There were some huge games last week to open league play and now heading into the second week some teams may be playing for a league title. RPI is also starting to become a factor and we will take a much bigger look at the RPI and how some games will start to affect the RPI next week.
3 teams sit atop the league standing at 1-0. Manual got a forfeit against Sheridan and Jefferson blitzed Lake County. The big game last week was between Clear Creek and Platte Canyon. Platte Canyon jumped out to a demanding 24 to 8 leads and half time and then had to hold on late to grab the 30 to 28 win over Clear Creek. I would not say that Platte Canyon is in the driver seat for league. Clear Creek will now need some help to grab the league crown and they should even up their record at 1-1 in league after their game against Sheridan. Two big games to talk about this week in the Foothills League. Game #1 is Lake County traveling to Manual. Lake County was blitzed by Jefferson last week and another lose would eliminate them from the playoffs. Manual had two weeks to prepare for this game and moving to 2-0 league will give them a shot at the league crown. Manual will probably need to win 3 of their final 4 games to have any shot at the playoffs. Game #2 features Platte Canyon at Jefferson. Jefferson picked up another impressive win against Lake County 39-0. Jefferson is 4-1 on the season but have played the worst weakest schedule according to the RPI. Jefferson is #24 in the RPI and a loss would really hurt any shot at the playoffs. Jefferson needs to pull a huge upset this week. If Platte Canyon wins this game, then they would be 1 win over Manual away from Clinching the league title. Platte Canyon played a tough non-league schedule and should have them prepared for this game against Jefferson. I like Platte Canyon in this game and should grab control of the league.
RPI: #16 Platte Canyon, #24 Jefferson, #30 Clear Creek, #32 Manual, #35 Sheridan, #39 Lake County
North Central League
The North Central League started with a bang and proved that winning the North Central will not be an easy task. Limon picked up the biggest win blowing past Wiggins 41 to 6. Burlington played outstanding defense not allowing an offensive touchdown and beating Wray 19 to 8. The most exciting game last week was between Holyoke and Yuma. Holyoke won a 7-6 game and keep their league title hopes alive. This week 2 of the 3 games should be very good. The one game I think will be somewhat of a blowout will be between Wray vs Wiggins. Wray is in search of their first win and Wray should muscle past Wiggins and move to 1-1. The first big game features #1 Limon hosting Yuma. Yuma is 2-3 on the season and have played a very tough schedule with the 9th toughest schedule. Yuma will have their hands full again this week against Limon and will have to play their best game of the season. Limon made quick work of Wiggins and should move past Yuma as well. Limon has played great defense all year and they will have to contend with a balanced offensive attack. Limon seems to have figured their offense out and have scored over 30 points in 3 of their past 4 games. Limon should move to 2-0 in league. The big game this week will leave just two teams atop the North Central League. Burlington will make the trip up to Holyoke. Burlington played outstanding defense last week keeping a very good Wray team out of the end zone. Burlington will need to have the same intensity on offense this week if they plan on stopping an effective Holyoke offense. Burlington offensively must get things going as Holyoke has only allowed 12 point all year. Holyoke has been a big surprise team with a 5-0 record. Holyoke SOS is 29 so they have not played the toughest schedule. This will be the best team Holyoke has faced this season and we will know just how well this Holyoke team is. Holyoke defensively will have to deal with a balanced offense and their offense will have to find a way to move the ball. I am going with Burlington in this game and expect them to be tied with Limon atop the standings.
