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High school football 4A/5A capsules BY KEVIN CARMODY, THE GAZETTE

By: name Newspaper
August 27, 2013 Updated: August 27, 2013 at 10:20 pm
photo - Mesa Ridge running back Tremell Stanley tries to peel away from the Cheyenne Mountain defense during Mesa Ridge's 39-10 win against Cheyenne Mountain Friday, October 12, 2012. Michael Ciaglo/The Gazette
Mesa Ridge running back Tremell Stanley tries to peel away from the Cheyenne Mountain defense during Mesa Ridge's 39-10 win against Cheyenne Mountain Friday, October 12, 2012. Michael Ciaglo/The Gazette 



Coach: David Joyce

2012 record: 2-8

Key returners: RB Zach Young, sr.; DB Matt Bogans, sr.; WR Brandon Supernaw, sr.; QB Evan Powell, sr.

Outlook: The Spartans bring back 20 seniors from last year's team that picked up steam late and ended the season on a two-game winning streak. Powell engineered both victories at quarterback, taking over after Supernaw suffered a season-ending finger injury. Bogans is the real deal, leading Doherty with 82 total tackles last year and also had an interception. Two of the Spartans' losses were by two points, and they also lost a 10-point halftime lead to Legend.

Fountain-Fort Carson

Coach: Mitch Johnson

2012 record: 9-2, lost in 5A second-round playoff game

Key returners: LB Jacob Harmon, sr.; LB Kevin McLaughlin, sr.; LB Drue Harris, jr.; RB Tevin Donnell, jr.

Outlook: Defense will carry the Trojans early with nine returning starters from last season's team, including a trio of LBs in Harmon, McLaughlin and Harris that combined for more than 300 tackles in 2012. The real question will revolve around an inexperienced offense that graduated twins Al and Anthony Davis, leading WR Anthony Isom, and QB Cameron Hacker, who transferred to Rampart. Backup QB Jeremiah Joiner threw one pass.


Coach: Justin Rich

2012 record: 1-9

Key returners: FS Juan Torres, sr.; LB Bran Scholdt, sr.; LB Austin Lopez, so.; QB Stratton Case, jr.; RB Maliek McCrimmon, sr.; RB Travis Gordon, sr.

Outlook: The Terrors continue to rebuild under Rich, who is entering his second year. His defense should be much improved with the return of four of his top-five tacklers from last season. However, nine seniors departed from the offensive line and receiver positions, which is a concern early. Case ended the season after an injury to QB Mason Lopez, and the two will compete for the starting job under center. Rich expects OL Josiah Black, a transfer from Wasson, to make a big impact on the Palmer line.

Other league teams: Castle View, Heritage, Legend and Rock Canyon


Canon City

Coach: Tom O'Rourke

2012 record: 7-4, lost in first round of playoffs

Key returners: QB Logan Nethercot, sr.; RB-LB Tyler Templeton, sr.; LB-TE Logun Javernick, sr.; RB-DB Trenton Stringari, jr.

Outlook: Key offensive players return for the Tigers and, aided by a veteran offensive line, will keep them in games. However, an inexperienced defense, especially at the linebacker position, could limit Canon City's progression. Nethercot threw for 855 yards and 13 TDs last season, while Templeton scored nine TDs to go with 487 rushing yards.

Cheyenne Mountain

Coach: Willie Roberts

2012 record: 7-4

Key returners: QB Mitch Guhl, sr.; OL Billy Dabney, sr.; DE Zac Owen, DE, WR Nathan Resty, jr.

Outlook: Longtime defensive coordinator Roberts earned a promotion after the sudden resignation of Brian Sherman, but the Indians shouldn't miss a beat with a strong offensive line and experienced quarterback play. The team expects a boost from senior RB-LB Patrick Betterson, who suffered a torn ACL last preseason and missed all of the 2012 season.

Mesa Ridge

Coach: Rob Braaten

2012 record: 9-4, lost in 4A semis

Key returners: RB-LB Tremell Stanley, sr.; RB-SB Elijah Gilbert, sr.; RB-LB Xavier Garcia, sr.; RB-DL Malik Webb, sr.; TE-LB Kameron Harrod, sr.

Outlook: The Grizzlies were last season's feel-good story, not only winning their first playoff game in school history, but advancing all the way to the semifinals. While Mesa Ridge brings back plenty of skill-position players, highlighted by Stanley. A revamped offensive line lost five starters to graduation.

Palmer Ridge

Coach: Tom Pulford

2012 record: 2-8

Key returners: RB-LB Armando Bargas, sr.; OL-DL John Boogaard, sr.; OL-DL Brenyn Humphrey, sr.; RB Anderson Tremaine, sr.; QB Blaine Wycoff, sr.

Outlook: The Bears faced a tough transition from 3A into 4A, winning just two of seven league games in Pulford's first season. Palmer Ridge does return some key components that should yield for improvement in 2013. Bargas had modest offensive numbers but shined on defense, recording 100 tackles, including 12 for losses. Wycoff threw for 441 yards last season, while the 6-foot-6 Boogaard returns to anchor the offensive line.


Coach: Brent Cottrell

2012 record: 3-7

Key returners: RB-DB Kyree Goodman, sr.; OL-DL Chris Yalongo, sr.

Outlook: Cottrell, a former head coach at Centaurus, Cheyenne Mountain and Woodland Park, starts his latest endeavor with a young and inexperienced team. Only two starters return. Goodman, one of the area's premier hurdlers and long/triple jumpers, averaged 17.4 yards per catch last season.

