8-Man Football Week 2 League Breakdown & Playoff Prediction Update
In the 8-Man ranks most teams played a non-league game and that will go along way to determining playoff seeding. Most teams move into league play this week and there are some huge games on tap this week. At the end of the article I will update my Playoff Predictions after Week 1.
Arkansas Valley League
The Ark Valley League went 3-3 in Week 1 but the teams that lost played tough in their games. We move into league play and open with 3 very good games. Holly travels to Springfield, McClave travels to Crowley County, and Wiley travels to Fowler. The first game to talk about is McClave at Crowley County. McClave opened the 2020 season with a 55-12 loss to Sedgwick County. Even though McClave lost this game this was huge experience for McClave as they head into league play. Crowley County played there first ever 8-Man game and beat Akron 35-0. Crowley County is returning a ton of defensive players and showed with the shutout. RB Adam Schultz also had a big game rushing for 202 yards in the win. Crowley County will be tested by McClave and Crowley County cannot overlook McClave. The next game to talk about is Wiley vs Fowler. Wiley in week 1 played Merino tough falling 16-0. This was a big improvement for Wiley defensively. Offensively Wiley will need to get something going but I think Wiley may be better than expected especially on Defense. Fowler will have a short week this week playing Tuesday and turning around and playing Saturday. Fowler was able to walk away with the 46-0 victory over Caliche. Fowler will have a quick turnaround and must be ready for a tough Wiley team. The final game to touch on is Springfield vs Holly. Springfield played tough in there opening but falling short losing to Dayspring Christian 56 to 32. Springfield was outscored in the 3rd quarter 22 to 6 and that proved to be the difference. Springfield will look to build on their week one performance heading into league play. Springfield had a big day from RB Hayden Lasley who rushed for 192 yards. Holly was involved in a good old fashion shootout in week 1. Holly walked away with the 48-44 victory over Haxtun. Holly had a big performance from QB Dakota Eaton who threw for 221 yards. This win is huge for Holly, but they may be involved in another shootout this week with Springfield. Going into league I am sticking with Fowler as my favorite to win the Ark Valley League. I do think Holly, Crowley County, and Springfield will be the main challengers.
Playoff Contenders: Fowler, Holly, Crowley County, Springfield,
The Central League got off to a rough start. The Central League went 0-5 in week 1 and all teams will be looking to bounce back this week. Byers had the best performance in week 1 falling just short to Swink 24-20. We have 2 league games this week and we will start to see some sorting of the teams. Denver Christian travels to Lyons and South Park travels to Byers. Denver Christian opened week 1 with a loss to Simla 52-7. Denver Christian had a tough 2nd quarter getting outscored 32-7 and struggled to get their offense going. Lyons was my preseason pick to win the Central league. Lyons fell in week 1 to Pikes Peak Christian 30-6. Offensively Lyons found success passing the ball throwing for 131 yards, but the rushing attack was shutdown. Defensively Lyons will have a few things to fix giving up over 400 yards. The last game to touch upon is South Park at Byers. South Park fell in a tough 28-16 game to Dolores Huerta. Turnovers were the difference in the game with South Park have 6 turnovers and only forcing 1. South Park had some success with RB Leo Banuelos rushing for 108 yards. Byers as mentioned had a tough loss to Swink 24-20. Byers had some success from QB Dean Kerns who threw for 124 yards. Byers will hope to get the rushing attack going this week. The Central League I think is in a tough spot and 1 team will have to run the table to get into the playoffs. In my preseason predictions I had Lyons selected to win and I am sticking to that this week. I think Byers can challenge for that crown.
