Class 1A League Predictions & Playoff Predictions
We move into Class 1A and take a look at the 5 leagues. Remember these are just my predictions and used as a jumping off point and to have some fun to look towards the regular season. With only 8 teams getting into the playoffs I think the league champions all have a good shot of getting in. The remaining 3 spots will be up for grabs and second place teams will have their eyes on those spots. Something I forgot to do on my 2A League Predictions I will include in my 1A Predictions.
#3 Prospect Ridge
#4 Platte Canyon
#7 Banning Lewis
The Foothills League become much tougher this season with the addition of Strasburg, Bennett, and Prospect Ridge. My pick to win the Foothills League is Strasburg. Strasburg returns a ton of talent from last years team including QB Collin Russell, RB Trystan Graf, and WR A.J Hemphill. The defense will also be stout with 7 of their top 11 tackler returning. Bennett is my pick for second place. Bennett moves back into 1A after a two-year stint in 2A. Bennett will have plenty of talent to challenge Strasburg for the league title including QB Mikey Babi and RB Mac Copeland. Bennett defensively will have a few holes to fill. Bennett returns 6 of their top 11 tackler but have the leadership back. My pick for 3rd Place is Prospect Ridge Academy. Prospect Ridge also drops from Class 2A down into Class 1A. Prospect Ridge went 2-7 last year and hope to improve this season. Prospect Ridge returns QB Dylan Meredith but will need to find some additional weapons. Defensively Prospect Ridge returns 8 of their top 11 tacklers and should improve. Platte Canyon is my pick for 4th place. Platte Canyon was young last year with a lot of Sophomores starting. QB Allen Hardey returns but Platte Canyon will be looking for a new RB. Platte Canyon will be a year away from really making some noise. Jefferson went 4-5 last year but lose some key pieces from last years teams. Jefferson will be looking for a new QB this season and top RB. Jefferson may be looking to rebuild this season. Pinnacle and Banning Lewis are my pick for 6th and 7th. Pinnacle went 2-7 last year but return their starting QB from last year. Banning Lewis will be having there first Varsity season this year.
My predictions for the Foothills League
League Champion: Strasburg
Playoff Contenders: Strasburg & Bennett
Dark Horse: Prospect Ridge
Player of the League Prediction: QB Collin Russell, Strasburg
Others to watch for: RB Trystan Graf (Strasburg), RB Mac Copeland (Bennett), QB Mikey Bibi (Bennett), QB Dylan Meredith (Prospect Ridge), QB Allen Hardey (Platte Canyon)
North Central League
The loaded North Central League has plenty of top teams but at most I see the North Central only getting 3 teams into the playoffs. The North Central league will be a battle and all games played are league games. Honestly, I think after Limon things get tricky and I can see a few teams with a shot at finishing second place. My pick to win the North Central league is Limon. Limon is also my preseason pick to win Class 1A and go for the three-peat. Limon is loaded once again with QB Trey Hines, RB Kory Tacha, and RB Jeremiah Leeper all back. The biggest loss for Limon will be the leader on the offensive line from a year ago. Defensively Limon returns 9 of their top 11 tacklers and should be one of the best in Class 1A. Wray is my pick for second place. Wray will have there work cut out from them to try and finish in the #2 spot with all the tough teams in the league. Wray will return QB Tyler Collins and #2 RB Junior Arambula. Look for both players to really step up this season. Defensively Wray returns 8 of their top 11 tacklers but will be looking for a new leader. My pick for 3rd place is Highland. Highland went 7-4 last season and made the playoffs and now step into the ultra-competitive North Central League. Highland will bring plenty of talent to the table with QB Sam Hnizdil and RB Holden Morgan back. Defensively Highland will have a few holes to fill with 5 of their top 11 tacklers returning. Highland will look to Holden Morgan and Colton Pettit to become defensive leaders this season. Holyoke is my pick to finish 4th. Holyoke lost some key players from last years 11-1 team and will look to some younger kids to really step up this season. QB Miles Sprague is back after throwing for over 2000 yards. Holyoke will be searching for a new RB and new weapons at WR. Defensively Holyoke will also have a few holes to fill. Holyoke returns 5 of their top 11 tacklers but only 2 of their top 6 tacklers return and look for Aidyn Shafer and Miles Sprague to become defensive leaders this season. Burlington is my pick for 5th place. Burlington went 3-6 last year but had a few new faces in the skill position and this season return those players and could prove big in this tough league. Burlington returns QB Michael Gutierrez and RB Braxton Erker. Burlington defensively will be searching for a new leader but with 9 of their 11 top tacklers return look for a few players to really step up. My pick for 6th place is Yuma. Yuma had a good season a year ago going 6-4 and reaching the playoffs. Yuma will have some key pieces back from last years team including RB Clay Robinson, but Yuma will be searching for a new QB and another weapon on offense. Defensively Yuma will return 6 of their 11 top tacklers and look for Clay Robinson and Yahir Trejo to step up as leaders for Yuma. In 7th I have Wiggins. Wiggins will be much improved this season especially with sophomore QB Cole Kerr returning. Wiggins is probably a year or two away from really taking a shot at the league title.
