This will probably get me in trouble with the powers that be, but I'm not a fan of the current 5A playoff system. I'm not sure if the 1 versus 32, 2 versus 31 and so on is a best interest format. Understanding there are logistical issues with any format, I would like to see 1-16 get a bye while 17-32 play to get into the next round. I feel that would reward the top half of the bracket while also creating more competitive first round games for the bottom half of the bracket. With that editorial comment now out of my system, this week's first round of 5A playoffs does create multiple intriguing games.
#16 Regis vs. #17 Fairview
These are both well coached programs with a history of success. Regis, last year's 5A runner up has worked its way through a tough season that has them at 5-4. A closer look shows a team that could have won in each of their four losses. Look for Regis' senior grinder Jordan Jungers to get plenty of touches. In the last four games Jungers is averaging 195 yards rushing per contest. Fairview, also 5-4, have found some offensive balance and if they can take care of the ball this game could be the best of the first round.
Prediction Regis 24 Fairview 17
#8 ThunderRidge vs. #25 Arapahoe
ThuderRidge plays D, allowing only 16 points a game on the season. Of late the Griz have found their rushing attack with the work of Garrett Tempel. In two of the last three weeks, Tempel has rushed for over 150 yards. Currently Arapahoe is reeling having lost four in a row after a strong start to the season. Senior QB Alec Geiser had a strong performance last week in a loss to Chatfield, but he needs to take care of the ball based on the five INTs he has thrown in the last two weeks.
Prediction ThunderRidge 28 Arapahoe 17
#13Fountain-Fort Carson vs. #20 Cherokee Trail
Cherokee Trail has won five of its last six and looks to have its offense moving in the right direction. In the past two weeks big play senior Thomas Singleton has rushed for 365 yards and three scores. Look for him to get plenty of touches against FFC. The yards may come hard against a Fountain-Fort Carson defense that allows only 12 points a game. Trojan junior RB has averaged nearly 10 yards a carry over the past three weeks and will need a similar performance to keep up with the speedy Cougar O.
Prediction Cherokee Trail 28 Fountain-Fort Carson 21
#12 Rangeview vs. #21 Cherry Creek
Rangeview, never lacking talent, has won seven straight and looks to take that momentum into the game against an always tough Cherry Creek. Rangeview's talented junior Armon Brown is emerging as a player to watch, rushing for over 200 yards in two of the last three games. Cherry Creek's four losses come at the hands of some of Colorado's top teams. The Bruins multi-pronged run game could help keep the ball out of Brown's hands.
Prediction Cherry Creek 21 Rangeview 14