8man League Breakdown

EIGHT-MAN FOOTBALL PREVIEW – WEEK TWO by Kerry Sherman

Picture by OTSportsChek (Akron vs Byers)

EIGHT-MAN FOOTBALL PREVIEW – WEEK TWO

BY: KERRY SHERMAN

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Week one of the season provided few surprises, with a large number of blowouts in the books. Sixteen teams scored at least 40 points, with six going for 50 or more. Not shockingly, all of those teams picked up wins. Week two will continue to see non-league match-ups, just one of which has both teams inside the top-ten of the coaches poll.

#6 SANFORD (1-0) AT #9 SWINK (1-0) FRIDAY 7PM

Sanford picked up a very nice win last week, defeating #10 Dayspring Christian 34-20. The Mustangs trailed 20-16 midway through the second quarter, but a touchdown before the half not gave them a 22-20 lead, but the momentum to put the Eagles away with a second half shutout.

Swink started the season outside of the rankings, but after its 44-34 win at Fowler, the team makes an appearance this week. The Lions led 24-20 at the half, but took control with a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter. Fowler tried to make things interesting, but Swink was able to hold on for the victory.

The Mustangs have owned the series between these two programs, posting a 4-0 mark. The most recent match-up was back in 2019, with Sanford earning a 52-6 win.

#1 HAXTUN (0-0) AT HOLYOKE (0-1) FRIDAY 7PM

The defending state champs had a bye last week and will begin a brutal non-league portion of their schedule with an 11-man match-up against 1A Holyoke on Friday. Haxtun will face ranked teams Holly and Mancos, the squads the Fightin’ Bulldogs beat in the semis and finals last season, and then six-man’s #2 ranked team, Fleming, over the next three weeks. Michael Gerk, who ran for more than 1500 yards last year, and speedster Kyle Fryrear, return to highlight the offense. They join Grant Statz (117 tackles) and Kailin Kelly (112 tackles) to bring continuity to the defense.

Holyoke opened the season ranked ninth in 1A, but after allowing more than 260 yards and five touchdowns on the ground to Strasburg in a 37-6 loss, the Dragons dropped from the rankings. They need to pick up as many wins as possible in the non-conference slate before heading in North Central play at the end of the month. All six members of the league are currently in the top 15 of the coaches poll, with four in the top eight.

This is the third meeting between the two in the last five seasons, with Holyoke winning both of those contests. The Dragons won 26-0 in 2018 and 34-0 the following year. Like this game, both of those were 11-man contests.

MONTICELLO, UT (1-1) AT #3 MANCOS (1-0) FRIDAY 7PM

After finishing second to Haxtun last season, Mancos wasted little time in getting the 2022 campaign off to a great start. The Bluejays traveled to Utah in week one to face one of the top programs in Melrose. Mancos flexed hard, getting out to a 40-0 lead in the third quarter before the Buffaloes cracked the board. The Bluejays ran away with the 46-8 win.

Ayden Matthews guided the offense, running for 185 yards and four scores, while also throwing for 83 yards and another TD. Kail Wayman, who was on the receiving end of that scoring toss, ran for 105 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Those two tied for second on the defense with 11 tackles each. Broc Imel led with a dozen.

This will be the third meeting between the two programs in the MaxPreps era, but the first since 2008. Monticello, coming off a 64-20 win last week, won the previous contests.

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ST. MARY’S (0-0) AT #2 AKRON (1-0) FRIDAY 7PM

Following many years of struggling to compete in 2A and 1A, St. Mary’s did not field a squad last year. This is the first game for the Pirates in eight-man, and the schedule did them no favors, putting them on the road to face the second-ranked Rams.

Akron had its hands full at Byers last week, but slowly pulled away for a 50-26 victory. Ryan McCaffrey had an interesting evening in the win, running for 103 yards and only completing three of 11 passes. However, all three completions went for touchdowns, and he tallied 162 yards on those scores. Two went to Ivan Losa, covering a total of 90 yards, with a long of 64. Jackson Filla took the other one in from 72 yards out. Both added a rushing touchdown. Anderson Filla had 10 carries for 118 yards and a TD.

WEST GRAND (1-0) AT CALHAN (1-0) FRIDAY 7PM

Both teams posted shutout wins last week, with each recording at least 50 points. West Grand had the mercy clock rolling by halftime of its 52-0 win over Gilpin County, with Wyatt Howell and Ollie Bergman combining for 211 yards and four touchdowns on just five carries. Both went over the century mark. Defensively, the Mustangs recorded four takeaways.

Calhan leaned upon a defense that held Las Animas to just 114 yards of offense in a 50-0 blanking. The Trojans could only dent the Bulldog defense for 92 yards on the ground, 43 coming on one play. The Bulldogs returned their second and third leading rushers from last season in Aiden and Logan Jack, who combined for more than 1400 yards last year.

After losing match-ups in 2018 and 2019, Calhan broke through against the Mustangs last year, taking a 56-14 victory. Aiden Jack ran for 151 yards and two scores for the Bulldogs in that contest, while Howell went for 139 with a touchdown for West Grand.

RANGELY (0-1) AT #4 DOVE CREEK (1-0) FRIDAY 7PM

Rangely scored first in its game with Caliche last week, but could not hold on as the Buffs rolled to a 46-20 win behind a balanced offensive attack. The Panthers allowed 246 yards through the air and 238 on the ground, but the defense did create three turnovers. Offensively, Marstan Wagner provided 166 rushing yards and three touchdowns, but Rangely could not get much going through the air.

Dove Creek showed why the coaches around the classification think so highly of the program, as the Bulldogs backed up their top-five ranking with a 54-0 shutout of Plateau Valley. The Bulldogs led 32-0 after one quarter and 54-0 at the half. Kade Hankins had a big night, rushing for 114 yards and three scores on three carries, and added 110 yards and two more scoring tallies on just three completions. Taber Dejane caught both TD passes, including a 72-yarder. The defense racked up 15 tackles for loss, seven on sacks. Three of the sacks were registered by Kendall Gardner.

The recent series between these two squads has been split, with each winning five. Dove Creek owns wins in each of the last two seasons, including a 54-6 decision last year. The Bulldogs piled up 357 rushing yards in that win, and also picked off three passes.

Other games this week to keep an eye on have #5 Merino (1-0) hosting McClave (0-1), looking to improve to 5-0 against the Cardinals. The Rams posted a 44-0 win at Pikes Peak Christian in week one, while McClave fell 44-24 to Crowley County. Those Chargers (1-0) host Byers (0-1). Fowler looks to bounce back from the loss to Swink, visiting Simla (1-0). Also on Friday, Wiley opens its season at John Mall (0-1), and two perennial postseason contenders, Hoehne and Sedgwick County square off, with each looking for its first win after falling last week.

Two ranked teams have the weekend off, with #7 Holly (1-0) and #10 Dayspring Christian (0-1) both having byes. Holly rolled Custer County, 44-8, in the opening week.