Midseason Report

Here is a look at Colorado high school football as we make the turn into the second half of the season

Including zero week, six weeks are now in the books regarding Colorado high school football and fair assessments can be made about players and teams. If last weekend, with its numerous upsets, is any indication 5A, 4A and 3A could be up for grabs this year.

Playing to Impress

Picking a Player of the Year right now would be tough but current top candidates include Anders Hill of Fairview, Christian McCaffrey of Valor Christian and Kalen Ballage of Falcon.

Hill, a 6-4 210 pound quarterback, is lighting it up for his unbeaten Fairview squad. Hill is throwing for 325 yards a game for an offense that is putting up right at 50 points a contest. Most impressive Hill is spreading the wealth hitting on 66% of his passing throwing to eight different receivers. Hill, an honors student who also plays baseball has a strong arm, quick release, pocket awareness and a grasp of the game. Had he not been injured last season his recruiting offer sheet would be much longer right now. Some smart college is going to get a QB with upside.

What else can you say about McCaffrey? A fixture in Colorado football that has excelled his entire career, McCaffrey's game seems even more complete this year. Each game there is a play Christian makes that shows his diverse and expanding skill set. In a early show down against Fresno Central McCaffrey made plays as a defensive back that changed the game. In a loss to Bingham High School in Utah McCaffrey showed he was strong enough to stand up to a 25 carry offensive game. At other points in the season he has shown his ability to makes plays every way possible. As he moves on to college I look forward to seeing how Coach Shaw will use him in the Stanford offense.

At 6-2 225 pounds and running a 10.6 100 meters there is no athlete in Colorado and few in the nation that have the measurable of Kalen Ballage. Any concerns regarding Ballage's production are now alleviated considering his 204 yard rushing average per game. Further, Ballage has made big plays in the pass game, as a returner and as a defender. Most importantly Ballage's high level of play has moved his Falcon squad to a 5-0 start.

On the Line

Playing on the offensive line is a thankless task but obviously essential for success of any team at any level. So far this season two units have excelled helping lead their teams to strong starts. Having watched multiple games I'm very impressed with the Regis Jesuit line. The Raiders run game employs multiple backs and gets push from a unit that is technically very sound and well coached up. Highlighting the group is 6-4 290 pound junior tackle Tim Lynott.

At Valor high profile skill players gain much of the attention, but it is an offensive line packed with college level players that make Valor go. There is no doubting the talent and size of the unit, but I'm most impressed with how cohesive the unit is. They move together like a college line and although better as run blockers, they are very good in pass protection. If and potentially when Valor picks up another state title this year the line will be the key.

Individually as an offensive lineman Sam Jones of ThunderRidge has dominated his side of the line for his Grizzlies.

What to Watch in the 2nd Half

Valor is the odds on favorite to pick up another 5A title, but I do feel they may be beatable on the right day. Valor is not as deep as in the past and if a team came make a game a dog fight and limit McCaffrey's big plays there is a chance for an upset of the champs.

Really keeping my eye on sophomore Carlo Kemp of Fairview. The 6-3 225 DE/OLB has a knack for big plays. He started for Fairview last year as a freshman and has improved his game becoming a high impact player for the Knights.

It is tough for Denver Public League schools so it is great to see what Montbello is doing behind the exploits of QB A.J. Thompson. Currently 5-0, Montbello has defeated traditional 4A powers Denver South and Wheat Ridge in the past two weeks. Thompson runs a 4.5 forty and can make big plays with his feet which opens up the passing game for his squad. So far Thompson has had a hand in 17 scores.


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