Coach: Dwight Hale, 1st season
Last year: 5-6 (4-1 5A South) Earned a No. 18 seed in the 5A state tournament.
Returning starters: Justin Anetone, sr., OL/DL; Brandon Becker, sr., Ath; Brody Gish, jr., WR/QB; Daymond Hill, jr., Ath; Kevin Knebel, sr., OL/DL; Chance Maiava -Grabe, sr., OL/DL; Jaden Martinez, sr., RB; Jaquay Seawright, sr., FS; Logan Siffert, sr., QB; AJ Tracey, sr., LB; Zeke Wandeler, sr., OL/DL
Outlook: “We have a solid group of seniors who have a lot of game experience to lead us in the classroom, community and on the football field,” Hale said. “I’m excited to see our juniors grow and contribute to the success of our program.”
Notes: The Spartans lost their top-two rushers to graduation. Gish, Siffert, Martinez and Becker, the team’s top returning skill players, will need to make up the yardage.
Fountain-Fort Carson Trojans
Coach: Jake Novotny, 4th season
Last year: 5-6 (3-2) No. 19 in the 5A state tournament.
Returning starters: Isaac Barker, jr., OL; Brendan Bills, sr., OL; Sherman Deaton, sr., OL; Noah Gerber, sr., WR; Kobe Hardin, sr., WR; Mike Jones, sr., DB; Q Jones, jr. RB; Julian Mendoza, sr., OLB; Isaac Robinson, sr., QB; TaShon Smith, jr., DB
Others: Tai Faavae, fr., RB; Nick Neely, jr., ILB; Dez Oliver, so., RB; Trey Porter, jr., DL; Dante Ritter, sr., DB; Ray Salvatore, jr., DL; Lawrence Walker, so., DB
Outlook: “We are returning eight starters on offense, and should be explosive and exciting to watch,” Novotny said. “Defensively, we’re playing several young, hungry players who are eager to prove themselves. Overall, the culture of the team is in a great place currently with an outstanding group of leaders.”
Note: Jones returns after suffering a broken leg late last season. He was one of the state’s top running backs with 1,400 yards through nine games.
Cheyenne Mountain Indians
Coach: Jay Saravis, 3rd season
Last year: 2-8 (1-4 4A Southern)
Returning starters: Eric DelToro, sr., OL/DL; Kyle Elligott, sr., WR/DB; Mitch Flores, sr., B/LB; Elliott Gomez, sr., OL/DL; Robbie Gonzales, sr., TE/LB; Caelen Holmes, sr., OL/DL; Noah Logan, sr., TE/LB; Preston Morton, sr., WR/DB; Dalton Myers, sr., B/DB; Camden Zehr, sr., OL/DL; Caden Bellew, jr., B/DB; Colton Bellew, jr., B/LB; Brayden Bethart, jr., OL/DL; Jake Boley, jr., OL/DL; Brad Helton, jr., WR/B/DB; Ivan Miranda, jr., OL/DL; Patrick O'Donnell, so., B/DB; Nico Gagliardi, so., B/DL
Others: Jackson Blaylock, sr., WR/DB; Harrison Lopez, jr., TE/DL/K; Seth Noyes, jr., OL/DL
Note: Saravis said the Indians enter the season with a new coaching staff.
Mesa Ridge Grizzlies
Coach: Rob Braaten, 14th season
Last year: 5-5 (2-3)
Returning starters: Arthur Campbell, jr., RB/DL; Dillon Campos, sr., WR/DB; Charles Davis, sr., WR, DB; Andres Esquivel, sr., WR/DB; Victor Fernandez, sr., OL/DL; David Garcia, sr., TE/DL; Kyle Gaster, sr., QB; Jailen Holmes, WR/DB; Teddy Saenz, sr., WR/DB; Alan Wallace, sr., OL/DL; C'Drel Watson, jr., OL/DL
Other top athletes: Cash Cheeks, so., WR/DB; Elijah Davis, so., RB/LB; John Soto, jr., WR/DB
Outlook: “The Grizzlies have a lot of team speed and good depth at the skill positions,” Braaten said. “The offseason program went great.”
Note: Mesa Ridge lost its top running threat, Trevon Walker to graduation.
