Three teams from the Pikes Peak region will enter their state tournaments as top-four seeds, according to brackets that were released by CHSAA on Sunday.
Pine Creek (8-2) drew the No. 3 seed in 4A, where Palmer Ridge (9-1) is seeded fourth. That sets up a potential all-local 4A championship if both advance through their sides of the draw.
Pine Creek has won four 4A titles since 2013. Palmer Ridge won three straight 3A titles from 2017-19 before moving up to 4A last year and finishing as state runner-up.
The Classical Academy (8-0), which finished as runner-up in last year’s spring season, is the No. 3 seed in 2A after outscoring its competition 376-52. The Titans feature Air Force commit Cade Palmer, whose 158.3 rushing yards per game are best in the state among 11-man players who played more than five games.
TCA certainly could have had an argument to be a top two seed, given its dominance of a schedule that included non-league opponents Alamosa and Elizabeth – both of which made the 16-team field.
The disadvantage of being seeded third instead of second is the probability of playing in the semifinals as a road team, although that’s not a certainty as upsets can alter the home/road schedule.
“Really it doesn’t matter,” TCA coach Justin Rich said. “The nice thing about playoff football is you get in and you earn another game each week. … We’re blessed with the opportunity to get in.”
The 3A bracket is not yet out. Discovery Canyon, ranked 10th by CHSAA’s RPI, is the top local team. Lewis Palmer, at No. 25, is the only other Pikes Peak region team in the top 25.
The area had no teams make the playoff field in 5A.
Fountain-Fort Carson, like Pine Creek and Palmer Ridge, drew a bye in the first round as the No. 8 seed in 4A.
The other local teams that will host first-round games are No. 11 Vista Ridge (vs. No. 22 Skyline) and No. 16 Mesa Ridge (vs. No. 17 Denver South) in 4A.
Pikes Peak region teams in state football brackets
3 Pine Creek will play winner of 14 Bear Creek/19 Windsor
4 Palmer Ridge will play winner of 13 Pueblo West/20 Vista PEAK Prep
8 Fountain-Fort Carson will play winner of 9 Golden/24 Cheyenne Mountain
11 Vista Ridge vs. 22 Skyline
16 Mesa Ridge vs. 17 Denver South
24 Cheyenne Mountain vs. 9 Golden
Brackets not yet released
3 Classical Academy vs. 14 Northfield
15 Peyton vs. 2 Centauri
9 Calhan vs. 8 Akron
14 Pikes Peak Christian vs. 3 Vail Christian