8-Man Football Week 8 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 League has one team atop the league standings. Hoehne is 4-0 in league and has 3 very impressive wins over Springfield, Holly, and Fowler. Only one team McClave stands in their way of a league title and that could be fixed if Fowler beat McClave this weekend then Hoehne is your league champion. Hoehne plays a non-league game this week against Sangre De Cristo and should be 6-1 after this weekend. 3 league games take place this week and only 1 should really affect the league standings. McClave travels to Fowler in a battle of 2-1 teams. McClave is 3-3 on the year and took care of business last week beating Las Animas 50 to 0. McClave has struggled at times against top opponents but did play well against Springfield two weeks ago falling by 4. McClave desperately needs a key win and this could be the win they need. Fowler enters the game officially at 4-2 but on the field, they are 3-3 and 1-2 in league. Fowler has two league losses to Holly and Hoehne. Fowler picked up their first league win easily over Wiley last week 54-14. Fowler need to get back on track this week and their defense needs to be able to stop the run. Fowler also must get their offense going as well. Fowler should be able to bounce back this week, but this will be a tough game. The other two league games are Holly vs Wiley and Springfield vs Las Animas. Holly and Springfield should both walk away with wins and both move to 3-1 in league. RPI wise the Ark Valley league has eliminated only 1 team and that is Wiley. Las Animas is right on the verge of being eliminated and if they lose to Springfield this week I think they will be eliminated this week. Springfield and McClave are both outside the Top 20 and desperate for wins. Springfield should grab a win but McClave will need to upset Fowler. If McClave loses they probably won’t drop but put their post season hopes in the balance. Fowler is #12 and a win over McClave will either increase them 1 or 2 spots or keep them in the same spot. Holly is #11 and they probably will trade places with Fowler if Fowler wins. #5 Hoehne is a lock for the playoffs if they beat Sangre De Cristo.
RPI: #5 Hoehne, #11 Holly, #12 Fowler, #21 Springfield, #26 McClave, #30 Las Animas, #39 Wiley
We may have a league champion after this week. Front Range Christian beat Elbert last week to move to 3-0 in league and are 1 win away from locking up the league championship. Front Range Christian plays Justice this week and a win over Justice will give them the league title. Justice is 1-1 in league and 2-3 overall. Justice has a chance to force a 4-way tie for first with the win, but they will have to find a way to stop a high-flying offense. Justice will need their offense to play outstanding as well. FRCH is 4-2 on the season and their offense has been outstanding scoring 258 points. FRCH biggest knock will be their defense as they have given up 210 points. This is FRCH first year in 8-man and they are looking to lock up their first playoff berth in a long time. FRCH is my pick to lock up the Central League Championship and the automatic playoff berth. That is the only league game this week. Looking at the RPI numbers the Central league is probably the weakest league in 8-man. Elbert, Justice, and Rocky Mountain Lutheran are all outside the top 35 and all eliminated from the playoff hunt. If Front Range Christian beats Justice, they may grab the only berth for the league. South Park is #24 and play just 1 more game. They have back to back bye weeks and with only 1 game against Elbert I am not sure how much their RPI can increase.
RPI: #24 South Park, #25 Front Range Christian, #35 Elbert, #36 Justice, #38 Rocky Mountain Lutheran
The Mountain League has 1 team standing alone at the Top of the standings. Mancos is 4-0 in league and have wins over Sargent, Sanford, Del Norte, and Sangre De Cristo. Mancos is 1 win away from locking up the league title and the automatic playoff berth. Mancos beat Sanford last week 34 to 18 and the game was much closer than the score indicates. Mancos scored 16 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to pull away. Mancos this week travels to face rival Norwood. Norwood is 4-3 overall and 2-2 in league. Norwood cannot win the league title, but they are hoping to get into the playoffs. Norwood will have to find a way to get their offense going against a very good Mancos defense. Mancos is rolling now, and their defense has been key. Mancos held on to beat Sargent and Sanford and now just 1 win gets them the league championship. Mancos will have to find answers to stopping Will Gabriel from Norwood. I am going with Mancos to win this game and grab the league championship. Sanford, Sargent, and Dove Creek all sit at 2-1 and tied for second place. Sanford lost to Mancos in a hard-fought game and this week play rival Del Norte. Del Norte has struggled defensively all year and if they plan on spoiling Sanford night their defense will have to step up. Sanford cannot overlook Del Norte as both Norwood and Mancos have and nearly were upset. I think Sanford will bounce back against Del Norte. Another huge game was Sargent hosting Dove Creek which was on 10/11. Sargent grab a huge win over Dove Creek 74-20. Sargent scored 30 unanswered points in the 2nd quarter to put the game away. RPI wise Del Norte and Sangre De Cristo are eliminated from the playoffs if neither can grab a win this week. Dove Creek is outside the Top 16 and their lose to to Sargent probably will have them fall to #18 or #19. Sargent is #14 and their win should have move up near the Top 12. Norwood is #14 and if they lose to Mancos would probably drop to #16 or #17 and if they win could jump them into the Top 10. Sanford and Mancos are Top 10 RPI teams and if both win this week should be locks for the playoffs.