RPI: #1 Limon, #8 Holyoke, #9 Burlington, #14 Wray, #15 Yuma, #33 Wiggins
The Top 3 teams in the Northern League all got off to 1-0 starts and all three grabbed big wins. The closest game from last week was a 35 to 13 win for Cornerstone Christian over Estes Park. Strasburg beat Lyons 45 to 6 and Highland beat Pinnacle 48 to 0. This week only 1 big game to talk about with the other two facing 0-5 teams. Cornerstone Christian (3-2) faces Lyons (0-5) and should be move to 2-0 in league. Estes Park (2-3) hosts Pinnacle (0-5) and this is a big game for Estes Park if they want to stay in the league title race and the playoff race. If Estes Park drops this game they would be eliminated from the playoffs. I don’t see that happening and see Estes Park move to 1-1 in league. The big game this week pits #2 Strasburg vs Highland. Highland is 3-2 officially but they have 3 losses on the field. Highland almost beat The Academy losing by 1 but Highland was blown out by Wray and Holyoke. Highland will have to find a way to play great defense this week if they want to pull a huge upset. The Huskies also must be productive on offense as well. Strasburg bounced back last week after losing to Limon two weeks ago. Strasburg has played good football to start the season and when they won games have only given up 33 points. Strasburg will have to be ready for a balanced offense and get their offense going. I am going with Strasburg to move to 2-0 in league and make a big statement win.
RPI: #4 Strasburg, #17 Highland, #18 Cornerstone Christian, #26 Estes Park, #36 Lyons, #40 Pinnacle
Santa Fe League
The Santa Fe League got off to the expected start with the Top 3 teams all picking up wins. Peyton and Crowley County blew past their opponents and John Mall picked up a huge 28 to 12 wins over Trinidad. This week there is 1 game we are interested in the other two have 0-5 teams involved. Those games are Crowley County (4-1) vs Trinidad (0-5). I believe that Trinidad has forfeited this game. The other game could be a good one between Rocky Ford (1-4) and Ellicott (0-5). I do think Rocky Ford will get past Ellicott and Rocky Ford cannot afford to drop this game. Rocky Ford still has a slight shot at the playoffs but will need to run the table including an upset of Peyton. The main game this week has John Mall making the trip to Peyton. John Mall picked up an important 28 to 12 win over Trinidad. John Mall now has a shot to pick up a huge upset win. John Mall will have to play their best defensive game and they will have to figure out a way to slowdown Peyton rushing attack. John Mall also must get their offense going. I do think John Mall is about 1 or 2 years away from really being a threat for the playoffs and a league title. Peyton has played outstanding football this year. Peyton will focus on shutting down John Mall rushing attack and hope to get their rushing attack established. Peyton is the favorite in this game and should move to 2-0 in league and set up their league title game with Crowley County.
RPI: #3 Peyton, #6 Crowley County, #27 Ellicott, #31 Rocky Ford, #34 John Mall, #38 Trinidad
Southern Peaks League
The Southern Peaks League once again features the main two top teams Centauri and Monte Vista. Centauri blitzed Center 55 to 19 scoring 41 points in the first quarter and Center scoring all 19 points against the second and third string players of Centauri. Monte Vista also made very quick work of Dolores scoring 52 points in the first two quarters. The one team that didn’t play a league game was Ignacio and they were blasted by Colorado Springs Christian 49 to 0. After the first week it’s clear that the league battle will once again be between Monte Vista and Centauri and that game takes place this week. Centauri will be the favorite in that game. Centauri offensive attack is all about speed with Taj Cornum and Mason Claunch leading the rushing and passing attack. Centauri defense is led by player of the year Candidate Bennie Chacon and he will be a handful were ever he lines up. Centauri will have to be ready for a physical Monte Vista team. Monte Vista started the season slow picking up 3 straight loses all to solid team. Monte Vista may have found the right combination on their offensive line racking up over 250 yards rushing in back to back weeks. Monte Vista will have to take care of the ball on offense and must play their best game of the season. Monte Vista defensively also must be ready for Centauri speed. Monte Vista will need their leaders to step up on both sides of the ball if they plan on pulling the upset. Centauri is my pick in this game, but I expect the Pirates to put up a good fight. The other league game this week is Center at Ignacio. This is a critical game for both teams. Ignacio is looking to bounce back after last week’s game and hoping to move to 1-0 in league. Center will have to find some fight this week after being blasted by Centauri. Center has a shot to be 1-1 and tied for second but cannot lose to Ignacio. Center is my pick in this game but should be a tight game.
