SIX-MAN FOOTBALL PREVIEW – WEEK SIX
BY: KERRY SHERMAN
A pair of important league clashes this week pit ranked teams against each other, but there are also a number of other key match-ups on the slate that have teams from outside the rankings squaring off. League play is about to get very interesting.
LA VETA (4-1) AT COTOPAXI (4-1) THURDSAY 7PM
The week gets going with this important contest inside the South West division. Neither team is ranked, and both are coming off losses. However, La Veta is still just out of the top-ten after last week’s shootout loss at #3 Otis. The Red Hawks trailed 32-6 at the half, and were down by as many as 31 points in the fourth quarter, but rallied back to make it close at the end, eventually falling 63-48. The Red Hawks couldn’t get much going on the ground, with Joe Autry’s 59 yards and two scores leading the way. Jessey Montunnas threw for 160 yards and two touchdowns, one apiece to Autry and Kade Andreatta. Brayden Nix registered a game-high 16 tackles, and Gabe Vigil helped out with a kick return for a TD.
Cotopaxi didn’t have any more luck on the road last week, dropping a 52-38 contest at #8 Branson/Kim. The Pirates held a 30-20 halftime lead, scoring all 30 points in the second quarter, but could only manage a 35-yard field goal from Wes Westberg in the second half. Ty Coleman threw for 238 yards with a TD, but was also intercepted once. His 19 tackles, 15 solo, led everyone in the contest.
The Pirates need a win to keep their league title hopes alive. They would still need some help, but dropping to 0-2 would all but eliminate those dreams. They have won the last four meetings in the series, including a 31-28 decision last year. La Veta can keep at least a share of the league lead with a win.
#1 STRATTON (5-0) AT IDALIA (1-4) FRIDAY 7PM
Playing an unranked opponent for the first time this season, Stratton had no troubles remaining focused in last week’s 65-0 win at Hi-Plains. The top-ranked Eagles led 30-0 after one and 46-0 at the half. Five different players scored rushing touchdowns, including two apiece by Alex Cruz and Stockton Fye. Austin Webb, Avery Archuleta, and Cyler Notter had the others. Brody Webb was one of four players with double figure tackles on defense, recording 13. Notter and Von Isenbart each had 11, and Dawson Thompson added 10. Notter had 1.5 sacks in his tally, sharing a sack with Cruz. The Eagles also had highlights on special teams, with Notter returning a kick for a score, and Charlie Tagtmeyer doing the same with a punt.
Idalia got into the win column with a 50-6 victory at Flagler last Saturday. There is a ton of familiarity in this week’s contest, with coach Toby Kechter having been in charge of the Stratton (and Stratton/Liberty co-op) for a number of years, prior to taking the reins at Idalia last season. Logan Breyer, one of the senior standouts for the Wolves, was teammates with the Stratton upperclassmen for two seasons. He and Kye Towns carry a good portion of the load, on both sides of the ball, for an Idalia squad that has a lot of youth behind them.
Stratton won last year’s contest, 32-16, with Cruz being held to eight yards and a TD on just six carries. Notter made one of the biggest plays in the contest with a punt return for a touchdown.
#2 FLEMING (3-1) AT PEETZ (1-3) SATURDAY 1:30PM
After taking a forfeit win in week three and having a bye the following week, Fleming finally got back on the field last week. The Wildcats traveled just down the road to square off with the top-ranked eight-man team, Haxtun, in an eight-man game. It did not go well for them, as they were blanked 46-0. Haxtun outgained them 394-2 on the ground, and also picked off three Braylen Feather passes. Feather did throw for 158 yards, with Wyatt Cochran snagging five passes for 75 yards. Nolan Japp caught four for 43 yards. He also had a fumble recovery.
Peetz suffered its third consecutive defeat, falling 55-14 last week at home to North Park. The Bulldogs trailed 33-0 at the half. Rhyder Bayne ran for 72 yards and two scores, and also caught six passes, but only for eight yards. His 10 tackles were tied with Joe Fehringer for the most in the contest. Fehringer blocked a pair of kicks, as well. The Bulldogs got fumble recoveries from Noah Naegele and Colton Howell, but lost the turnover battle 5-2.
