Each year, before kickoff, questions come up about the upcoming season. Here are some that have been on my mind in preparation for the season. Soon, when the teams line up, the whistle blows and the pads crack, these questions will have answers.
1.Does defense win championships?
If so should we put the 5A crown on Mullen's head? This Mustang defense returns a plethora of experienced defensive talent from a unit that was the best in the state by the end of the season. Add in some ball control running from Adonis Ameen-Moore and enough offensive firepower to play from the lead and this D will be dominant.
2.Is there life in Wheat Ridge after Parker Orms?
Orms, now of the Colorado Buffaloes, put together a comic book superhero type season helping his Farmers to the 4A title last year. During his three year varsity career, Orms was a huge part of two Farmer championships. This year Wheat Ridge has talent, but is it enough to pull off the repeat.
3.Is Columbine light in the pants?
For years the Rebels have churned out 270 pound offensive and defensive linemen in assembly line fashion. This year, Columbine is short on experienced linemen and long on skill players. This is a very interesting dynamic to keep an eye on.
4.Who is the best QB in Colorado?
I love this year's crop of QBs in the Centennial state. Austin Hinder is the top recruit and has all the tools for the next level. Jake Johnson and Danny Spond will run through you, around you or throw over the top of you. Mitch Griebel of Heritage may be the top all around player in the state. Kain Colter is as cool as the other side of the pillow and when he is on the field his Bruins are always in the game. Jonny Miller's rocket arm got him a schollie to Syracuse. Sam Stratton is a magician ready to pull a TD out of his hat on every snap and Zach Thennel has a strong shot at 10,000 career passing yards and 100 touchdowns. Oh by the way, Ryan Stokes of Golden can beat you running, throwing and kicking.
5.Is Mister the man?
Mister Jones, the super talented Littleton running back has had a solid high school career. Is he ready to take it to the next level, harness all his talent, stay healthy and take the Lions on a playoff run.
6.How competitive is 4A?
There are multiple teams that have a legit shot at the 4A title. Greeley West may be the front runner, but Heritage, defending champ Wheat Ridge, Longmont, Dakota Ridge, Pine Creek and Monarch all have legit shots.
7.What is Bear Creek's Defense?
This may be the year the Bears D up and get some stops and challenge for a title. The Bears will always score points, but they have at times had difficulty stopping teams. With multiple experienced defenders back this might be the year it comes together in all facets of the game.
8.Who is the 5A sleeper?
There are teams lurking in 5A, good, but maybe a little under the radar. In the Big 8, Arvada West, Chatfield and Pomona are somewhat unheralded but scary. ThunderRidge has a rugged run game that will cause opponents trouble. Also, never count out Douglas County. Legacy returns a solid defense and has the potential for a good looking run game. With Tucker Tharp and Kenny Bell Fairview can score on any touch.
9.What player will surprise?
Each year players emerge to go beyond contributors and become stars. At Mullen does Connor Healy stand out on the star studded defense. How many sacks will Brenden Lopez of Dakota Ridge register after a sophomore season that saw him post 11? Is young gun QB Tommy Thornton, just a sophomore, the real deal for Ponderosa? Denver East transfer Skyler Scherer will be under center for Eaglecrest giving the Raptors multiple talented skill players. Keep an eye on Davis Gunter of Arapahoe to see how many rush yards he posts this year.
10.Who is the best football player?
This question is not in regard to the best athlete or best prospect, but best all around football player. The reason asked is the number of kids who do so many things. For Heritage, senior Mitch Griebel has returned kicks and punts, played defensive back and quarterback all at an All-State level. Kain Colter is a great QB, but maybe even a better defensive back. How about Kenny Bell? He is a scary threat as returner, defender and runner. Danny Spond of Columbine, I believe could be All-State at three or four different positions. Connor Stevens and Josh Chance of Pine Creek do it all for their squad. Former punt, pass and kick champ Ryan Stokes of Golden has a very complete skill set. In the trenches A.J. Frieler dominates on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Michael Hall of Overland is tremendous in all aspects of the game.
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