No. 20 Doherty Spartans
Game data: No. 20 Doherty (3-7) vs. No. 13 Highlands Ranch (4-6) … 7 p.m. Friday at Shea Stadium. The winner will face No. 4 Regis Jesuit in the second round.
Scouting the Spartans: After starting the season 0-5 the Spartans wrapped up the regular season on a two-game winning streak, defeating No. 12 Legend and rival No. 24 Fountain-Fort Carson in close battles. After a late-season injury sidelined quarterback Brody Gish, senior Logan Siffert stepped into the full-time starting role under center. He has 727 passing yards and a .622 completion percentage and is ranked second in the team in rushing with 261 yards. Daymond Hill leads the Spartans on the ground with 842 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. Senior Brandon Becker is the team’s top receiving target, but also leads in rushing touchdowns with 13. Becker uses a 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame to punch in short touchdown runs and pull down 47 catches for 555 yards. Kade Unberhagen is second on the team in receiving with 333 yards, followed by Hill with 311. Siffert also leads the defense with 57 tackles.
Scouting the Falcons: Highlands Ranch also started the season 0-5 before winning four straight leading up to Week 9. The Falcons closed the regular season with a loss to No. 3 Valor Christian. Junior Jake Rubley has thrown for 1,440 yards and 14 touchdowns for Highlands Ranch, with his top target, Konor Lathrop, pulling down 28 receptions for 409 yards and four touchdowns. Rubley has four other receivers with 100 or more yards. The Falcon ground game is led by Dylan Gurule with 734 yards and seven touchdowns. Kole Lundquist is second on the team in rushing with 454 yards and four scores. On the other side of the ball senior Grant Stewartson and Lundquist are ranked fourth and fifth in 5A, respectively, with more than 100 tackles. Stewartson enters the postseason with 105 tackles and Lundquist has 104.
No. 24 Fountain-Fort Carson Trojans
Game data: No. 24 Fountain-Fort Carson (3-7) vs. No. 9 Cherokee Trail (7-3) … 7:30 p.m. Friday at Legacy Stadium. The winner will play No. 8 Fairview in the second round.
Scouting the Trojans: Fountain-Fort Carson thought its postseason hopes were over after a rivalry loss to Doherty in the final game of the regular season, but the Trojans snuck into the final qualifying spot. F-FC is led by a quarterback tandem with differing styles. Freshman Tavian Tuli is surprisingly poised in the pocket and has thrown for 542 yards in five appearances. Junior Wyatt Price has thrown for 227 yards but also uses his legs, coming in third on the team in rushing yards with 132. The Trojans are led by Dezmen Oliver on the ground with 936 yards and 10 touchdowns. At 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, senior Noah Gerber is the team’s top receiving threat.
Scouting the Cougars: Cherokee Trail is fresh off a four-point win over No. 10 Eaglecrest in which the team scored all 36 points in the second half. The Cougars average 23 points per game but the team does not have individual statistics updated on MaxPreps.
No. 8 The Classical Academy Titans
Game data: No. 9 Basalt (7-2) vs. No. 8 TCA (6-3) … Saturday at 3 p.m. at TCA Stadium. The winner will move on to face either No. 1 Rifle or No. 16 Englewood in the 3A quarterfinals.
Scouting the Longhorns: Basalt closed the regular season over rival Aspen in a 17-14 victory, ending a two-game losing skid which included a 21-9 loss to No. 1 Rifle. Junior quarterback Matty Gillis averages 115.4 passing yards per game and has thrown eight touchdowns and just one interception. All eight of his passes into the end zone have been to senior Jackson Rappaport, who leads the team with 687 receiving yards. Sophomore Cole Dombrowski is the Longhorns’ top rusher with 591 yards rushing and six touchdowns, while fellow sophomore Gavin Webb has run for eight scores and 303 yards. The Basalt defense has 22 sacks led by seniors Lander Mcnamee with six and Ernesto Lopez with 5.5. Mcnamee leads the team with 21 tackles for a loss (54 total) followed by Lopez with 16 (37 total tackles) and Jose Castorena with 12 (44 total tackles).
Scouting the Titans: TCA is fresh off a regular season-ending loss to Woodland Park, which forced the Titans to settle for a share of the 3A Tri-Peaks crown. TCA was on a four-game winning streak prior to Week 9, defeating No. 7 Lamar, No. 14 La Junta and No. 12 Elizabeth. Quarterback Sam Guilez recovered from injury to start the last four games of the regular season, throwing for 96.5 yards per game with three touchdowns. For the season the Titans average 60 passing yards with the rushing game, led by sophomore Cade Palmer, leading TCA into the postseason. Palmer has 1,238 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 137 yards per game. He is followed by four other rushers with 110 or more yards on the season, including senior Hayden Cooper who played quarterback the first six games of the year. Cooper has four touchdowns and 193 yards. Cade’s brother, Cole Palmer, leads the defense with 104 tackles including 15.5 for a loss and six sacks.