The Bulldogs face the possibility of an 0-3 start in North division play if they can’t spring the upset. They’ve lost three straight in the series, including a 70-0 blanking last season.
#3 OTIS (5-0) VS #4 GENOA-HUGO (4-1) FRIDAY 7PM
Tayte Smith ran wild in last week’s 63-48 win over La Veta, piling up 368 yards and seven touchdowns on the day. The yardage is a new career-high, and brings him within 1000 on the season, and the touchdowns match his best, set last year against Kit Carson. In just 13 career games, the sophomore has rushed for 2015 yards and 40 touchdowns. Smith also had a pick-six in last week’s win, as did freshman Austin Hornung. Peyton Wells picked up his first sack of the year.
The Pirates bounced back from their week four loss to Stratton with a thrilling 58-54 win at home over #6 Arickaree last Saturday. They led 30-6 at the half, but would need to recover an onside kick in the final minute to hold off the Bison. Trey Smith threw for 292 yards and two scores, both to Kyler Rowden-Stum, and also ran for another TD. Kyler also scored on a pick-six and a kick return. Konner Rowden-Stum returned from the concussion suffered in the loss to Stratton to run for three touchdowns in the win.
This will be just the fourth meeting between the two sides in the MaxPreps era, with Otis having won all three prior contests. The most recent was in 2019, a 48-19 Bulldog victory.
#5 GRANADA (3-2) VS #10 CHERAW (2-3) FRIDAY 7PM
Granada moved to 2-0 in the South East last week, as the Bobcats held off #7 Cheyenne Wells 31-20. Brandon Gonzales threw for 172 yards and two touchdowns, and also came up with a big interception on defense in the win. Maddox Coleman and John Hainer each caught a TD and ran for another, as they combined for 287 yards of offense. Coleman was also credited with an interception. Jose Sanchez was perfect on all three of his PAT kicks.
Cheraw evened its record in league play with a wild 52-34 win at Eads. The Wolverines trailed 34-6 late in the first half, with Eads threatening to add to the margin when the game was delayed for more than an hour after the ambulance had to take an injured player in for evaluation. Once the game resumed, it was all Cheraw. Tim Provost threw for 134 yards and three touchdowns, two to Braeden Harris, who also ran for two scores. Trenton Rader also had a pair of rushing touchdowns. Riggin Dutton tallied three sacks on the night.
Granada has won all four previous meetings, with the Bobcats scoring more than 60 points in three of them. Two years ago, they needed to come from behind in the fourth quarter to secure a wild 67-60 victory. There were no such dramatics last season, as Granada rolled 62-29. Coleman scored four times in that win, three on receptions and one on a pick-six.
#6 ARICKAREE (4-1) AT HI-PLAINS (1-3) SATURDAY 4PM
Logan Wright had another monster offensive effort in last week’s loss to Genoa-Hugo, as the Arickaree senior threw for 325 yards and five scores, and also ran for 233 yards and two touchdowns, but he was also intercepted three times. Nic Hermes caught six passes for 190 yards and four touchdowns, and Jake King caught a TD for the third straight game. Wright (18), Hermes (10), and Austin Wright (10) were all in double digit tackles. Hayden Page added nine. Zarron Skubal had two of the team’s four takeaways, with an interception and his sixth fumble recovery of the season.
After last week’s shutout loss to Stratton, Hi-Plains has now been outscored 160-24 on the year. Two of those points came by way of their forfeit victory over Flagler two weeks ago. The Patriots will try to pull off the upset in front of their Homecoming crowd.
Hi-Plains went 1-3 against the Arickaree/Woodlin co-op, including a 66-38 loss last year on the road. L. Wright ran for 316 yards and seven scores for the then Indian-Mustangs. Shannon King, one of the few returning Patriots from that contest, had four catches for 73 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
#7 CHEYENNE WELLS (2-3) VS KIT CARSON (1-4) SATURDAY 2PM
Cheyenne Wells turned a Granada fumble on the first play of the game into an early 6-0 lead last week, but the Tigers gave up 23 unanswered points in the second quarter and could not come back from that 17-point deficit. Ty Scheler ran for 146 yards and two touchdowns, and added another 30 yards with a TD passing, but he also tossed a pair of interceptions in the red zone. The Tigers were without Carson Noe, who missed the game due to illness, causing a lot of juggling to the lineup. Trey Scheler, a freshman, was credited with five QB hurries and a fumble recovery.
