8man League Breakdown

8-Man Football League Predictions & Playoff Predictions

8-Man Football League Predictions & Playoff Predictions

We move into 8-Man and look at my league predictions.  These are just my predictions and it’s always fun at the end of the year and see how I did on my predictions.  I included a fun look at the playoff as well at the end. Good Luck to all teams playing this year. 

Arkansas Valley League

#1 Holly

#2 Crowley County

#3 Fowler

#4 Hoehne

#5 McClave

#6 Las Animas

#7 Wiley

#8 Springfield

The Ark Valley League has always been one of the tough leagues in 8-Man and I don’t expect anything different this year.    Holly comes into the year as the favorite to win the Ark Valley League.  Holly returns most of their offensive fire power including QB Dakota Eaton, RB Eli Ramos, and WR Fernando Dominguez.  Defensively Holly also returns plenty of talent returning 8 of their top 10 tacklers.  Crowley County is my pick to challenge Holly for the league crown.  Crowley County has a new head coach this season and has talent to make some noise.  Crowley County returns QB Tach Brewer but developing a new RB will be a main priority and look for Dalton Carroll or Skeater Baker to move into that role.  Defensively Crowley County returns 7 of their top 10 tacklers and have plenty of experience to be a top 15 defense this year.  Fowler is my pick for third place in the Ark Valley League.  Fowler lose a big senior class that takes most of their skill players.  Fowler does return their entire offensive line and that should help a young skill position group.  Fowler defensively returns 5 of their top 10 tacklers and will have a few holes to fill.  Hoehne won the Spring 8-man title, and they lose a lot for that team.  Hoehne will turn to an upcoming Junior class to fill the holes.  QB Dario Vezzani takes over at QB and RB Michael Armijo will move into the feature back position.  Hoehne will need some younger kids to really step up this year.  McClave has been rebuilding the past few years and have an upcoming group of Juniors and Sophomore that should push the program eventually back into the playoffs.  QB Ayden Gomez and RB Braden Marks lead a tough offensive unit but the main question is how much can McClave improve heading into this year.  Las Animas is another team who has made big improvement, and, in the spring, season won 3 games.  Las Animas will be Senior and Junior heavy so if they plan to make a run it must be this year.  QB Markus Vigil and RB Caden Morlan lead an improved offense and defensively Las Animas returns 7 of their top 10 tacklers.  Las Animas is my Darkhorse pick this year for the Ark Valley League.  Wiley loses a senior class that takes most of their skill position and may be a rebuilding year this season.  Springfield is in a similar boat losing key senior leadership.  Both teams will be interesting to see how they build this season.

My predictions for the Arkansas Valley League

League Champion: Holly

Playoff Contenders: Holly, Crowley County, Fowler, Hoehne

Dark Horse: Las Animas

Player of the League: QB Dakota Eaton (Holly)

Others to watch for: RB Eli Ramos (Holly), WR Fernando Dominguez (Holly), QB Tach Brewer (Crowley County), Scott Mobbley (Fowler), Kyler Crane (Springfield), QB Dario Vezzani (Hoehne), RB Michael Armijo (Hoehne), QB Ayden Gomez (McClave), Markus Vigil (Las Animas), RB Caden Morlan (Las Animas)

Central League

#1 Byers

#2 Lyons

#3 Elbert

#4 Front Range Christian

#5 South Park

#6 Justice

The Central league will feature 6 teams this year and should be a fun race to watch.  The Central league is one of the weaker leagues in 8-Man and could be get only 1 team into the playoffs.  My pick to win the Central League is Byers.  Byers offensively will return their leader in QB Dean Kerns but must find a new RB.  Defensively Byers returns 6 of their top 10 tacklers from a year ago and this unit should improve this year.  Lyons is my pick to challenge Byers for the league crown.  Lyons lose their #1 QB from last year but #2 QB Joel Uecker took plenty of snaps and should lead a tough offensive unit.  Defensively Lyons returns 5 of their top 10 tacklers.  Lyons will have a few holes to fill but I think challenge for the league crown.  Elbert is my pick for third place.  Elbert will be searching for a new QB this year.  RB Terran LaFollette is back to anchor the offense early on.  Defensively Elbert will have a few holes to fill, and we will see what kids step up to become leaders on a young defensive team.  Front Range Christian is my pick for 4th place.  Front Range Christian lose long time starter at QB Luke Hiltman and will be searching for a new QB this season.  Offensively Front Range Christina will be rebuilding a bit.  Defensively Front Range Christian is returning 7 of their top 10 tacklers and this side of the ball must step up until the offense gets going.  South Park return RB Silas Newton and he will lead the offense for South Park.  South Park was young last season and their core this year will be Juniors.  If they can make strides this year, then I think next year push for a league title and maybe a playoff spot.

