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Dan Skipper of Ralston Valley

Highlighted by two of Colorado's best teams and filled with squads looking to make a move, the 2012 edition of the North Metro will be exciting.

Favorite: Pomona

Forget the talent, forget returning one of the top QBs in the state and focus on toughness and a tradition of winning. Pomona Head Coach Jay Madden has always fielded tough teams that win ball games. Over the past three seasons the Panthers have won 29 games. This season the ball will be in the air as three year starter Alex Feland returns with receivers Dominic Martinez and Mitch Collins. Feland completed 60% of his passes to go with 22 TDs. Martinez and Collins combined for over 90 receptions. Linebacker Deshaun Mays combines tremendous athleticism with on field production. Zach and Zane Anderson bring their own aggressive play to the linebacker position. Experienced DB Ricky Rodriguez will patrol the secondary.

Contender: Ralston Valley

The Mustangs will run the ball and then they will run the ball and why not? With an offensive line spearheaded by big Dan Skipper blocking for 230 pound running back Jakob Buys the Mustangs will be as subtle as a sledgehammer. The run game allows the D to stay fresh and limit opponent's offensive possessions. Last season Ralston Valley allowed 12 points a game.

Sleeper: Legacy

The Lightning look poised to return to prominence. QB Patrick Medina is a dual threat that posted nearly 1,500 yards of combined offense last season. 5-10 200 pound running back Phydell Paris can get the tough yards and breakout for big games. 215 pound linebacker Jake Bublitz is a player to watch while defensive lineman Skyler McWee can get after passers.

Best of the Rest:

Boulder has a very good offensive mix highlighted by running back Demetrius Kennedy, who posted four games over 130 yards rushing last season. If new QB T.J. Patterson has a good season and the defense can improve on the 25 points a game allowed last year. Boulder could surprise.

Fairview is young this season and needs the offensive line to gel quickly. If this happens junior WR Sam Martin and senior RB Cole Scheifele could shine.

New Arvada West Head Coach Greg Whistler inherits a team that is in the midst of rebuilding. A recent Mecca for offensive linemen, West has limited returnees up front to help foster and protect new skill players.

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