EIGHT-MAN FOOTBALL PREVIEW – WEEK FIVE
BY: KERRY SHERMAN
It’s another busy week in eight-man, with a mix of league and non-league contests. The only game featuring a pair of ranked teams involves the top-ranked squad, Haxtun, hosting a six-man team, Fleming. It will be played as an eight-man contest. All of the action starts with a Thursday night affair across the state line in Utah.
#5 MANCOS (3-1) AT WHITEHORSE, UT (1-2) THURSDAY 7PM
The Bluejays were looking to make it consecutive wins against Plains opponents when they faced #1 Haxtun last week. It didn’t go their way, as the top-ranked Fightin’ Bulldogs rolled to a 50-6 win. Ayden Matthews accounted for the lone touchdown on a pass to Kail Wayman, who ran for 111 yards in the loss. Those two combined for 29 tackles, 18 by Matthews.
Whitehorse comes into the contest having won its last outing 70-0. The Raiders have faced a common opponent with the Bluejays, as both played Monticello. Mancos won their contest 52-13, while Whitehorse dropped a 64-20 decision. This will be the first time these two have met during the MaxPreps era.2
#1 HAXTUN (3-0) VS 6-MAN #2 FLEMING (3-0) FRIDAY 7:30PM
It’s been an interesting start to the season for the defending champs. Haxtun opened with an 11-man game against Holyoke, followed by clashes with a pair of wins over ranked 8-man opponents, and will now face a six-man foe in an eight-man contest. The Fightin’ Bulldogs led Mancos 22-0 at halftime last week, and were up 36-0 after three quarters, thanks in part to a 95-yard pick-six by Michael Gerk. Gerk also led the ground attack with 106 yards and a TD. Ryland Wolff ran for 81 yards and a score, while also throwing for 166 yards and two more touchdowns. Kyle Fryrear caught two passes for 105 and a TD, Keegan Colglazier caught the other TD, and Grant Statz scored twice in the running game.
Kailin Kelley led five defenders in double digit tackles with 14. Maclin Tempel added 11, three of them being sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Gerk added a fumble recovery to his interception, and Kaiden Schelling had a pair of interceptions.
Fleming hasn’t been on the field since week two, when the Wildcats beat Idalia 44-6. They took a forfeit win over Granada in week three and then had their scheduled bye last week. Braylen Feather has thrown for 424 yards and eight touchdowns. Nolan Japp and Harry Harms each have three TD receptions, and Wyatt Cochran has the other two. Cochran is the top target with eight catches and 153 yards. Japp is the leading rusher with 174 yards. Feather already has six interceptions on defense.
These two played last year, also in an eight-man contest, with Haxtun posting a 46-0 shutout. Kelley ran for one score and Colglazier caught one. Fleming only had 60 yards of offense, with Japp running for 44 of them.
#2 DOVE CREEK (4-0) AT MONTICELLO, UT (3-2) FRIDAY 7PM
Dove Creek blew open a tight contest at Hayden last week with a 22-0 third quarter. That proved to be the difference, as the Bulldogs won 48-26. Kade Hankins had another monster game, running for 344 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries. He’s gone for more than 600 yards and seven scores in the last two weeks, and needs 197 yards to reach 1000 on the season. Gage Buffington added 164 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries, leaving him 51 yards shy of 500 for the year. As a team, the Bulldogs ran for 576 yards on 78 attempts. Hankins also had three interceptions on defense, and Taber Dejane took a pick back 55 yards for a TD.
Monticello has won two straight, including a 52-0 blanking of Plateau Valley last week. This is their third game against a Colorado opponent, with Mancos taking the 52-13 win. The Buckaroos have thrown for 737 yards and 13 scores, and ran for 604 and nine touchdowns. Jay McDonald leads the air attack with 577 yards and 10 touchdowns. Javlin Robison is their top runner with 269 yards and five scores.
This will be the first time the two programs have met in the MaxPreps era. Monticello is 5-1 against Colorado teams, with four of the six games being played since 2018.
#9 SANFORD (3-1) VS WILEY (2-1) FRIDAY 6PM
Sanford rebounded from its loss to Simla by beating Fowler 56-22 last week. Cash Caldon ran for 74 yards and three scores and also tossed two more touchdowns, both to Craig Ford. Caldon had just under 150 yards through the air. The Mustangs also got strong efforts in the running game from Lincoln Reynolds and Gage Lewis, who combined for more than 180 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, the Mustangs held Fowler to 35 yards on the ground.
Wiley put together a strong first half at home against Calhan, building a 30-12 halftime advantage on the way to a 44-12 victory over the Bulldogs. Cade Phillips threw for 515 yards and three scores, giving him more than 1300 yards and 11 touchdowns in three games. He also led the team with 104 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Evan Larrick caught 10 passes for 176 yards, and Daigan Adame snagged seven passes for 179 yards and three scores. Cooper Tixier tallied 23 tackles, 18 solo, including a sack to lead the defensive effort.
This will be the first meeting between these two programs in recent history.
#10 HOLLY (2-1) VS ST. MARY’S (1-2) FRIDAY 7PM
After having their bus delayed by an accident on the highway, and a very sloppy first half, Holly came on strong at the end of its game in Akron to claim a 27-14 win over the previously third-ranked Rams. Trailing 8-7 at the half, the Wildcats went saw the Rams get the only points of the third quarter, sending the game into the fourth quarter with a 14-7 cushion. The Wildcats cranked things up in the fourth, scoring 20 points in the frame to secure the win. Rueben Maldonado ran for 122 yards and a TD, while also throwing for a score, and Andre Salgado thew for 193 yards with a TD and two interceptions. He also ran for a score. Devin Eaton and Colby Swopes had the receiving touchdowns. Dylan Tamayo recorded three of the defense’s four interceptions, with Salgado getting the other. The Wildcats also took the ball away twice on fumble recoveries.
St. Mary’s broke into the win column last week with a 44-22 victory over Soroco. The Pirates pulled away with a 23-6 fourth quarter. William Trechter ran for 174 yards and four touchdowns, while Dominick Martinez added 158 yards and a TD. Dillon Barnett tallied a TD on two receptions.
CALICHE (3-0) AT BELLEVIEW CHRISTIAN (2-1) FRIDAY 4PM
Caliche nearly cracked the top-ten this week, coming in at 11th in the coaches poll. The Buffs pulled out a 28-22 win over Byers in overtime to remain undefeated on the year. Seth Marick slung the ball for 269 yards and three scores, with Tanner Gerk and Joey Vergilio combining for 19 receptions, 165 yards, and two touchdowns. Chance Mitchell caught three balls for 99 yards and a TD. Gerk led the defense with 15 tackles, while Clint Rockwell added a dozen stops and two sacks.
After rolling to wins in their first two games of the year, the Bruins ran into a buzzsaw at West Grand last week. Belleview Christian trailed 30-0 after one quarter and saw the running clock by the half. The Mustangs stayed perfect with the 50-0 win. The Bruins were held to 31 yards on 31 plays, with their longest play resulting in 11 yards. Brandon Ewing topped the defense with 11 tackles, and Ryan Reyes and Jayson Flack both had nine.
Saturday has a game involving teams just outside of the rankings, with Dayspring Christian (2-1) hosting Hayden (2-1) in non-conference play. Dayspring Christian has won two straight since losing to Sanford in the opener, while the Tigers had their two-game winning streak snapped by Dove Creek last week.
Several ranked teams have their bye this week, including #3 Simla, #4 Crowley County, #6 West Grand, #7 Lyons, and #8 Akron.