My predictions for the North Central League
League Champion: Limon
Playoff Contenders: Limon, Wray, Highland, Holyoke, Burlington, Yuma
Dark Horse: Burlington
Player of the League: RB Kory Tacha, Limon
Others to watch for: RB Jeremiah Leeper (Limon), QB Trey Hines (Limon), QB Tyler Collins (Wray), RB Junior Arambula (Wray), QB Sam Hnizdil (Highland), RB Holden Morgan (Highland), QB Miles Sprague (Holyoke), QB Michael Gutierrez (Burlington), RB Clay Robinson (Yuma), QB Cole Kerr (Wiggins)
Southern Peaks League
#2 Monte Vista
#6 Del Norte
The Southern Peaks League has been dominated by Centauri and Monte Vista since they have dropped into Class 1A and I don’t think much changes this season besides Center being a force to recon with as well. My pick to win the SPL is Centauri. Centauri is loaded at the skill position with RB Mason Claunch, RB Zach Buhr, and WR Baron Holman all back along with a few others not listed. Centauri will have a new QB this season in Mckay Russell and he will have all the weapons to be successful. The offensive line is my biggest question mark for Centauri, but Coach Forster will have them ready to go. Defensively Centauri will be looking for a leader and will have 6 of their 11 top tacklers back. Buhr, Claunch, and Brady will have to step up this season for Centauri. Monte Vista is my pick for second place. Monte Vista struggled a bit last season going 3-6 and look for them to bounce back. Monte Vista lose a key piece of there offense from a season ago. QB Colton Mellott returns to start at QB and RB Cobi Garcia is also back after being injured most of last season. The big plus for Monte Vista will be the offensive line with 4 of their 5 starters coming back. Defensively Monte Vista returns 6 of their 11 tacklers and will look for some younger kids to really step up this season. Keyshawn Martinez will be back to lead the defense. Center is my pick for 3rd place. Center will be returning a lot of talent at the skill position and will lean on a young offensive line to step up to varsity competition. Center will return QB Habran Delacruz, RB Abraham Echauri, and TE Carlos Almeida. Defensively Center returns 7 of their top 11 tacklers and this unit should improve this season. Ignacio is my pick for 4th place. Ignacio canceled/forfeited (Checking on this) there first game of the season to Meeker so will only play league games. Ignacio is returning plenty of talent only losing 6 seniors and should push the top 3 teams. I don’t have stats on Ignacio so we will keep a close eye on what goes on with Ignacio. Dolores is my pick for 5th place. Dolores struggled last season but played a lot of sophomores so they are a young team and should improve this season. Dolores return QB Wyatt Koski and RB William Taylor. Dolores defensively returns 7 of their top 11 tacklers but will lean on those Junior to become leaders on defense. Del Norte is my pick for 6th place. Del Norte moves back into 11-man after playing a few season of 8-Man. Del Norte will have QB Malachi Gallegos and RB Fletcher Madrid back but will be looking for some other weapons to step up. Defensively Del Norte returns 6 of their 11 tacklers. My biggest concern is moving back into 11 man and how they adjust.
My predictions for the Southern Peaks League
League Champion: Centauri
Playoff Contenders: Centauri, Monte Vista, Center
Dark Horse: Center
Player of the League: RB Mason Claunch, Centauri
Others to watch for: RB Zach Buhr (Centauri), RB Cobi Garcia (Monte Vista), QB Habran Delacruz (Center), RB Abraham Echauri (Center), QB Wyatt Koski (Dolores), RB Fletcher Madrid (Del Norte)
#1 C.S Christian
#4 Rocky Ford
The Tri-Peaks league will have some tough teams again this year, but I think will be dominated by the two favorites to win the league. I am going with C.S Christian to win the Tri-Peaks league. C.S Christian went 8-3 a year ago and will look to improve this season. C.S Christian return QB Caleb Stockton, RB Joe Dunn, and most of the starters on the offensive line. Defensively C.S Christian returns 8 of their 11 top tacklers including leaders Elijah Burkett, Joe Dunn, and Rian Chavez. C.S Christian will hope to make one last run with a tough senior class. Florence is my pick for second place. Florence is also back with a ton of talent and I think it’s a two-team race for the league crown. Florence return QB Josh Martinez, RB Jacob Kennedy, and RB Owen Busetti. Defensively Florence will return 5 of their top 11 tacklers so they will turn to some younger players to really step up and fill the holes. Florence defensively has their leader in Owen Busetti back and should keep the defense tough. My pick for 3rd place is Peyton. Peyton will have some key pieces returning but will be looking for some younger players to step up. Peyton returns RB Brandon Hussey and Peyton must find some other skill players to step up. Defensively Peyton should be tough with 9 of their top 11 tacklers returning. Peyton will lean heavily on their defense until the offense gets things sorted out. Rocky Ford is my pick for 4th. Rocky Ford is losing some key pieces from last years playoff team. Rocky Ford will be looking for a new QB along with weapons at WR. Rocky Ford will return RB Chance Finch and he will have to become huge for the offense. Defensively Rocky Ford will be searching for a leader and some players to really step up. Rye is my pick for 5th place. Rye reached the playoffs a season ago going 6-4. Rye will return QB Hayden Polk but lose their top 3 RBs from a year ago. Defensively Rye return 5 of their top 11 tacklers but will be searching for a leader on Defense. My pick for 6th place is Trinidad. Trinidad struggled a season ago and will look to improve this season. This program will be searching for an identity and we will see how things go for Trinidad.