No. 12 Elizabeth Cardinals
Game data: No. 12 Elizabeth (6-3) at No. 5 Faith Christian (8-1) … 2 p.m. Saturday at Faith Christian. The winner will face either No. 4 Delta or No. 13 Pagosa Springs in the quarterfinals.
Scouting the Cardinals: Elizabeth finished the regular season 1-2 in its final three games with the losses coming from the hands of No. 7 Lamar (35-0) and No. 8 TCA (10-9) and Saturday will be the Cardinals’ biggest test of the year. Elizabeth, which only has stats for the first seven games, is led by dual-threat quarterback Vince Weber who has 705 passing yards and leads the team with 335 rushing and four touchdowns. Weber has thrown nearly double the number of interceptions as touchdowns, however with 12 interceptions and seven touchdowns. Koby Ullery is second on the team in rushing with 212 yards and four touchdowns, while James Lawrence has five rushing touchdowns.
Scouting the Eagles: A 27-19 loss to No. 3 Resurrection Christian in the season opener was the last time Faith Christian felt the sting of defeat. In the last eight games of the season the Eagles outscored opponents 273-69. Of Faith Christian’s 308.8 total yards per game, 288.2 are rushing on average. Senior Erick Grandados has 1,164 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns, followed by Edoardo Castaneda with 769 yards and eight touchdowns. Quarterback Isaiah Kroll has thrown for just 185 yards and a touchdown with six interceptions. He also has 239 yards rushing. Senior Quincy Hansen leads the defense with 36 total tackles including eight sacks and 13 tackles for a loss.
No. 7 Colorado Springs Christian Lions
Game data: No. 10 Yuma (6-3) at No. 7 Colorado Springs Christian (7-2) … 1 p.m. Saturday at Mountain Lion Stadium. The winner will take on either No. 2 Holyoke or No. 15 Rocky Ford in the state quarterfinals.
Scouting the Indians: Yuma enters the postseason on a three-game winning streak, outscoring opponents 77-19. The Indians average just 39 passing yards per game with senior Cayden Lynch and junior Clay Robinson being responsible for most of the team’s average yards. Lynch has 870 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns while Robinson has 404 yards and three scores. Senior quarterback Chase McCreath is second on the team in scoring with five rushing touchdowns. McCreath has thrown for 374 yards and four touchdowns and also has three interceptions.
Scouting the Lions: CSCS had won seven straight before a three-point loss to Florence in the final game of the regular season. Prior to the defeat the Lions outscored opponents 316-41, scoring no fewer than 32 points in a game during the streak. Senior Peyton Brones leads the Lions with 1,106 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, followed by Joe Dunn with 706 yards on the ground and eight scores. Quarterback Caleb Stockton has thrown for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns with just two interceptions and is also third on the team in rushing with 317 yards and six scores. Dunn is his top target with 248 yards receiving and five touchdown catches. Junior Elijah Burkett leads CSCS in tackles with 85 and six sacks, followed by Brones and Dunn with 63 and 49 tackles, respectively. Rain Chavez has 16 tackles for a loss and Severin Grundvig has five sacks.
No. 7 Pikes Peak Christian Eagles
Game data: No. 10 Sargent (6-3) vs. No. 7 Pikes Peak Christian (8-1) … 1 p.m. Saturday at Pikes Peak Christian. The winner will face either No. 2 Stanford or No. 15 Holly in the state quarterfinals.
Scouting the Farmers: Sargent is fresh off demoralizing 51-0 loss to No. 2 Stanford, which broke a five-game winning streak that included a forfeit win over Norwood. The Farmers have 2,235 rushing yards on the season led by juniors Kage Pepper with 716 and Blake Behil with 644. Pepper has 13 touchdowns while Behil has run in seven. Pepper is also the team’s quarterback and has passed for 639 yards and nine touchdowns.
Scouting the Eagles: Pikes Peak Christian soars into the postseason on an eight-game winning streak, branching from a 10-2 season last year in which the Eagles were knocked out in the state semifinals. Senior Nathan Seay surpassed 1,000 rushing yards in the regular season, averaging 150 yards per game and has 14 touchdowns. Hudson Grant has rushed for 481 yards and eight scores. Grant is also the team’s leading receiver with 223 yards and seven touchdown catches, thrown by senior Jackson Throne. Thorne averages 46.7 passing yards per game and has thrown for 10 touchdowns.