RPI: #2 Centauri, #19 Center, #21 Monte Vista, #28 Dolores, #29 Ignacio
The opening week of the Tri-Peaks had two teams grab important opening weekend wins. Florence scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to pull away from St. Mary’s 42 to 0. Buena Vista scored 44 first half points but couldn’t get the mercy rule going taking a 37-point lead into half time. Buena Vista was able to score 6 more points to get the mercy rule going. St. Mary’s never gave up and scoring 21 points in the second half to make Buena Vista sweat it out. This week Rye plays an out of league game against Dolores in a key game for RPI sake. The two league games this week should help determine a ton. Game #1 has Florence making the trip to St. Mary’s. St. Mary’s made the game close at the end against Buena Vista but struggled early in the game. St. Mary’s will have to find a way to slow down a very effective rushing attack. St. Mary’s also must get their offense going. Florence must continue to play solid defense and get their ground game going. Florence will have to be ready for a passing attack. I am going with Florence in the game. The big game in the Tri-Peaks will have Colorado Springs Christian at Buena Vista. Buena Vista had a great opening half against St. Mary’s putting up 44 points. Buena Vista will now be facing a much tougher opponent and will have to be ready to stop the run. Buena Vista offensively also must take care of the football and must have a big game from QB Parker Johnson. Colorado Springs Christian will have to be ready for the duel threat QB and be ready to stop the run. CSCS must establish the run early if they plan on taking control of the game. RB Peyton Brones must have a big game for CSCS. Colorado Springs Christian will be my pick in this game and it should be a good one.
RPI: #7 Buena Vista, #11 Colorado Springs Christian, #12 Florence, #23 St. Mary’s, #25 Rye
Western Slope League
The Western Slope league got off to the start I expected with Paonia, Meeker, and Olathe all grabbing wins. Paonia and Meeker blew past their opponents and Olathe scored a late touchdown and extra point to snag the 7 to 6 win over Cedaredge. All three games this week will have an impact. Game #1 features Grand Valley at Hotchkiss. Hotchkiss is #37 in the RPI and a loss here will officially eliminate them from playoff contention and the league title. Grand Valley is #22 in the RPI and played the 13th toughest schedule. Grand Valley is right on the cusp of being eliminated and a loss to Hotchkiss would be that lose to eliminate them. Grand Valley will have to probably win 3 of 5 league games which means they will have to upset either upset Paonia or Olathe. This is a must win for both teams and an elimination game. Game #2 is Meeker traveling to Cedaredge. Cedaredge played tough last week and came up just short to Olathe. Cedaredge has played tough against 1A teams losing close to Buena Vista and Olathe. Cedaredge is #20 in the RPI so a loss to Meeker won’t kill their playoff hopes but then they would probably also need to win 2 or 3 of their final games. Meeker picked up just their second win of the season after playing just 3 non-league games. Both of Meeker losses came Top 10 teams and they played well against #1 Limon. Meeker have a shot to move to 2-0 in league but will have to face a good defensive team. Meeker offensively must take care of the ball but should grab the win. The final game in the Western Slope is also the biggest game with Paonia hosting Olathe. Olathe had to score late to beat a tough Cedaredge team. Olathe I am sure has some things to fix on offense but defensively Olathe played well. Olathe now will have to fix their offensive problems and must be ready for the double wing attack of Paonia. Olathe will have their defensive discipline tested and a good chance for Olathe to pick up an upset. Paonia is playing good football and may have found their stride. Paonia did lose two weeks ago to Basalt but it was a close 16-0 game. Paonia defensively will have to stop the run and offensively must get the rushing attack established. Paonia and Olathe faced very similar teams all non-league and looking at scores this should be a close game. Paonia I would say is a 10-point favorite if you’re looking at scores. I am going with Paonia in this game, but it will be a defensive battle and whichever team can play more physical will win.
RPI: #5 Olathe, #10 Paonia, #13 Meeker, #20 Cedaredge, #22 Grand Valley #37 Hotchkiss