My predictions for the Central League

League Champion: Byers

Playoff Contenders: Byers and Lyons

Dark Horse: South Park

Player of the League: QB Dean Kerns (Byers)

Others to watch for: RB Silas Newton (South Park), QB Joel Uecker (Lyons), RB Terran LaFollette (Elbert)

Mountain League

#1 Sanford

#2 Mancos

#3 Dove Creek

#4 Sargent

#5 Norwood

The Mountain League is much smaller this year with just 5 teams competing.   The 5 teams are the traditional powers of the league and should make for an interesting year.  Sanford, Mancos, and Dove Creek are all ranked in the preseason rankings and this will be a fun year.  Sanford is my pick to win the Mountain League.  Sanford was your runner ups from a year ago and gained valuable experience playing Sedgwick County in the State Finals.  Sanford lose just 3 seniors from last year but have holes to fill on the offensive line.  Sanford will be extremely tough offensively with QB Josh Holman and RB Kelton Gartrell back.  Sanford defensively returns 7 of their top 10 tacklers and this unit will once again be extremely tough.  Mancos is my pick to challenge Sanford for the league crown.  Mancos offensively also feature a good combo in the backfield with QB Ayden Mathews and RB Chase Moore.  Mancos will also have a few holes to fill on their offensive line.  Defensively Mancos returns 6 of their top 10 tacklers but must find new leadership with their top 2 tacklers graduating.  Dove Creek is another team I think can challenge for the league crown.  QB Chorbin Cressler is back to lead the offense and will be the focus early on.  Dove Creek will be searching for a new RB and look for Kade Hankins to step into that roll.  Defensively Dove Creek returns 6 of their top 10 tacklers but lose 3 of their top 4 tacklers.  Blane Johnson must step up as a leader for Dove Creek on defense.  Sargent had a tough year last year with injuries but that allowed a young group of kids to play last year.  Sargent will be searching for a solution at QB and at RB.  Defensively Wyatt Cross and Conner Holmes must become leaders for Sargent.  Sargent will have to quickly get up to speed on the offensive side of the ball.  Norwood had a tough season last year and will hope to reload this year.  Offensively Norwood will be searching for a new QB and leader.  RB Jamar Rankins is the main returner from last year and he must step up as a leader.  Defensively Norwood returns 4 of their top 10 tacklers and will turn to a young group of kids to step up.

My predictions for the Mountain League

League Champion: Sanford

Playoff Contenders: Sanford, Mancos, Dove Creek

Dark Horse: Dove Creek

Player of the League: RB Kelton Gartrell, Sanford

Others to watch for: QB Josh Holman (Sanford), RB Chase Moore (Mancos), QB Chorbin Cressler (Dove Creek), QB Ayden Mathews (Mancos), RB Kade Hankins (Dove Creek),