Coach: Tom Reber, 3rd season
Last year: 1-9 (0-5)
Returning starters: Evan Arrowsmith, sr., WR/DB; Joe Naple, so., WR/LB; Logan Paxson, sr., OL/DL; Jesse Saiz, sr., WR/DB; Daven Simonds, sr., QB/LB; Kody Woods, jr., LB/QB; Reace Zollicoffer, jr., OL/DL
Others: Robert Clarke, jr., WR/DB; Jaiveon Kendrick, jr., RB/LB; Gabe Goldman, so., OL/DL; Nate Jahner, jr., OL/DL; Carlos Moreno, jr., QB; Jarin Norwood, so., WR
Outlook: “I'm excited to see our young men compete after a great offseason in the weight room,” Reber said. “We have some great talent here and I look forward to enjoying the journey of a new season with them and my staff.”
Note: Reber said the Terrors may be the youngest squad in the 4A Southern league.
Pine Creek Eagles
Coach: Todd Miller, 15th season
Last year: 10-2 (5-0) Earned the No. 1 seed in the 4A state tournament
Outlook: “We return eight offensive starters and eight defensive,” Miller said.
Note: After earning the No. 1 seed for the second season in a row the Eagles fell in the second round in a one-point loss to Skyline. Pine Creek reloads with a stacked class of 2020 including the team’s starting quarterback Gavin Herberg, running back David Moore III, and receiver and corner backs Max Lofy and Eddie Kyle.
Vista Ridge Wolves
Coach: Jason Cauley, 1st season
Last year: 5-5 (3-2)
Returning starters: Devin Antoine, sr.; Ahmir Braxton, jr.; Devonte Brown, sr., WR; Keyon Burris, jr.; Kayon Lacy, sr.; Michael McClendon, sr.; Josh Norman, sr.; Derric Overbey, sr., OL; Ryan Poolman, sr., DB; Emanuel Taylor, sr., LB; Matt Wells, sr., RB; Jalen Young, sr., DL
Others: Zayden Davis, sr., WR; Brayden Dorman, fr., QB; Tyler Clark, sr., LB; Justis Laulu so., DL; Michael McClendon, sr., DB
Outlook: “We are still trying to find our offensive identity,” Cauley said. “But the keys to winning are playing for the team, and not playing for individual accolades.”
Notes: Cauley introduced a new offensive scheme to be led by freshman quarterback Brayden Dorman. He said the team’s strength will be the defensive line.
4A PIKES PEAK
Air Academy Kadets
Coach: Scott Grinde, 4th season
Last year: 7-3 (3-2 4A Pikes Peak)
Returning starters: Are'an Burr, jr., ILB/TE; Jared Clark, sr., QB; Aiden Diller, sr., DE/OL; Cole Eck, sr., OL/DE; Cole Edmondson, sr., RB/DB; Christian Jones, sr., OL/DL; Will Markworth, sr., OLB/WR; Ethan Martin, sr., RB/OLB; Eli Montoya, sr., DB/WR; Tanner Rawlins, jr., ILB/OL; Jaxson Sak-Bachini, jr., OL/DL
Others: Chris Goetzmann, jr., OL/DL; Nick Goetzmann, jr., ILB/OL
Outlook: “I am excited about the improvement our group has made during the offseason,” Grinde said. “We have an outstanding senior class that has now invested four years in this program, and the experience and leadership they bring will be critical to our success. We have very hard-working, disciplined kids that focus on the process of getting better each day, both on and off the field, and I believe we are ready to make the jump to postseason play.”
Notes: Grinde said he is also impressed with the Kadets’ freshman class and their early commitment to the program… 2018 marked the best season record for the Kadets since 2007.
Coach: Monte Gutowski, 3rd season
Last year: 4-6 (2-3)
Returning starters: Gabe Chapel, sr., QB/SS; Say Doe Htoo, jr., RB/SS; Julian Hogan, sr., QB/K; Ladarius Mays, sr., RB/DB; Mason Micci, jr., RB/DB; Kane Rempel, sr., WR/DB; Eric San Souci, jr., OL/DL; Micah Senrick, sr., TE/LB
Others: Seth McKinney, sr., OL/DL; John Myers, sr., TE/LB; Ross Woods, sr., RB/DB
Outlook: “The overall numbers in the program are up and we have had a great summer offseason,” Gutowski said. “I’m looking forward to our players meshing together and competing.”
Notes: The Cougars return nearly all of their top offensive contributors including Mays who led the team with 1,400 all-purpose yards. Six of the team’s top defenders graduated.
