This week 5A playoffs commence and although Valor Christian is a clear favorite, the bracket shows parity that will make the games very interesting. Here is a quick look.
Quadrant 2 Bracket is interesting to me.Grandview should handle Prairie View due to their playoff experience but
Prairie View has a great combination of speed and power with their runninggame. Doherty versus Gateway is intriguing, Zach Young has been unstoppable this year and I feel he and the Spartans will get the win in a high scoring game.Also in Q2 I like the potential of a Regis v. ThunderRidge rematch. A few weeks ago Regis really took it to the Griz.
Quadrant four of playoffs also offers the potential for fun. Cherry Creek and Cherokee Trail are very good teams and should play each other in the quarters, but Overland and Lakewood have big play athletes. Overland's Austin Conway can at times take games over offensively.
I think the best matchup of the week is Ralston Valley vs Arapahoe. Ralston Valley has experience and Arapahoe has a diverse offense that moves the ball. This game could be great.
5A Round 1 Winners
Q1 Fairview Douglas County Pomona Chatfield
Q2Regis Grandview ThunderRidge Doherty
Q3Valor Arapahoe Columbine Grand Junction
Q4Cherry Creek Cherokee Trail Overland Mountain Range
It would have been nice if Cherokee Trail and Cherry Creek were on the other side of the bracket from Valor. Valor, rightfully so, is the favorite to win state, but Cherokee Trail and Cherry Creek may have the combination of defense and athleticism to compete with the champs. Last year's state title game showed Valor can potentially be upset.
Ten Players to Watch in Playoffs
1.Carlo Kemp of Fairview. The Knights are known for offense, but the talented sophomore can get after the QB
2.RJ Ramirez of Prairie View is a threat in the run game and as a returner
3.Kyle Winkler is one of Colorado's best young QBs
4.ThunderRidge WR Mark Hopper averages big yards per reception and can take
pressure off the Griz run game.
5. Although Cherry Creek runs the ball by committee, Nate Starks may be the difference in an attempt to make a championship run. I'm also curious to see if Starks gets defensive reps in playoff games.
6. Junior Regis athlete Trevor Williams needs to pop big plays in the return
and passing game if the Raiders want to go deep in playoffs.
7Can Zach Young of Doherty continue to put up monster rush numbers against the tougher teams in playoffs?
8. QB A.J. Cecil of Valor has to make some plays to take the pressure off Christian McCaffrey.
9. Chris Marquez running behind his giant Pomona offensive line has averaged 214 rush yards per game over the past four games. If Pomona makes a run it sets up a great potential rematch with Fairview.
10. Andrew Wingard of Ralston Valley must continue his impressive use of touches as a runner, returner and receiver if Ralston Valley wants to make a
Early Take on the Final 4
Quadrant 1 Champion Pomona- I always go with the ability to run the ball and play defense
Quadrant 2 Champion Regis-I thought hard about ThunderRidge avenging their earlier season loss, but I think the Regis offensive line gets the best of the ThunderRidge defensive line.
Quadrant 3 Champion Valor, Just too good in too many aspects of the game.
Quadrant 4 Champion Cherry Creek Very athletic, solid run game and good D make them a contender
Valor repeats after a tough semi win over Cherry Creek. In the final Valor takes it to Regis.