8-Man League Predictions & Playoff Predictions
We move into 8-Man and look at my league predictions. I am going to try and shorten this article and 6-Man up due to running out of time. I will make it up to both 8-Man and 6-Man by starting my Top 10 breakdowns with Both Classes to make sure they get a good spotlight.
Arkansas Valley League
#2 Crowley County
The Ark Valley League features the runner up from a year ago and also is missing a traditional power in Hoehne. Fowler will be the favorite to win the Ark Valley league. Fowler return both leading rusher in Jackson Bates and Joshua Daniels from last year but will be in search of a new QB. Crowley County moves into 8-man this season and should tough right away. QB Tach Brewer and RB Adam Schulz will anchor a tough offense and should push Fowler for a league title. Holly is also in the mix for a league title. Holly return QB Dakota Eaton along with RB Donovan Pecina. Holly should prove tough for any team, but can they push Fowler and Crowley County. Springfield, I have sitting in 4th. Springfield went 2-7 a year ago but return key pieces at QB (Luke Hutches) and RB (Hayden Lasley). Springfield will have to improve defensively to move into the top half of the league. McClave I have sitting in 5th. McClave will be very young this season and could be a rebuilding year. McClave will probably be a year or two away from pushing for a league crown. Wiley did not win a game last year and will hope to improve this season. Wiley returns QB Cade Zordel and RB Aiden Michael these two should help Wiley improve.
My predictions for the Arkansas Valley League
League Champion: Fowler
Playoff Contenders: Fowler, Crowley County, Holly
Dark Horse: Springfield
Player of the League: RB Jackson Bates, Fowler
Others to watch for: RB Joshua Daniel (Fowler), QB Tach Brewer (Crowley County), RB Adam Schulz (Crowley County), QB Dakota Eaton (Holly), RB Donovan Pecina (Holly), QB Luke Hutches (Springfield), RB Hayden Lasley (Springfield), QB Cade Zordel (Wiley)
#2 South Park
#4 Denver Christian
The Central league is only a 5-team league so they will play two non-league games and will go along way to determine who or if anyone gets into the playoffs. The Central league is defiantly a toss-up and I had a hard time coming up with a team to win the league. I am going with Lyons. Lyons is moving from 1A down into 8-Man and have the most coming back out of the 5 teams. Lyons returns QB Sean Stevelinck and RB Frank Percarpio. Lyons, I think adjusts well to the 8-man game and I think win the Central in there first year. South Park is my pick to finish second. South Park will be looking for a new QB but return leading rusher Silas Newton who will have to become the leader of the offense. South Park also returns 5 of their top 8 tacklers and the defense should be improved. In third place I am going with Byers. Byers moves out of the super tough Plains league and should compete well in the Central League. Byers will be looking for a new QB but have leading rusher Brody Despard along 4 of their top 8 tacklers back. In 4th I am going with Denver Christian. Denver Christian played there first varsity season last year and went 3-4. We will see how they do this season but have very little stats posted and were very young just 1 senior graduating and I think Denver Christian is a year away from making some noise. Elbert is my pick for 5th. Elbert lose both there Starting QB and RB and will rebuilding their offense.
My predictions for the Central League
League Champion: Lyons
Playoff Contenders: Lyons and South Park
Dark Horse: Denver Christian
Player of the League: RB Frank Percarpio, Lyons
Others to watch for: QB Sean Stevelinck (Lyons), RB Silas Newton (South Park), Brody Despard (Byers)
#4 Dove Creek
#6 Sangre De Cristo
The Mountain League is loaded with 4 very tough teams and I would consider the Mountain League the second toughest in 8-Man and should make for a fun regular season. Sanford is my pick to win the Mountain League. Sanford will be looking for a new QB but with Josh Holman filling that spot and RB Kelton Gartrell back the offense should be solid. Defensively Sanford returns 4 of their top 8 tacklers and are led by Brett Price. My pick for second place is Mancos. Mancos will also be looking for a new QB but RB Chase Moore coming back along with Christian Cova the offense should still be tough. Defensively Mancos returns 4 of their 8 starters but have their leader Colt Fury back to lead the unit. Sargent is my pick to finish 3rd. Sargent returns plenty of talent and could push both Mancos and Sanford for the league crown. Sargent returns QB Kage Pepper, RB Blake Behil, and RB/WR Peyton Brown. The defense should also improve with 7 of their top 8 tacklers back. Sargent could be the wild card to upset either Sanford or Mancos. Dove Creek is another young team with loads of talent back. QB Chorbin Cressler, RB Gauge Thompson, and RB Gage Bailey are all back and should lead a tough offensive attack. Defensively Dove Creek will look to improve from last year and returning 6 of their top 8 tacklers will help. Norwood is my pick to finish 5th. Norwood had a tough season going 3-6. Norwood offensively rely heavily upon Tyler Wytulka and he must have a big season for Norwood to have success. Defensively Norwood should improve with 6 of their top 8 tacklers returning. Sangre De Cristo is my pick to finish 6th. Sangre De Cristo is trying to rebuild their program. QB Leighton Curtis and RB Craig Ford will help improve the offense but Sangre will look to their defense to really step up.