Playoff Contenders: Lyons
Week 1 for the Mountain League was pretty good with the Mountain League going 4-1 in those games. Week 1 in the Mountain League should be pretty good with 2 very solid matchups and both going a long way to determining playoff seeding and the league standings. The 3 league games are Sangre De Cristo at Sanford, Dove Creek at Sargent, and Mancos at Norwood. The one game I will just quickly touch on is Sangre De Cristo at Sanford. Sangre De Cristo fell to Rangely 46-6. Sangre De Cristo will need to use that game as experience and be ready for another top 10 team this week. Sanford opened their 2020 campaign with an impressive 50 to 12 win over Soroco. Sanford was leading at Halftime 40 to 0 and cruised to the win over a playoff contending team. Sanford cannot overlook Sangre De Cristo to next week. The next game to look at is Mancos vs Norwood. Norwood did not play in week 1 due to West Grand having to Cancel their game. Norwood will lean heavily upon Tyler Wytulka this season. Mancos picked up a solid 52-6 victory over Hayden in week 1. Mancos had solid performances from RB Chase Moore who rushed for 126 yards and returned a punt for a TD. Mancos will have their hands full with Norwood and could be a trap game with Sargent coming up next week. The main event in the Mountain League and possibly across all of 8-Man is Sargent hosting Dove Creek. Dove Creek is coming off an impressive 52-20 victory over Vail Christian. Dove Creek was powered by their rushing attack putting up a insane 494 yards rushing. 3 RB’s put up over 145 yards and is a good sign for Dove Creek this season. Dove Creek will have a much tougher opponent this week but look for the 3 headed monsters of Cressler, Thompson, and Bailey to have a big performance. Sargent had a hard fought 22 to 8 victory over Gilpin County. Sargent had a turnover problem in game #1 giving up 4 fumbles. Sargent did find success on offense rushing for 329 yards and were powered by RB Payton Brown. Look for Sargent to fix their turnover problem this week against a tough Dove Creek team. The Mountain League looks to be a 4-team race as mentioned in the preseason predictions. I think that is still true and I am sticking with Sanford as my favorite to win the Mountain League.
Playoff Contenders: Sanford, Mancos, Sargent, Dove Creek
A very tough week for the Northwest League. The Northwest league went head to head with the mountain league and went 1-4 in those games. West Grand did not play last week due to Covid. 3 league games are on tap this week and all 3 are important for the league title race and of course the playoff push. The 3 league games this week are Soroco at Rangely, Gilpin County at Vail Christian, and West Grand at Hayden. Vail Christian vs Gilpin County is where we will kick things off. Vail Christian fell in a tough 52-20 loss to Dove Creek. Vail Christian defensively was gashed for 494 yards and look for them to fix that defensively. Vail Christian is a young team this season losing many of the key pieces to last years playoff team. Gilpin County fell in week 1 to Sargent 22-8. Gilpin County was able to force 4 turnovers in the game but was not able to capitalize. Gilpin County did have some success on the ground rushing for 211 yards. I do think the loser of this game will be out of the playoff/league title hunt. Hayden vs West Grand is the second game we look at. Hayden in week 1 fell to Mancos 52-6. Turnovers hurt Hayden in the game as they had 3 in the game. Hayden will look to fix those mistakes heading into there week 2 matchup with West Grand. West Grand did not play in Week 1 due to covid and their game against Hayden will be on Tuesday October 20th. This is a massive game for both teams. The main event in the Northwest League is Soroco at Rangely. Soroco will look to bounce back after falling to Sanford 50 to 12. Soroco will face another run heavy team this week and we will see what changes Soroco made defensively. Rangely was the only team victorious in week 1 picking up the 46 to 6 win over Sangre De Cristo. Rangely was able to run the ball effectively rushing for 309 yards. This week Rangely is facing a much tougher test in Soroco and a win over Soroco will give them a huge leg up in the Northwest League race. My preseason prediction had West Grand winning the league and I am sticking with that prediction.