Coach: Erick Gossage, 2nd season
Last year: 0-10 (0-5)
Returning starters: Elias Alexander, sr., RB/OLB; Musa Pene, sr., WR/DB; Malici Salus, sr., WR/DB; Jack Shaver, sr., OL/DL
Other top athletes: Daucin Dvorsky, sr., QB; Anthony Jay, jr., OL/DL; Brandon Killough, jr., OL/DL
Outlook: “I’m excited about how my players respond after struggling last season,” Gossage said.
Notes: 2019 marks 10 years since the Lancers’ last winning season. Liberty returns all of its offensive leaders, but will need to replace five of its top defenders from a year ago.
Coach: Troy Ward, 1st season
Last year: 7-4 (4-1) No. 15 in the 4A state tournament
Returning starters: Cale Cormaney, jr., QB; Michael Edwards, jr., WR/FS; Gabe Knapp, jr., MLB; Rodrigo Martinez, sr., DL; Luke Pavlica, jr., WR/CB; Christian Pena, sr., WR; David Peters, sr., K; Dalton Slaughter, jr., OL/DL; Ty Smith, sr., OLB; Grant Tucker, sr.,OT; Kevin Witcher, sr., WR/SS; Chris Yoo, sr., RB
Other top athletes: David Toney, jr, CB; Calum Torrey, so., WR/SS; Jayden Young, jr., OL
Outlook: “The exciting thing for our program is our commitment to hard with,” Ward said. “It will be fun to watch that hard work pay off for them.”
Notes: The Rams return all of their top skill position players from a team that finished among the top five teams in the state in offensive yards.
Coach: Shane Zimmerman, 1st season
Last year: 2-8 (1-4)
Returning starters: Daniel Barnes -Gutierrez, sr., WR/DB; John Joseph, sr., MLB/H; Kaleb Maska, sr., WR/DB; Timu Mataipule, jr., OT/DT; Shayquan Moncrief, sr., DT/OT; Nick Reinhard, jr., OG/DE; Kayleb Snapp, sr., H/OLB; Jermel Trueblood, DB/WR; Darius Young, sr., OLB/OG
Others: DJ Allen, so., ATH; Noah San Nicolas, sr., DT/OG; Paul Young, jr., QB
Outlook: “There’s a lot to be excited about here at Widefield,” Zimmerman said. “Our offensive line is improving and we have a tremendous group of wide receivers. We had a core group of players who worked hard this summer in the weight room and we have seen tremendous growth. Our athletes are working hard and getting better each day.”
Note: Widefield lost it’s 1,200-yard rusher and the next-ranked runner, who had 102 yards, to graduation.
Canon City Tigers
Coach: Tom O’Rourke, 8th season
Last year: 4-6 (4-1 3A Southern)
Returning starters: Anthony Blatnick, jr., OL; Raymond Cammel, sr., RB; Dominic Fontecchio, sr., DB; Dylan O'Rourke, so., LB; Harrison Pilafas, sr., QB; Noah Vidmar, sr., DB; Austin Welles, sr., LB
Other: Tim Bosse, jr., DB
Outlook: O’Rourke said he is excited about a fresh start for the Tigers.
Notes: Canon City lost a large senior class of 19 players, but returns Cammel, who had 629 all-purpose yards, and Fontecchio who led the team in tackles.
Coach: Chris Waca, 2nd season
Last year: 4-6 (3-2)
Returning athletes: Nolan Favreau, jr., WR/DB; Charlie Haight, sr., WR/DB; Jeremiah Hall, sr., WR/DB; Sterling Kunau, sr., FB/LB; Jonathan Lozano, so., OL/DL; Jack Lupton, sr., OL/DL; Colton Minnich, sr., WR/DB; Nate Nass, jr., OL/DL; Francisco Ponce, sr., QB; Zach Regennitter, sr., RB/DB
Others: Kyi Ambrose, jr., OL/DL; Boe Delanghe, jr., OL/DL; Darius McFarland, so., RB/DB; Landon Jones, jr., RB/LB; Cole Pitts, sr., TE/LB; Bruce Reinhard , so., OL/DL; Stryder Sartor, jr., WR/QB/TE/LB; JR Starner, jr., OL/DL; Camrie Williams, jr., RB/DB
Outlook: “We have a season under our belt in our system and the kids have worked hard in off-season workouts in the weight room,” Waca said. “We will be young at some positions, but we feel the ceiling is high for our group.”