RPI: #4 Mancos, #7 Sanford, #14 Norwood, #15 Sargent, #17 Dove Creek, #29 Del Norte #32 Sangre De Cristo
West Grand is alone atop the Northwest League Standings. West Grand is 3-0 in league and 6-0 overall. West Grand controls their own destiny and have only 1 tough game remaining against Soroco next week. West Grand of course cannot overlook Hayden and Gilpin County, but West Grand will be heavily favored in those games. Rangely and Soroco are tied at 2-1 in the league standings and that tie will be broken this week. Soroco lost last week to Vail Christian 74 to 66. Soroco offensively has been unstoppable and Jace Logan is rushing for crazy amounts weekly. Jace Logan has 1,788 yards rushing and 36 TDs. Soroco though is struggling on defense and now back to back weeks of giving up over 45 points. Soroco defensively will have their hands full on defense this week and will need someone to step up to slow down a very good offense from Rangely. Rangely is 5-1 overall and they suffered they only defeat to West Grand 20-12 two weeks ago. Rangely bounced nicely blowing past Hayden 58 to 12. Rangely defensively will have to find a way to stop Jace Logan or they will have to outscore Soroco. Rangely offensively should have limited problems but they key to this game will be can Rangely stop Jace Logan. I am going with Rangely in this game and I think they can slow Logan down enough to win. Looking at the rest of the standings Vail Christian and Plateau Valley are tied at 2-2 and Vail Christian should move to 3-2 and Plateau Valley has a bye. Looking at the RPI only Gilpin County is eliminated from the playoffs. Hayden is very close to being eliminated and if they lose to West Grand probably will be eliminated. Plateau Valley is #23 and close to elimination zone. They have a bye this week and will probably need to upset Vail Christian or Rangely to try and move into the Top 16. Soroco dropped to #18 after losing to Vail Christian. I was surprised how much Soroco dropped and if they lose to Rangely I am not sure how much they will drop. Vail Christian, Rangely, and West Grand are all in the Top 10. Vail Christian should beat Gilpin County, but that win might not help them too much. If Rangely wins and West Grand win this week they are locks for the playoffs.
RPI: #1 West Grand, #2 Rangely, #9 Vail Christian, #18 Soroco, #23 Plateau Valley, #28 Hayden, #34 Gilpin County
Two undefeated teams remain in the Plains league, Sedgwick County is 4-0 and Caliche is 3-0. Sedgwick County has a bye this week and play Caliche next week for the league title. Caliche on the other hand has a tough game ahead with them traveling to Akron. Akron is 4-2 overall and 2-1 in league. Akron has two losses this year to Sedgwick County and Fowler. Akron is completely reliant on their rushing attack and they need to have success running the ball to have a shot at upsetting Caliche. Akron defensively is tough. They have given up points, but they have also played tough when needed. They held a very good offensive team in Holly to just 6 points. Akron will have to play their best game this season to pull the upset. Caliche moved to 3-0 in league with a 28-14 win over Merino. Caliche like Akron relies on their rushing attack but have be able to pass a bit this year. Caliche defensively have also played tough and proved it by holding Merino to just 14 points. Caliche is my favorite in the game, but this will be a tough physical game. One other big game of note is Merino at Dayspring Christian. Dayspring Christian is 2-2 in league and a .5 game ahead of Merino. They could be the key win Dayspring Christian is missing from jumping into the Top 16 of the RPI. Merino has lost 2 straight games and are looking to snap the streak. They are right on the edge of the Top 16 of the RPI and a win would help their cause. Merino is my pick, but this could be a high scoring game. RPI wise the plain league is in good shape. Byers is at #22 and Haxtun is at #31 those two teams play each other, and the winner will keep their hopes alive and the loser more than likely will be eliminated. Dayspring Christian is #19 and a win over Merino would probably move them ahead of Merino in the RPI. Merino is #16 and fighting to stay in the Top 16 and a win over Dayspring Christian would do that. Caliche, Akron, and Sedgwick County are all in the Top 10 of the RPI. Caliche and Akron face each other, and I don’t expect the loser to drop outside the Top 10 and if they do probably to #11. Sedgwick County is probably a lock for the playoffs but hope to move up in the RPI for seeding.
RPI: #3 Sedgwick County, #6 Akron, #8 Caliche, #16 Merino, #19 Dayspring Christian, #22 Byers, #31 Haxtun
One team sits atop the league standings and that is Pikes Peak Christian at 4-0 in league. Pikes Peak Christian is also your League champion as they have only 1 league game remaining and that is against Swink. Pikes Peak Christian is now hoping to finish running the table to increase their RPI for seeding. Simla sits also alone in second place and they face Swink this week. Swink was blasted by Calhan 62-16. Simla is hoping to duplicate those results and I expect a similar result as well. The only other league game is Custer County at Miami-Yoder and I expect a big win for Custer County and for them to move over .500 on the year. 1 last game to mention is a non-league game between Calhan and Elbert and this is a monster game for both teams trying to grab valuable RPI points. Speaking of RPI only 2 teams are eliminated from the playoffs Swink and Miami-Yoder. Calhan is #27 and a win over Elbert will keep them in the hunt a loss to Elbert and they may be eliminated next week. Custer County is just outside the Top 16 at #20. Custer County will probably need to win their final 2 games and hope their RPI increases enough. Simla is #13 and winning out is imperative to staying in the Top 16. They are playing their final 3 games against below .500 teams and they will have to carefully watch their RPI. They may need help to stay in the Top 16. I will look more in depth at all RPI’s next week.
RPI: #10 Pikes Peak Christian, #13 Simla, #20 Custer County, #27 Calhan #33 Swink, #40 Miami-Yoder,