Each Monday PrepColorado will take a look at ten story lines to keep an eye on for the upcoming week of high school football. Here is what will make news this week.
The heart and soul of the very good Greeley West football team went down with a dislocated hip last weekend against Niwot. Indications are he could be back in a month. The Spartans can play solid defense and should be able to run the ball, but Morgan's versatility and savvy will be needed for a deep playoff run.
2. College Coach Central
We all know about the rivalry that is Cherry Creek versus Mullen and this will be one of the featured games of the week for PrepColorado, but an interesting side light will be the number of college coaches that could be in attendance at the big game. With it being a Thursday night game, coaches from various programs should be able to get a look at Elway, Brewster, Givens, Gaye, Miller, Johnson and others. If you like coach watching this game could be the place to be.
The Continental League matchup between Arapahoe and Heritage could be a ton of fun. Both teams have tremendous offensive balance and have playmakers all over the field. Arapahoe's Eric Soehngen and the Heritage duo of Brandon Kaufman and Colton Meacham are not only top receivers in the Continental League they are some of the best receivers in the state. Add in Ryan Skogg of Heritage and Bill Mercer of Arapahoe running the ball and underrated QBs Mitch Grieibel and Matt Johnson and you have a recipe for points.
4. Hitting His Stride
Eric Longoria stretched his legs a little last week and rushed for 190 yards. Currently, there are no D1 offers for the shifty back, but he is getting some attention from New Mexico.
5.Tops in 2009?
6-7 235 pound DE Nick Kasa received an offer from Colorado this past week and followed it up with a three sack performance in a win over a good Rocky Mountain squad. Kasa, with his size and speed should be one of the top recruits in Colorado for the class of 2009.
I'm going to give this a shot off the top of my head, here are the numerous family connections across the high school football world in Colorado. I'm going to miss some, but remember I'm working without a net here. Jack Elway works with father and QB coach John Elway at Cherry Creek. Zach Thenell gets his plays from father Tom, head coach at Bear Creek as well as some tutoring from his uncle and quarterback guru Tim. Mitch Griebel QB at Heritage, gets lessons on the playbook from head coach dad Mike. Guard Jimmy Miller of Mullen blocks for little brother and Mustang QB Jonny Miller. Guard Trevor Soole of Monarch opens holes for brother, teammate and running back Cale Soole and by the way, their dad James is an assistant at Monarch. Taking it even closer, QB Mike Mankoff gets each snap of every play at Thomas Jefferson from his brother Center, Matt Mankoff. At Columbine, Mat Birkeness and younger brother Brian Birkeness patrol the field for one of the states best defenses. Andrew Sampson of Overland works on the Trailblazer offensive line with his younger brother center Nick Sampson. Remember, this is off the top of my head so let me know what I missed.
7.Players to Watch
*Alex Johnson WR Cherry Creek having a monster year working with Jack Elway.
*Luke Bublitz QB of Legacy is quietly putting together a very strong season for the undefeated Lightning.
*Kirk English of Montrose is an unsung QB hero in 4A.
8.Good Things Come in Small Packages
Devon Fitzgerald only goes 5-5 but he is having a big season for the 4-0 Thomas Jefferson Spartans. Currently, Fitzgerald is one of the top rushers in the state with over 600 yards.
9.Defense Wins Championships
5A #1 Columbine is allowing nine points a game. That was their average last year during the regular season. That number dropped to six points a game doing playoffs.
USC drilled Nebraska for 313 big time rushing yards in a 49-31 win. Many of those yards came behind Fort Collins High School grad and Trojan guard Jeff Byers.