Notes: The Falcons graduated all running backs with more than 10 yards, but return top receiver Minnich.
Coach: Al Melo, 13th season
Last year: 11-1 (5-0) Earned No. 5 seed in 3A tournament
Returning starters: Khali Dotison, jr., WR/DB; Seth Fuller, jr., WR/LB; Jaseim Mitchell, jr., QB/DB; Tyler Nabozny, sr., WR/K; Matt Robinson, sr., WR/DB; Devonn Steven, jr., OL/LB; Makeah Scippio, sr., TE/DE; Jailen Simmons, sr., OL/DL; Romeo Wells, sr., RB/LB
Others: Timmy Evans, sr., RB/LB; Tristen Matteson, sr., OL/DL
Outlook: “I’m excited to see our junior class mature as many started as sophomores,” Melo said.
Notes: Harrison completed the program’s first undefeated regular season and earned a No. 5 seed in the 3A state playoffs. The Panthers lost to eventual champions Palmer Ridge in the second round.
Coach: Corey Anderson, 5th season
Last year: 2-9 (2-3)
Returning starters: Demetrius Biglow, jr., WR/DB; Roman Evagelista, jr., OL/DL; Traveon Flournoy, sr., OL/DL; Kajon Smith, sr., OL/LB; Domanick Trujillo, sr., WR/OLB
Other top athletes: Dominic Munguia, sr., WR/DB
Outlook: “Our numbers aren’t deep but our guys are working with discipline and determination,” Anderson said. “We believe. We have committed. We have faith.”
Notes: Anderson said the team will be running a new offense and defense this season, and “despite our record and the reputation some give to this school, the community has stepped up to support us, and the kids are responding to the kindness and generosity.”
Sand Creek Scorpions
Coach: James Everett, 1st season
Last year: 0-10 (0-5)
Returning starters: Coby Bailey, DB; Marcus Daniels, CB; Kam Francis; Greg Garnett, RB; Cameron Hodges, DB; Vincent Holien, WR; Damian Johnson, jr., DT; Syncere Loftis, QB; Tim Newton, LB; Justin Qandil, DE
Outlook: “We have a chance to surpass last year in win total and bring excitement to the school about the football program,” Everett said.
Note: Last year the Scorpions averaged fewer than 120 yards per game.
Discovery Canyon Thunder
Coach: Shawn Mitchell, 13th season
Last year: 9-3 (3-2) Was ranked No. 7 heading into the 3A state tournament.
Returning starters: Gage Clawson, sr., OL/ILB; Ethan Hall, sr., WR/CB; Jonah Isakson, sr., QB/FS; Drew Listello, sr., RB/Saf.; Marshall Pike, sr., FB/ILB; Nate Rose, sr., WR/CB; Zach Surface, sr., TE/Saf.
Other top athletes: Christian Call, sr., RB/ILB; Dane Campbell, sr., OL/DL; Jack Dewey, sr., OL/DL; Kevin Frye, sr., RB/Saf.; Tanner Sukle, sr., OL/ILB
Outlook: “This is one of the largest senior classes that we've had at Discovery Canyon (21) - many of them were contributors at the varsity level during the 2018 season, and we're excited to see what they can accomplish this season as seniors,” Mitchell said. “While there are still some unanswered position questions, we are expecting many of these seniors to step in and excel on both sides of the ball.”
Notes: The Thunder will strive for its eighth straight playoff appearance in its 14th season as a varsity program.
Coach: Dustin Tupper, 6th season
Last year: 6-5 (3-2) Earned a No. 15 seed in the 3A state tournament.
Returning starters: Kai Arneson, sr., OT/DT; Jake Martin, sr., S/RB; Alex Weaver, sr., QB/LB
Others: Braden Coe, LB/WR; Breckin Davis, WR/S; Jason Looper, WR/CB
Outlook: “We had an excellent offseason, and we’re ready to step up,” Tupper said.
Notes: The Rangers graduated their 1,500-yard running back and a top receiver. Weaver and Martin are the top returning skill players.
Coach: Michael Zoesch, 5th season
Last year: 5-4 (3-2 2A Tri-Peaks)
Returning starters: Jordan Hirman, jr., TE/DE; James Lawrence, sr., RB/OLB; Cole Morse, sr., DE/OL; Vince Weber, sr., QB/DB
Outlook: “Our quarterback (Vince Weber) has been playing very well this summer,” Zoesch said. “We have a great group of skill position players as well as an experienced offensive and defensive line.”