My predictions for the Tri-Peaks League
League Champion: C.S Christian
Playoff Contenders: C.S Christian and Florence
Dark Horse: Peyton
Player of the League: RB Owen Busetti, Florence
Others to watch for: QB Caleb Stockton (C.S Christian), RB Joe Dunn (C.S Christian), RB Jacob Kennedy (Florence), RB Brandon Hussey (Peyton), RB Chacne Finch (Rocky Ford), QB Hayden Polk (Rye)
The Western Slope should be competitive as always but I think the question is can anyone beat the top two teams in the league. Meeker is my pick to win the Western Slope League. Meeker went 9-2 last year and had their playoff cut short with a loss to Centauri. Meeker had an injury to their QB in the playoffs. Offensively Meeker should be extremely talented and have QB Ryan Phelan, RB Jeremy Woodward, RB Kelton Turner and WR Colby Clatterbaugh all back. Meeker defensively will return 6 of their 11 top tacklers and will turn to Clatterbaugh and Turner to become leaders of the defense. Hotchkiss is my pick for second place. Hotchkiss had a lot of success last season going 7-3 and reaching the playoffs and they will look to build on that success. Hotchkiss also only loss 6 seniors from last years team. Offensively QB Yahir Chavez is back but Hotchkiss will be looking to replace their #1 RB and look for Traycer Hall to possibly do that. Defensively Hotchkiss returns 7 of their top 11 tacklers. Hotchkiss should be poised to push Meeker for the league title. In 3rd place I am going with Cedaredge. Cedaredge had a tough season last year going 2-7 but had a lot of players gain valuable experience for a push at a playoff spot. Cedaredge returns QB Jacob Brown and WR Colby Rupp. Cedaredge will be looking for a RB to step up this season. Defensively Cedaredge return 9 of their 11 top tacklers and this unit should be much improved from a season ago. My pick for 4th place is Paonia. Paonia is losing a lot of talent from last years team and will be looking to rebuild. The big weapons returning for Paonia will be RB Anthony Miller and WR Dom Felice. Paonia will be looking for a new QB. Defensively Paonia returns 4 of their top 11 tacklers. Miller and Felice will have to step up as leaders on defense this season. Gunnison is my pick for 5th place. Gunnison is back to Varsity Football after not having a Varsity team in 2018 & 2019. Gunnison will have some talent with QB Nico Marchitelli and RB Braydon Duncan back. Gunnison will be tested after playing JV teams but should be competitive in there first year back. Olathe is my pick for 6th. Olathe lose 10 seniors from last years team and take with them most of the offensive weapons. Olathe did not keep stats but loss their starting QB and #1 RB. Olathe could have a bit of a rebuilding season this year.
My predictions for the Western Slope League
League Champion: Meeker
Playoff Contenders: Meeker and Hotchkiss
Dark Horse: Cedaredge
Player of the League: QB Ryan Phelan, Meeker
Others to watch for: RB Jeremy Woodward (Meeker), RB Kelton Turner (Meeker), WR Colby Clatterbaugh (Meeker), QB Yahir Chavez (Hotchkiss), RB Traycer Hall (Hotchkiss), QB Jacob Brown (Cedaredge), WR Colby Rupp (Cedaredge), RB Anthony Miller (Paonia), QB Nico Marchitelli (Gunnison)
With only 8 teams getting into the playoffs you have to figure each League Champion will get into the playoffs. Using my predictions that gives you:
After those 5 teams it opens 3 spots for Wildcard teams and that is where things get tricky. The North Central League is the toughest League but with games only played inside the league if they beat each other up it could affect there RPI. I do think all second-place teams will have a shot at getting in. The non-league games in the Southern Peaks, Tri-Peaks, and Western Slope are crucial and will go along way with figuring out who gets in. For this first prediction I am going with Wray, Florence, and Bennett as the three teams that get in. Florence and Bennett, I think run the table if they lose to the first-place teams. The North Central is going to be tough but if Wray goes 5-1 or 4-2 and finish in second, I think they get in. I went Bennett of Hotchkiss because Hotchkiss could be playing a team that wins just 1 game in the non-league and I went Bennett over Monte Vista due to Monte Vista having possibly two losses, but both could come to undefeated teams.
(These are not in order!!!)
#4 C.S Christian