Northwest League

#1 Rangely

#2 Plateau Valley

#3 Vail Christian

#4 Gilpin County

#5 West Grand

#6 Soroco

#7 Hayden

The Northwest is typically a tough league, and nothing changes this year with some very tough teams.  Rangely is my pick to win the Northwest League.  Rangely returns plenty of talent from their playoff team a year ago.  Offensively Rangely returns QB Keihlin Myers and RB Zane Varner.  Defensively Rangely will have some holes to fill but return 6 of their top 10 tacklers.  If Rangely gets their defense figured out watch out for them this year.  Plateau Valley is my pick for second place in the Northwest League.  Plateau Valley returns nearly their entire roster from the spring playoff season.  Plateau Valley offensively look for QB Tallen Long and RB Colton Witzel to have massive seasons.  Defensively Plateau Valley must improve but they return their top 10 tacklers and if this unit improves to a top 20 unit they could push for the playoffs.  Vail Christian did not post stats from last year but look to return a Senior and Junior heavy team.  Vail Christian could push for a playoff spot and possibly a league crown.  We will learn more about them as the season goes on.  Gilpin County lose two very good offensive players last year and will look to rebuild their offense.  Look for Kameron Brewer to become the leader offensive for Gilpin County.  Defensively Gilpin County returns a lot of talent with 7 of their top 10 tacklers back.  If this unit can carry them early on this team could push for a top 3 finish.  West Grand had a very shortened season last year and will turn to a Junior heavy team this year.  It could be a year before West Grand really pushes for the playoffs.  Soroco lose key senior pieces from their team.  Offensively they were hit hard by graduation and will be interesting to see which kids step up.  Hayden was very young last year, and we will see how the Juniors and Sophomore compete this season.

My predictions for the Northwest League

League Champion: Rangely

Playoff Contenders: Rangely, Plateau Valley, Vail Christian

Dark Horse: Gilpin County

Player of the League: RB Zane Varner Rangely

Others to watch for: QB Keihlin Myers (Rangely), QB Tallen Long (Plateau Valley), RB Colton Witzel (Plateau Valley), RB Vincent Nowicki (Vail Christian), RB Kamron Brewer (Gilpin County)

Plains League

#1 Sedgwick County

#2 Merino

#3 Haxtun

#4 Dayspring Christian

#5 Akron

#6 Caliche

#7 Denver Christian

The Toughest League in 8-Man and the home of the 6-Time Defending State Champions Sedgwick County.  The Plains League will be extremely tough this year and could get 4 teams if not 5 into the playoffs.  My pick to win the Plains league is Sedgwick County.  Sedgwick County lose a very good senior class, but I think coaching and tradition will help this team out a lot this year.  Offensively Brody Parker is the main returner, and it will be interesting to see who else steps up on the offensive side of the ball.  Defensively Sedgwick County returns 4 of their top 10 tacklers but have key leadership back in Nolan Carlson, Brody Parker, and Alex Alcala.  Merino is my pick to finish second in the plains league.  I think Merino has a good shot at winning the league this season.  Merino offensively returns QB Deacon Trenkle and WR Derrick Alber.  I think Merino offensively will be extremely tough and have plenty of size on their offensive line.  Defensively Merino returns 7 of their top 10 tacklers and this unit will be a top 10 unit this season.  Haxtun is my pick for third place.  Haxtun has been rebuilding this team and we should see this team take a big step this year.  QB Owen Knode and RB Michael Gerk lead a talented offensive group.  Defensively Haxtun returns 9 of their top 10 tacklers and if this unit can move into the top 15 this year, they can make a deep playoff run.  Dayspring Christian is my 4th place pick.  Dayspring Christian lose just 2 seniors from last years team but will be searching for a new QB.  I am guessing QB Garrett Krehbiel moves into that role like he did in 2019.  Wyatt Eichman and Jacob Martin are also two skill players who should have big seasons this year.  Defensively Dayspring Christina return 9 of their top 10 tacklers and should be a top 10 defense this season.  Akron is another team who has been rebuilding and return a lot of talent this season.  Offensively Akron returns RB’s Xavier Livesay and RB Evan Vogt.  Akron on defense should see the biggest improvement returning 8 of their top 10 tacklers.  Akron must improve on defense if they plan on pushing for the playoffs.  Caliche had a rebuilding season last year and started a lot of sophomores.  We should start seeing Caliche take big steps this year, but I think are a year away from pushing for the playoffs.  Denver Christian moves into the Plains League and I do not see them challenging for a league crown.  Denver Christian is still rebuilding their program and maybe next year we will see this team push for the higher spot.