Notes: The Cardinals will need to replace a host of running backs including last year’s 1,000-yard rusher Reece Ullery
Manitou Springs Mustangs
Coach: Cory Archuleta, 4th season
Last year: 3-6 (1-4)
Returning starters: Tate Christian, so., QB; Orion Lavigne, sr., OL; Dominick Pearson, sr., RB; Other top athletes: Hunter Gilpin, sr., OL
Outlook: “We have a lot of young kids with a really solid freshman group,” Archuleta said.
Notes: The Mustangs enter the season with a roster of 34 athletes -- an improvement of 10-12 players from the previous two years, according to Archuleta.
The Classical Academy Titans
Coach: Justin Rich, third season
Last year: 4-5 (3-2)
Returning starters: Grant Alexander, sr., TE/ILB; Blake Branch, sr., OLB/TE; Hunter Christopherson, jr., RB; Taylor May, sr., OL/DL; Alex Nelson, jr., WR/DB; Cole Palmer, sr., OL/ILB; Aden Timson, jr., WR/DB
Others: Ethan Brunk, jr., ILB/TE; Hayden Cooper, sr. Ath/DB/K/P
Outlook: “We will have good size up front on offense and defense and will be senior heavy at OL/DL. We have very talented, athletic, and fast skills guys on both sides of the ball, but they are mostly juniors and sophomores who have not been tested,” Rich said. “If everything clicks and we stay healthy, it could be a fun year.”
Notes: Christopherson is the top-returning rusher from a team that averaged 256 rushing yards per game.
Woodland Park Panthers
Coach: Joe Roskam, 9th season
Last year: 0-9 (0-5 2A Tri-Peaks)
Returning athletes: Joey Babin, sr., WR/DB; Tyler Baldus, jr., WR/DB; Jake Blakey, sr., Zach Bunge, sr., OL/DL; DT; Bryson Cox, jr., TE/DE; Kaden Koksma, sr., TE/DE; Colin Kucera, jr., QB; Tyler Larkin, jr., OL/DL; Griffin Owens, jr., OL/DL; Elliott Patterson, sr., RB/WR/DB; Gilbert Ramirez, jr., RB/DB; Braden Roskam, jr., RB/SS; Colton Simonis, jr., DB; Jacob Simpson, jr., OL/DL; Jackson Schubloom, sr., LB; Jacob Wilkinson, jr., OL/LB
Other top athletes: Riley O'Bryant, jr., OL/DL
Outlook: “We have lots of returning starters on both sides of the ball, and a lot of kids played as sophomores last season,” Roskam said. “We had a great offseason, and we’ve gotten bigger and stronger with strong senior leadership.”
Notes: Cox returns as the Panther’s leading scorer with five receiving touchdowns last season. Woodland Park will introduce a new starting quarterback.
St. Mary’s Pirates
Coach: Archie Malloy, 4th season
Last year: 4-5 (1-3)
Returning starters: Peter Catalano, sr.; Anthony Depner, sr.; Evan Faber, sr.; Dominic Hughes, sr.; Landon Kane, jr.; Jacob Miller, sr.; Robbie Muehlbauer, sr.; Owen Nelson, sr.; Lucas Novak, jr.; Mason Pepper, jr.; Andrew Sorensen, sr.; David Torrence, sr.
Outlook: “We are a very veteran team,” Malloy said. “They are a tough, hard working group looking to earn everything they can this season.”
Note: The Pirates lost just five players to graduation and return six of their seven top defenders.
1A SANTA FE
Coach: Richard Deems, 12th season
Last year: 10-1 (5-0 1A Santa Fe) Earned a No. 2 seed in the state tournament.
Returning athletes: Brandon Hussey, jr., RB/LB; Jase Lantto, sr., OL/DL; Colton Murray, sr., QB/LB
Other top athletes: Zach Cobb, so., OL/DL Isaiah Deshazor, so., OL/DL; West Hart, so., RB/CB; Dresden Howeth, so., ATH; Iley Tuttle, jr., WR/FS
Outlook: “We have a young, talented group of guys that will gain experience as the season progresses,” Deems said.
Notes: Through an undefeated regular season the Panthers outscored opponents by 30 points, on average before falling in the second round of the state tournament as the No. 2 seed. The Panthers lost their top three rushers, starting quarterback and top defender to graduation.