My predictions for the Mountain League
League Champion: Sanford
Playoff Contenders: Mancos, Sanford, Sargent, Dove Creek
Dark Horse: Sargent
Player of the League: RB Kelton Gartrell, Sanford
Others to watch for: QB Josh Holman (Sanford), RB Chase Moore (Mancos), LB Colt Fury (Mancos), QB Kage Pepper (Sargent), RB Blake Behil (Sargent), RB/WR (Peyton Brown), QB Chorbin Cressler (Dove Creek), RB Gauge Thompson (Dove Creek), RB Gage Bailey (Dove Creek), QB Tyler Wytulka (Norwood), QB Leighton Curtis (Sangre De Cristo)
#1 West Grand
#4 Gilpin County
#6 Vail Christian
The Northwest is typically a tough league, and nothing changes this year with some very tough teams. West Grand is my pick to win the Northwest league and they are coming back with a ton of talent. QB Jakob Buller, RB Rene Dominguez, and RB/WR Jesus Dominguez are all back and should provide plenty of offensive threats for the offense. Defensively West Grand returns 5 of their top 8 tacklers but will need to find some depth behind the defensive leaders. Rangely is my pick to finish second place. Rangely was hit by the injury bug last year but that allowed some valuable experience to other players. QB Anthony Lujan and RB Zane Varner are key players this season both played bit roles last season. Defensively Rangely returns 6 of their top 8 tacklers and this unit should be very tough. Soroco is my pick for third place. Soroco will also be returning with plenty of talent to make a run for a league title. Soroco return QB Tyler Wixom and RB Kody Logan. Defensively Soroco is returning 4 of their top 8 tacklers but look for Kody Logan to lead the unit. Gilpin County is my pick to finish 4th. Gilpin County has the offensive weapons to give teams fits but will need their defense to improve. Gilpin County returns QB Blake Boulter and RB Stephen King these two must carry the team offensively. Defensively Gilpin County returns 5 of their top 8 tacklers and will hope this unit can improve. Hayden is my pick for 5th Place. Hayden lose just 4 seniors from last years team and should give teams all they can handle. Remember Hayden went 4-5 last season. Vail Christian is my pick for 6th. Vail Christian lose a ton of talent from last years team including their QB and top 3 rushers. Look for Vail Christian to rebuild this season.
My predictions for the Northwest League
League Champion: West Grand
Playoff Contenders: West Grand, Rangely, Soroco
Dark Horse: Hayden
Player of the League: RB Rene Dominguez, West Grand
Others to watch for: QB Jakob Buller (West Grand), RB/WR Jesus Dominguez (West Grand), QB Anthony Lujan (Rangely), RB Zane Varner (Rangely), QB Tyler Wixom (Soroco), RB Kody Logan (Soroco), QB Blake Boulter (Gilpin County), RB Stephen King (Gilpin County),
#1 Sedgwick County
#2 Dayspring Christian
The Toughest League in 8-Man and also the home of the 5-Time Defending State Champions Sedgwick County. The Plains League will be extremely tough in the top 3 and should make for a fun regular season. I am going with Sedgwick County to win the Plains League. Sedgwick County returns plenty of talent to try and pull off the 6-Peat. Sedgwick County returns QB Jared Ehmke, #2 rusher Kaleb Fowler, and WR Terrance Heath. Sedgwick County defensively return 5 of their top 8 tacklers including their leader in Fabian Lopez. Dayspring Christian is my pick to finish second place. Dayspring Christian had a solid season a year ago reaching the semifinals and will hope to repeat that again this season. Dayspring Christian returns QB Christian Still but lose their leading rusher from a year ago. Defensively Dayspring Christian returns just 3 of their top 8 tacklers and this unit will have to grow up fast if they plan to upset Sedgwick County. Merino is my pick for third place. Merino was hit by the injury bug last season but allowed for some younger kids to gain valuable experience. Merion will have a new starting QB in Deacon Trenkle but return both leading rushers from a year ago in Andrew Frank and Trent Elliott. Defensively Merino returns 4 of their top 8 tacklers including their top 3 from a year ago. Merino is poised to make a run in the playoffs. Haxtun is my pick for 4th place. Haxtun had some growing pains last year with a lot of younger players but still went 4-5. Haxtun should take a big step this season especially with QB Owen Knode and RB Ike Andersen back. Haxtun defensively returns all 8 of their top 8 tacklers and this year should see Haxtun be very competitive and look for next year for Haxtun to try and push for a league title. Akron is my pick to finish 5th. Akron had a tough season a year ago going 1-8. Akron will be looking to bounce back from that season and will have QB Grayson Pachner back but the defense for Akron must improve this season. Caliche is my pick for 6th place. Caliche had a solid season a year ago and lose a very good senior class. Caliche will be rebuilding their offense losing their starting QB and top 4 rushers from a year ago.