Playoff Contenders: West Grand, Rangely, Soroco
The Plains League went head to head against the Ark Valley league and went 3-3. We now move into league play this week for the plains league and 3 games. The 3 games are Akron at Sedgwick County, Caliche at Merino, and Dayspring Christian at Haxtun. Akron at Sedgwick County is were we will start. Akron fell to Crowley County 35-0 in week 1. Akron played tough in the game but could not get things going on Offense. Akron will now face the defending State Champions and will be big for experience. Sedgwick County cruised to the 55 to 12 victory over McClave. Sedgwick County is the favorite to win it all against this season. Sedgwick County will focus defensively on stopping the run this week and moving into league play we will see their schedule increase in difficulty. Caliche vs Merino is the next game to touch upon in the plains league. Caliche fell in week 1 to Fowler 46 to 0. Caliche hung tough with Fowler but the inexperience for Caliche was the difference. Caliche will look to bounce back this week but face a tough Merino rushing attack. Merino was able to escape with the 16 to 0 victory over Wiley in week 1. Merino was tested in Week 1 and should be good for them as they move into league play. Merino cannot overlook Caliche this week and could be a trap game as they have Dayspring Christian next week. The main event in the Plains league is Haxtun hosting Dayspring Christian. Haxtun fell in a shootout with Holly 48 to 44. Haxtun played well offensively but defensively struggled to stop the passing attack of Holly. Haxtun will not have to refocus on a very balanced offensive attack from Dayspring Christian. Dayspring Christian was also in a tough fight with Springfield but were able to pull away with the 56 to 32 victory. Dayspring Christian had a huge offensive day putting up over 550 yards of total offense. We knew going into this season how dangerous Dayspring Christian offense could be. QB Christian Still had a huge day passing for 333 yards and rushing for another 139 yards. Dayspring Christian will look to fix the defensive mistakes mainly on the run defense. Dayspring Christian vs Haxtun will be a great matchup and will also go a long way to determining the playoff race. I am sticking with Sedgwick County as my favorite to win the Plains League.
Playoff Contenders: Sedgwick County, Merino, Dayspring Christian, Haxtun
The Southern league went head to head against the Central League and all were victorious going 5-0. We now move into league play in the Southern League with 2 games and both games look to be very good. The league games are Simla at Swink and Calhan at Pikes Peak Christian. Both are going to be very important for the league race. Simla at Swink is where we will kick things off. Swink picked up the tough 24-20 victory over Byers in Week 1. Swink defensively had success stopping the run. Swink should be very tough on offense with a rushing attack led by Matthew Mendoza. Swink will face another top opponent this week and we will see how they do against a run heavy Simla team. Simla cruised to the 52 to 7 victory over Denver Christian in Week 1. Simla this week will be tested on the ground on defense and must have a big performance on offense. Simla vs Swink should be a great game. The last game to talk about is Calhan traveling to Pikes Peak Christian. Calhan picked up the 28 to 6 victory over Elbert in week 1. Calhan played tough on defense and will need to bring that same attitude this week when they face a balanced offensive attack from Pikes Peak Christian. Pikes Peak Christian had a hard-fought victory over Lyons in Week 1 30 to 6. Pikes Peak Christian was trailing at halftime 6 to 0 but found their offensive grove in the 3rd quarter scoring 22 unanswered points. Pikes Peak Christian we knew would be tough defensively and looks to have figured some offensive weapons out. Pikes Peak Christian was led on offense by QB Andrew Harris and RB Zachery Edwards. Pikes Peak Christian will need to be stout again on Defense against a run heavy Calhan team. In my preseason predictions I had Simla selected to win the league and I am sticking to that with Pikes Peak Christian as my 2nd place team.
Playoff Contenders: Simla, Pikes Peak Christian, Swink, Calhan
Updated Playoff Predictions
I still believe that not all league champions will have a guaranteed playoff berth, but I do think 3 league champions will be a lock they are:
Fowler (Ark Valley)
Sedgwick County (Plains)
I do think the Southern League Champion and Northeast League Champion will both get in but are not a lock unlike the 3 teams mentioned above. I think the winner of the Southern League (Simla) and Northeast League (West Grand) will get in so that takes 5 of the available 8 spots. I do not think anyone from the Central League gets in. I would then put the second-place teams from the Plains and the Mountain into the field. That would then put Sargent/Dove Creek, Merino/Haxtun, and Crowley County/Holly into the mix for the final spot. Here are my predictions for the 8 playoff teams:
(Not in Order)
#1 Sedgwick County
#4 Dayspring Christian
#7 West Grand