Pine Creek, Palmer Ridge, Canon City, Harrison and Discovery Canyon football teams are virtual shoo-ins for the playoffs. In other words, they don’t have to worry too much about making it into the 3A, 4A and 5A postseason brackets since they're sitting comfortably in the top 16 positions of their respective classification.
But how about the on-the-cusp teams? There are a few of those, too, in the Pikes Peak region.
Let’s start with Fountain-Fort Carson (4-5), ranked 16th in 5A. To stay in its current position or move up will be difficult for the Trojans, who will face top-ranked Valor Christian (9-0) in the regular season finale Friday at Guy R. Barickman Stadium in Fountain. Fountain-Fort Carson is on a three-game skid, though each loss has been by two touchdowns or less. In the last two games, the Trojans lost 10-7 to Legend and 13-3 to Lakewood.
Also in 5A is Doherty (6-3), which is ranked 19th and has won three of its last four games. On Friday, the Spartans face Boulder (3-6), which is coming off a 14-0 win over Smoky Hill last week. Doherty beat Smoky Hill 29-14.
In 4A, Rampart, Vista Ridge and Widefield are ranked 13th, 14th and 16th, respectively, while Mesa Ridge sat at No. 18 before its loss to top-ranked Pine Creek on Thursday night.
Rampart (7-2, 4-0) faces Vista Ridge (6-3, 3-1) on Friday. For Rampart, this is the chance to win an outright 4A Pikes Peak Athletics Conference champion. Montrose is also 3-1 in the PPAC.
Widefield (6-3, 2-2) plays Pueblo West, which sits at 8-1 and 3-1 in the 4A Southern League standings.
In 3A, Palmer Ridge (9-0), Canon City (8-1), Harrison (8-1) and Discovery Canyon (5-4) are in the top 11 in the RPI standings. They appear to be playoff bound.
As for teams in the lower classifications, the playoffs start this week.
No. 5 The Classical Academy hosts Aspen at 7 p.m. Friday in 2A, and No. 8 Peyton hosts No. 9 Paonia and No. 14 Colorado Springs Christian School plays at No. 3 Centauri at 1 p.m. Saturday.
It could be argued that Peyton deserved a higher seeding. Consider this: Peyton was 8-1 (there were three 9-0) teams and its +277 point differential ranks second only to top-seeded Bennett. There are 208 11-man teams in Colorado and only 24 have scored more points (328); only three have allowed fewer points (51). Its one loss came 13-7 in early Sept. to a Highland team that made the 16-team playoff field.
The three unbeaten — No. 1 Bennett, No. 2 Meeker and No. 3 Centauri — obviously deserve the top 3 spots. But Peyton is not only ranked last among the four 8-1 teams, it's also below a 7-2 team.
Nonetheless, enjoy the postseason.