4A STATE SEMIFINAL
PINE CREEK (10-2) at MONARCH (10-1)
1 p.m. Saturday, Centaurus High School, Lafayette
Last week: Pine Creek shut out Windsor 25-0. Monarch overpowered Loveland 42-8.
Last meeting: Pine Creek beat Monarch 20-0 in 2011 state semifinals.
What to know: For the second time in three seasons, these two 4A juggernauts meet in a game to advance to the state finals. The history of these programs is just phenomenal. Pine Creek is 78-14 in nine seasons under Todd Miller, while Monarch sports an amazing 108-15 mark during the past decade under Phil Bravo, the Coyotes' coach since 1998. Monarch won state titles in 2013 and 2002. Pine Creek hopes to keep the Coyotes' defense off guard with its diversified attack. While nine different Eagles have rushed for touchdowns, junior QB Tommy Lazzaro has tossed 21 TDs to six different receivers. Since a Week 4 loss to Montrose, Monarch's unheralded defense has allowed double digits just twice. What gives? Pine Creek hasn't allowed more than 28 points in a game this season. Monarch's low-water mark was a 34-point showing in its lone loss and scored no fewer than 41 in the other 10 games with its relentless double-wing offense.
3A STATE SEMIFINALS
THE CLASSICAL ACADEMY (10-2) vs. CORONADO (11-1)
1 p.m. Saturday, Garry Berry Stadium
Last week: TCA won at Palisade 24-21. Coronado rallied past Roosevelt 29-27.
Last meeting: Coronado beat TCA, 16-6 on Aug. 29.
What to know: Once doormats on the football landscape - TCA was 2-8 two seasons ago and Coronado lost 21 straight games between the 2010 and 2012 seasons - one of these teams will play for a 3A state title next week. TCA had never won a playoff game before two weeks ago, while Coronado hadn't appeared in the playoffs since 1991. Both squads have dynamic offenses and big-play defenses. For the Titans, senior quarterback Janzten Ryals led a 92-yard, season-saving drive in the fourth quarter last week at Palisade. He has 13 TD passes, while eight different runners have scored, led Andrew Register's nine TDs. Speedy Coronado junior Austin Micci has emerged as his team's top threat with 1,254 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Kevin Carmody, The Gazette