Class 2A Football State Championship Breakdown and Predictions
#4 La Junta vs #6 Platte Valley
Here we go the State Championship week for the smaller schools. The environments for the state championships are outstanding and most small communities rally around these events. In Class 2A this is the first year we have a neutral site as the game will be played at the Thunder Bowl at CSU-Pueblo.
La Junta returns to the state championship after falling to Bayfield in the State Championship. (Mistake corrected). La Junta won their last state championship in 2016. La Junta moved into the state championship holding off a late rally from Faith Christian and winning 20-14. Once again their ground game powered the way for the La Junta offense rushing for 240 yards. Jon Nuschy led the way with 187 yards rushing and 3 TD’s. Defensively La Junta limited the offensive attack from Faith Christian and held them to just 65 yards rushing. La Junta will have a few things to work on in the secondary as they did give up 165 yards passing. La Junta playoff run has been powered by their running game and their powerful offensive line. La Junta passing attack has been non-existent in the playoffs. The running game for La Junta has churned out 863 yards of rushing and Sr. Jon Nuschy has led the way for the Tigers racking up 494 yards of rushing and 8 TD’s. Antonio Chavez has also stepped up this post season with 148 yards rushing and 2 TD’s. La Junta offense relies on their offensive line to step up and they have this post season. La Junta offense during the year has scored 414 points which is #2 in Class 2A. The other reason for La Junta success must be their defense. La Junta defense has allowed only 82 points this year which is 20 lower than the next team. La Junta defense has not given up over 20 points this offseason and have stepped up when needed. Kody DiRezza is the leading tackles for the Tigers with 18 tackles but is closely followed by Jacob Tafoya and Noah Barrett at 16 tackles. The defense for La Junta has been the reason for their success and if they plan to be state champions their defense will be the reason.
Platte Valley returns to the state championship the first time since 2015. Platte Valley last state championship came in 2013 and they are looking to add another to the case. Platte Valley moved into the state championship upsetting the #2 Resurrection Christian 21-14. Platte Valley had good performances by both Trevon Wehrman and Ernesto Rios on offense. Trevon Wehrman threw for 121 yards and 1 TD, while rushing for 73 yards and 1 rushing TD. Ernesto Rios had 78 yards rushing and 1 TD which powered Platte Valley to the win. Defensively Platte Valley will work on trying to stop the run better giving up 241 yards but limiting the passing attack to 43 yards. Platte Valley must like the way their team played to reach the championship and are looking for one more upset. Platte Valley playoff run has been led by QB Trevon Wehrman, RB Ernesto Rios, and Platte Valley offensive line. Platte Valley offense attacks in a more balanced manner and helps keeps teams off balance. During the playoffs Trevon Wehrman leads all passers with 470 yards passing, 6 TD’s, and 2 INTs. The rushing attack for Platte Valley is also key. Platte Valley rushing attack is led by Ernesto Rios who has 490 yards rushing and Trevon Wehrman also has 219 yards rushing to help balance the offensive attack. Platte Valley offensive line is also not the biggest but play physical football. Platte Valley defense is #10 on the year in points allowed which I believe I mentioned if they can be a Top 10 defense they will go far. Platte Valley during the post season has allowed some points but their defense has made critical stops when needed. Platte Valley had to make critical stops last week against Resurrection Christian especially during the rally Resurrection Christian had in the second half. Josh Yancey leads all tacklers with 25 and closely followed by Roberto Lara (19) and Alberto Perez (18). Platte Valley defense will be tested once again, and they hope to rise to the challenge once again.
This should be a great match up and will make for a interesting environment with the game being played in Pueblo. La Junta is much closer to Pueblo then Kersey and I can imagine La Junta will travel extremely well to the game. Platte Valley travels well and will also do a good job of filling the stands. I am guessing that the stadium will have a pretty good crowd, but I am guessing La Junta will have a slight advantage with Pueblo being just a quick hour away. Offensively La Junta has relied solely on their rushing attack but can expect a wrinkle or two. Platte Valley offense is a balanced as it gets and makes their team that much tougher to stop. Defensively Platte Valley has stepped up in some key moments and made critical stops to win games. La Junta defense has dominated in all 3 games but also made some key stops against Faith Christian last week. This is a tough choice and I am going with La Junta to raise the gold ball (Wish it was still a gold ball). I think La Junta defense will make a difference in the game, but this will be an extremely close game and could go either way. I want to wish both team’s Good Luck and picking a winner was not easy but I had to pick a team.