. Caliche must have an effective day from him and play solid defense to move to 3-0 in league. I am going with Caliche to win and keep pace with Sedgwick County.
RPI: #2 Sedgwick County, #6 Akron, #9 Caliche, #12 Merino, #19 Dayspring Christian, #22 Byers, #31 Haxtun
The Southern League has a team in the drive seat with Pikes Peak Christian picking up a massive win over Simla last week 20 to 12. Pike Peak Christian now controls their own destiny and their game against Custer County may be for the league title. Pikes Peak Christian returned a ton of talent from last year’s team and they have proven they are a tough team. Their lone loss is to Merino (22-6). Pikes Peak Christian continues to play great defense allowing just 46 points this season, but they will be tested this week by Custer County. Custer County feel to Sanford last week 41 to 0. Custer County will now have to bounce back against another tough opponent. Custer County will have to fix some things on offense but also must play better defense. Custer County is hoping to pull the upset but will need to play their best game of the season. I am going with Pikes Peak Christian to gain even more control over the Southern League and if Calhan upsets Swink Pikes Peak Christian can lock up the league title. Simla, Custer County, and Swink all sit tied with 1 lose in league and in second place. Simla has a bye this week and awaits the outcomes of this week’s games. Swink has a massive game against Calhan this week. Calhan is 0-2 in league and hoping to pick up their first big win of the season. Calhan has played tough against opponents but it’s always tough to bring back a program and be the top team right away. Swink picked up their first league win last week blanking Miami-Yoder 38-0. Swink is not hoping to keep face with the top teams in league and move to 2-1. Swink will have to play good defense and keep Calhan rushing attack contained. Swink is hoping to grab the win and make their game against Pikes Peak Christian mean something.
RPI: #13 Custer County, #15 Simla, #16 Pikes Peak Christian, #27 Swink, #30 Calhan, #37 Miami-Yoder,