Kit Carson suffered its second straight loss, both in league play, by a 62-29 count at Walsh. The Wildcats have been outscored 130-61 in those two losses. Kit Carson trailed 16-8 after one and 32-16 at the half. Walsh broke things wide open with a 24-0 third. The Wildcats gave up just short of 300 yards on the ground, with the Eagles averaging better than 10 yards per attempt.
While neither team is having the kind season they would like, this rivalry game always features a lot of hard hitting. The series is tied at four wins apiece, with Cheyenne Wells having won the last two by a total score of 143-24. Prior to those blowouts, four of the previous five had been decided by eight points or fewer.
#8 BRANSON/KIM (4-1) AT PRIMERO (1-3) SATURDAY 1PM
Branson/Kim made it four straight wins, three consecutive in the South West division, with last week’s victory over Cotopaxi. Peyton Cranson supplied the power on the ground, rushing for 297 yards and four touchdowns, while Owen Doherty completed nine of 13 passes for 126 yards and four scores, plus a pick. Cade Smith caught a pair of TD passes, while Brock Doherty and Kolter Cranson each had one. Brock also led the defense with 13 tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble. He nearly housed a kick-off return, being stopped on the doorstep after bringing it back 78 yards.
The Bulldogs had an extra week to prepare for this match-up, as they were on their bye following week four’s 71-40 loss to La Veta in league action. Xavier Garcia threw for 328 yards and four touchdowns in that defeat, nearly matching his season totals in completions, attempts, and yards, while topping his previous total of three touchdowns. The sophomore is just 92 yards short of 1000 in his career. Brett Kendall was on the receiving end of all four touchdown tosses, and ended up with eight receptions and 168 yards.
This will be the fourth meeting in the last five years, with the Bearcats owning all three victories. Last year, Smith caught three touchdowns in a 75-13 win by Branson/Kim.
#9 DEER TRAIL (5-0) VS WESKAN, KS (2-1) FRIDAY 6:30PM
Deer Trail is one of only three remaining unbeatens in the classification, but the Eagles began the week ranked 13th in the RPI. That’s because their first five opponents have a combined record of 4-19. They’ve beaten those challengers by a combined score of 298-58. That includes last week’s East Central victory over Kiowa (44-19). Raul Manriquez threw three more touchdown passes, and Dominik Mingee caught 12 balls for 169 yards. The defense came up with six takeaways, five on fumbles.
Weskan was a play-off team in Kansas last year, and the Coyotes are off to a nice start this season. They enter the contest off a bye week, but prior to that, they picked up a 58-12 win over Western Plains/Healy. Their defense allowed a total of 95 yards in that victory, 91 on the ground. Of that, 75 came on one play.
Deer Trail is just the second Colorado school to face the Coyotes during the MaxPreps era, with Cheyenne Wells being the other. This is also the first game against an out-of-state opponent for the Eagles in that time.
BRIGGSDALE (2-2) AT NORTH PARK (2-2) SATURDAY 1PM
One more big game will happen on Saturday, outside of the top-10, as North Park (2-2) hosts Briggsdale (2-2) in the North. Briggsdale has not played since a week four loss at Arickaree. The Falcons are hoping to be back at full strength, as Tanner Fiscus missed their last two games. They went 1-1 without him. Johnathan Malovich picked up the slack, running for 161 yards and two scores. Kaeden Gebauer added 142 yards and two touchdowns during the absence of Fiscus.
North Park has won two straight, both in the division, and currently sit behind Fleming and Briggsdale in the North. The Wildcats are tied with Prairie for third. Makeon Crum rushed for 127 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win at Peetz, and Hunter Sessions added three passing touchdowns. They’ve lost the last three meetings with the Falcons, 53-31 last season.