WEEK 9 TOP GAMES
FOUNTAIN-FORT CARSON (4-4, 4-1) at HERITAGE (4-4, 3-2)
7 p.m. Thursday, Littleton Public Stadium
Last week: Fountain-Fort Carson fell at home to Doherty, 41-28. Heritage beat Castle View, 14-6.
The skinny: Fountain-Fort Carson had its 10-game Pioneer League winning streak snapped in last week's loss to Doherty. In that game, Trojans committed five turnovers as they lost for the fourth time this season, the most since 2005. F-FC and Heritage figure to open next week's 5A playoffs on the road, entering the final week of the regular season ranked 21st and 23rd, respectively, in this week's CHSAA wild-card points. The top 16 5A seeds open with home games.
PUEBLO COUNTY (4-4, 2-1) at THE CLASSICAL ACADEMY (6-2, 3-0)
7 p.m. Thursday, TCA North Campus
Last week: Pueblo County lost to Pueblo East, 21-6. TCA beat Sierra, 41-14.
The skinny: TCA can claim no worse than a tie for the league title by beating a Hornets team that started 1-3 before having its three-game winning streak snapped last week. The Titans, playing their final home game of the regular season, have won three straight since a nonleague loss at Discovery Canyon and enters the game ranked No. 10 in wild-card points.
PALMER RIDGE (3-5, 3-2) at CANON CITY (5-3, 3-2)
7 p.m. Friday, Citizen's Stadium (Canon City HS)
Last week: Palmer Ridge downed Mesa Ridge, 31-21. Canon City routed Cheyenne Mountain, 62-20.
The skinny: Two of the Foothills League's 3-2 teams square off as surging Palmer Ridge hits the road to face a Canon City team fighting for its playoff life. The Tigers come into the game a tie for 17th place in wild-card points, needing a win here and another next week against Cheyenne Mountain, plus a little help to clinch a top-16 playoff berth.
SAND CREEK (6-2, 3-2) at VISTA RIDGE (5-3, 3-2)
7 p.m. Friday, Vista Ridge High School
Last week: Sand Creek beat Rampart, 54-13. Vista Ridge bounced Liberty, 49-0.
The skinny: This Falcon School District 49 rivalry game - Vista Ridge was opened in 2008 to split the Sand Creek boundary in half - carries a little more significance this time. The Scorpions, 0-3 against their new rival, are tied for 17th in this week's wild-card points and will stay in the playoff race with a win. Vista Ridge, meanwhile, has not lost more than three games in a season in school history.
CSCS (6-2, 5-1) at BUENA VISTA (8-0, 6-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Buena Vista High School
Last week: CSCS beat Custer County, 43-12. Buena Vista dominated Ellicott, 49-7.
The skinny: The 1A Black Forest League title comes down to the final regular-season game. Surging CSCS travels west to play the reigning champs. Buena Vista stopped the Lions 40-6 last year and has won all 13 league games since joining the Black Forest League prior to the 2012 season. The only game the Demons have lost in the past two seasons was an 18-16 verdict to Cedaredge in last year's 1A state championship game.