This year’s 5A playoffs look wide open as no clear favorite has emerged this season. The one seeds; Columbine, Valor, Grandview and Cherry Creek look good, but have flaws. Columbine, tough and consistent are paced by athlete Mikey Griebel and quarterback Jake Lowry. The Rebels are good up front, but not great. Further, if they get behind can they pass the ball enough to get back in the game?
Cherry Creek is great on defense, with athletes at every level, but the offense has been inconsistent as the offensive line has yet to gel. The Bruins have a soft bracket and the D will carry them early but they need to find their offensive identity, fast!
Grandview’s aggressive defense is one of the best in state and they have a great back in junior Hayden Blubaugh. To go deep in playoffs, junior quarterback Gunnar Lamphere needs to play well, loosen the box and take the pressure off Blubaugh.
After losing two straight early in the season, Valor has hit their pace, winning six straight going into playoffs. 2017 QB Dylan McCaffrey is spreading the wealth in the pass game going to Booker Schelhaas and Ben Waters. In the past few weeks junior Aydron Vickers has emerged as another option in the pass game. The defense is playing great football, allowing 13 points a game during the run.
Week One’s Best Matchups
The #4 vs #5 matchup between Heritage and Cherokee Trail maybe this weekend’s best. Heritage, 7-2 has losses to unbeaten Arapahoe and defending champ Cherry Creek. Cherokee Trail 5-4 has multiple close losses. Cherokee Trail is stingy on D, but struggles to score. The game highlights multiple talented interior linemen. Trail’s Ashton Torres recently committed to Montana, while Heritage counters with Payton and Marshall Cain as well as Kenton Hewitt. Running back Max Gonzales of Cherokee Trail is coming off his two best games of the season. Heritage counters with All-State receiver Tim Pless.
Also keep an eye on the Legacy vs. Boulder game. Two of the state’s best playmakers T.J. Jones of Boulder and Matt Lynch of Legacy faceoff. Lynch, the UCLA bound QB of Legacy, has nearly 2.000 yards of offense to go with 25 TDs. Jones of Boulder, potentially Colorado’s top RB, has over 1,500 rush yards and 27 TDs. Jones is also a very dangerous kick returner. This could be a high scoring game.
In the Denver East vs. Mountain Vista game, two underrated QBs, Judd Ericson of Mountain Vista and Deron Harrell of East faceoff. Ericson, a 6-4 junior, has thrown for 1,777 yards while Harrell, one of Colorado best athletes, has posted monster numbers over the past month of the season.
Doherty’s TeQuan Baker has rushed for 1,263 yards while Horizon boasts a very good defense. The Hawks Wes Exum, Elijah Larry and Damian Bell are Demons on D. Horizon is allowing only ten points a game.
Few teams in the state boast as many playmakers as Mullen. Mustang running back Marcus McElroy is a versatile 2017 back. Rocky Mountain’s ball control offense will need to keep the ball out of the hands of the Mustang playmakers.