My predictions for the Plains League
League Champion: Sedgwick County
Playoff Contenders: Sedgwick County, Merino, Dayspring Christian
Dark Horse: Haxtun
Player of the League: QB Jared Ehmke, Sedgwick County
Others to watch for: RB Kaleb Fowler (Sedgwick County), WR Terrance Heath (Sedgwick County), RB Andrew Frank (Merino), RB Trent Elliott (Merino), QB Christian Still (Dayspring Christian), RB/QB Garrett Krehbiel (Dayspring Christian), QB Owen Knode (Haxtun), RB Ike Andersen (Haxtun), QB Grayson Pachner (Akron)
#4 Pikes Peak Christian
#5 Dolores Huerta
The Southern League is also a 5-Man League and I believe will play their non-league games against the Central League. Simla is my pick to win the Southern League. Simla went 5-4 last year and missed the playoffs and are now primed for a playoff. Simla returns QB Coletin Mazerall and RB Brayden Glover. Defensively Simla returns 6 of their top 8 tacklers and this unit should see the most improvement from a year ago. Calhan is my pick to finish second. Calhan offensively will give teams fits returning QB Brandon Eglinton and RB Ryan Campbell. Calhan defensively returns 7 of their top 8 tacklers and this could be the season we see Calhan push for that league title. Swink is my pick to finish 3rd. Swink finished 4-5 last season and was a big improvement from a year ago. Swink returns plenty of offensive weapons with QB Trevin Holland and RB Matthew Mendoza coming back. Swink will have to find secondary weapons. Defensively Swink will have a few holes to fill with 4 of their 8 top tacklers returning. Pikes Peak Christian is my pick to finish 4th. Pikes Peak Christian had a great senior class and will be looking to rebuild the offense. Pikes Peak Christian loss their QB and top 3 rushers and will turning to sophomores and junior to step up. Defensively Pikes Peak Christian returns their leader Andrew Harris and 4 of their top 8 tacklers and this unit must carry Pikes Peak Christian. Dolores Huerta is who I have picked to finish last. Dolores Huerta has been trying to rebuild their program and we will see how things go for them this season.
My predictions for the Southern League
League Champion: Simla
Playoff Contenders: Simla and Calhan
Dark Horse: Pikes Peak Christian
Player of the League: QB Coletin Mazerall, Simla
Others to watch for: RB Brayden Glover (Simla), QB Brandon Eglinton (Calhan), RB Ryan Campbell (Calhan), RB Matthew Mendoza (Swink), LB Andrew Harris (Pikes Peak Christian)
In the 8-Man ranks I do not think league champions are all guaranteed berths. I think 4 leagues champions for sure are locks to get in and those are:
With the other two league champions we will have to watch what their RPI does. I think if Simla wins out they will get in especially if they beat Lyons and Lyons wins the Central. I do not think the Central League Champion gets into the 8. That means there are 3 playoffs spots open and I would say 6 teams have a shot at those spots. I think the second-place teams from the Mountain and Plains get in which in my predictions are Mancos and Dayspring Christian. That would then make Sargent, Merino, Crowley County and Rangely in a fight for the last spot. Non-League Games are crucial for this final spot and will come down to that. Looking at the non-league games I think Merino and Sargent have the best of the 4 teams. Flip a coin for that final spot because we will be dealing with decimal points to break that tie. Of course, these will change with results but here are my 8 teams.
(NOT IN ORDER!)
#1 Sedgwick County
#4 West Grand
#6 Dayspring Christian