My predictions for the Plains League

League Champion: Sedgwick County

Playoff Contenders: Sedgwick County, Merino, Haxtun, Dayspring Christian, Akron

Dark Horse: Akron

Player of the League: QB Deacon Trenkle (Merino)

Others to watch for: RB Brody Parker (Sedgwick County), WR Derrick Alber (Merino), RB/WR Tyler Frank (Merino), QB Owen Knode (Haxtun), RB Michael Gerk (Haxtun), QB Garrett Krehbiel (Dayspring Christian), RB Wyatt Eichman (Dayspring Christian), WR Jacob Martin (Dayspring Christian), RB Xavier Livesay (Akron), RB Evan Vogt (Akron), QB Seth Marick (Caliche)

Southern League

#1 Swink

#2 Calhan

#3 Pikes Peak Christian

#4 Simla

#5 Dolores Huerta

#6 John Mall

#7 Custer County

The Southern League should be much improved this season and I think should be very competitive.  Swink is my pick to win the Southern League.  Swink made huge improvements last year and won the Southern League and I think have a shot again this year.  QB Hunter Bauserman and RB Clay Roweth are back to lead the offense.  Defensively is where I think Swink dominates this year.  Swink returns 6 of their top 10 tacklers but return 4 of their top 5 tacklers to lead them this season.  Calhan is my pick for second place.  Calhan will be searching for a new QB but return plenty of offensive weapons in RB Ryan Campbell, WR Zach Peterson, and QB/RB/WR Aiden Jack.  Defensively Calhan returns 8 of their top 10 tacklers and should see improvements on that side of the ball.  Pikes Peak Christian is my pick for 3rd place.  PPC will also be searching for a new QB but return most of their offensive line.  PPC also returns RB Mick Kopriva and RB/WR Caleb Grant.  Defensively PPC returns 6 of their top 10 tacklers and may have a top 10 defense this season.  Simla is my 4th place pick.  Simla will lose their main playmaker from last year but RB Brayden Glover should jump into that roll.  Simla main concern is who else steps up on offense this season.  Defensively Simla returns 6 of their top 10 tacklers but leadership once again is the main question mark for Simla.  Dolores Huerta comes in at the #5 spot.  Dolores Huerta offensively will turn to Alejandro Lopez to become the leader.  Defensively Dolores Huerta returns 5 of their top 10 tacklers and will need leadership to step up.  John Mall played during the spring season and were runner ups.  John Mall will have plenty of holes to fill with a solid senior class graduating.  Offensively John Mall will be searching for playmakers.  Defensively John Mall returns 5 of their top 10 tacklers and have a leader in Bernard Espinoza back.  Custer County rounds out the Southern League and were young last year mainly playing freshman and sophomores.  I think we are a year or two away from seeing Custer County push for the league crown.

My predictions for the Southern League

League Champion: Swink

Playoff Contenders: Swink, Calhan, Pikes Peak Christian, Simla

Dark Horse: Simla

Player of the League: RB Ryan Campbell (Calhan)

Others to watch for: QB Hunter Bauserman (Swink), RB Clay Roweth (Swink), WR Zach Peterson (Calhan), QB/RB/WR/LB Aiden Jack (Calhan), RB Mick Kopriva (PPC), WR/RB/LB Caleb Grant (PPC), RB Brayden Glover (Simla), RB Alejandro Lopez (Dolores Huerta), LB Bernard Espinoza (John Mall), Ben Stafford (Custer County) 

Playoff Predictions

I give the 16 teams I think make the playoffs.  This is all in fun because so much can happen between August and November.  In the 8-Man ranks all league champions are guaranteed a berth.  The rest will be selected by RPI.  The League Champions I selected are:

Holly (Ark Valley)

Byers (Central)

Sanford (Mountain)

Rangely (Northwest)

Sedgwick County (Plains)

Swink (Southern)

The 16 teams are picked Via RPI.  League strength and non-league schedule will matter a ton in this part.  10 At-Large berths will be given out.  Seeding is determined by CHSAA Seeding Index.  I am picking my 16 teams based on Scheduling and how I think teams will do. 

(NOT IN ORDER!)

#1 Holly (Ark Valley)

#2 Crowley County (Ark Valley)

#3 Fowler (Ark Valley)

#4 Byers (Central)

#5 Sanford (Mountain)

#6 Mancos (Mountain)

#7 Dove Creek (Mountain)

#8 Rangely (Northwest)

#9 Plateau Valley (Northwest)

#10 Sedgwick County (Plains)

#11 Merino (Plains)

#12 Haxtun (Plains)

#13 Dayspring Christian (Plains)

#14 Swink (Southern)

#15 Calhan (Southern)

#16 Pikes Peak Christian (Southern)

Vail Christian, Akron, Lyons, Hoehne also in the mix for the #16 spot.