Other league teams: Pueblo Centennial, Pueblo South, Pueblo West


Air Academy

Coach: Mike Roof

2012 record: 2-8

Key returners: QB Adam Brown, jr.; OL-DL Justin Petrash, sr.; WR-DB Devon Tang, jr.; OL-DL Colson Egli, sr.; OL-DL Cooper Cuntz, sr.; WR Jake Vargas, jr; DE Eddie Berta, sr.; DB Tony Thomas, sr.

Outlook: Roof returns to Air Academy after previously serving as head coach there from 1982-98. He inherits a program that hasn't won more than four games since 2008 but shows promise with many returning starters. Brown was forced into duty after an injury and threw for 750 yards and four touchdowns. The strength of the team, according to Roof, is a veteran offensive and defensive line, led by Petrash, Egli and Cuntz. Tang and Vargas combined for 24 receptions in 2012.


Coaches: Terry Pourier and Brian Green

2012 record: 7-4, lost in first round of playoffs

Key returners: RB-WR-LB Kalen Ballage, sr.; QB Austin Worbington, jr.; P/K Justin Barron, sr.; RB Wyatt Aaberg, jr.; RB-LB Dylan Cutkomp, jr., OL-DL Devon Martinez, sr.

Outlook: After a bizarre, four-month ordeal to find a new leader, Falcon chose two in former Falcon Middle School coaches Pourier and Green. They weren't introduced until mid-June, so got a late start. Neither is concerned about the team's returning unit, led by Ballage, the most sought-after athlete in Colorado. Barron was the Denver Post's all-state punter/kicker last season and also will find time at quarterback, linebacker and fullback. Worbington will get a full season under center after starting the second half of last season.


Coach: Clarence Vaughn

2012 record: 4-6

Key returners: RB-LB Austin Buhl, sr.; WR Andrew Harding, sr.; DL Dylan Watts, sr.; LB Patrick Clift, sr.; OL-DL Travis Christoffersen, jr.

Outlook: Vaughn, a linebacker on two Super Bowl-winning teams for the Redskins is charged with rebuilding a Lancers team that lost five straight to end the season after a promising 4-1 start. Only a handful of starters return, but Vaughn is encouraged by the overall work ethic. The hard-nosed Buhl ran for nearly 500 yards last season and also led the defense with six sacks. Clift and Parker both had more than 70 tackles last season and bring stability to a mostly young defense.

Pine Creek

Coach: Todd Miller

2012 record: 4-6

Key returners: LB-RB Matt List, sr.; RB-DB Avery Anderson, jr.; RB Kamden Atkins, sr.; RB-LB James Fisher; RB-LB Scott Savage, sr.

Outlook: In Miller's first seven seasons, his Eagles went 64-6 during regular-season play. Then came last season, when early season mistakes, key injuries and bad luck led to an 0-5 start. The Eagles lost to only league-champ Ponderosa the rest of the way (one of their three losses by three points or fewer). Pine Creek returns plenty of weapons to make everyone forget about last season's aberration. While Savage is the team's top returning rusher with 461 yards in 2012, Anderson and Atkins, among others, made contributions at several positions. List leads a hard-hitting, aggressive defense.


Coach: JJ Owens

2012 record: 3-7

Key returners: QB Travis Knoche, sr.; WR Donovan Oldham, jr.; RB-WR Quincy Marshall, jr.; DL Jose Toledo, jr.; DL Chris Grall, sr.; DB Kevin Flanegin, sr.

Outlook: Rampart's offense boasts plenty of firepower and got an added boost with the addition of Cameron Hacker, the starting QB last season at Fountain-Fort Carson, and WR Abi Young, who earned a starting job after coming over from now-shuttered Wasson. Oldham caught 30 passes to lead returning receivers, while Marshall is expected to carry the running game. While the added offense is welcome, the Rams' defense has to improve after allowing nearly 34 points a game.

Sand Creek

Coach: Rod Baker

2012 record: 4-6

Key returners: QB/K Micheal DeCarmo, sr.; WR Jordan Preston, sr.; RB Dominic Reed, sr.; OL Jon Nygaard, sr.; LB Tyler Peterson, sr.; LB Jeremy Jaquess, sr.; LB Cody Martin, sr.; DB Darin Johns, sr.

Outlook: Baker engineered a two-game improvement in 2012 and, with 10 returning offensive starters and nine on defense, the Scorpions hope to continue the upward trend. The offense runs through DeCarmo, a 1,000-yard rusher and passer last season who had a hand in 21 of the team's 28 touchdowns (12 pass, nine run). Reed rushed for 755 yards last season, while Preston grabbed 45 receptions for 671 yards. Jaquess and Martin led the defense in tackles with 66 and 57, respectively, while Johns had two interceptions.

Vista Ridge

Coach: Les Johnson

2012 record: 10-2, lost in second round of playoffs

Key returners: RB Dedrick Lee, sr.; OL DJ Wolski, sr.; OL Mauria Stevens, sr.; LB Jaelyn Penn, jr.; LB Tyler Hunt, jr.; DB-WR Austin Mildbrandt, sr.

Outlook: The Wolves were hit hard by graduation, losing the majority of their playmakers on an offense that took eventual 4A state champion Monarch to the limit last November. Still, Johnson has players ready to take the torch. Lee leads a talented bunch of runners, while the QB position was earned by sophomore Elway Tubbs. Wolski and Stevens return to anchor the offensive line, and Vista Ridge also has Penn and Hunt, its top two tacklers from last season, back to lead the defense.

Other league team: Ponderosa

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