Week 8: Football games to watch (and statistical leaders)

Vista Ridge quarterback Thomas Newman (left) has thrown 12 touchdowns with just three interceptions in an offense that doesn't often go to the air. Newman's counterpart on Friday, Woodland Park quarterback Jacob Censner, has thrown 18 touchdowns against four interceptions. Photo by THE GAZETTE FILE PHOTOS

All you need to know to prepare for the Pikes Peak region's biggest games of Week 8:

 

Vista Ridge (6-1) at Woodland Park (4-3)7 p.m. Friday at Woodland Park

The basics: Woodland Park is rolling, having won four of five under first-year coach Joe Roskam. Vista Ridge has been hot since its varsity inception last year, losing just three games in that span and one against a foe from Colorado. One of those losses came last week, 32-20 at Borger, Texas.

Key for Vista Ridge: The Wolves have completely overwhelmed opponents with defense. They’ve posted four shutouts, held another team to three points and, after an uncharacteristic letdown in the first half against Pueblo Central, stormed back to score the game’s final 43 points in a 50-28 victory. The Wolves have 20 sacks and forced 14 turnovers. They’d like to outmatch Woodland Park with their pass rush and disrupt the rhythm that the Panthers have established in recent weeks.

Key for Woodland Park: Buying time for Jacob Censner is essential. Censner, a junior, has thrown 10 touchdowns with no interceptions over the past three weeks as he’s emerged as one of the area’s top quarterbacks. But he can’t find anyone if he’s on his back. “If we get time to throw, we can find some holes in some places,” Roskam said. “But they do a really good job of getting after you.” Censner’s primary target has been all-around athlete Louie Neil, who is being recruited by several Division II schools as a punter and safety. Neal has 32 catches for 591 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Quotable: “The fun part up here is that we know the kids who are in first grade right now who will play for us. I understand who my third- and fourth-graders are going to be and the sixth-graders on up.”- Roskam, in his first year since leaving Sierra, on building a program in the community he has long called home.

 

Pine Creek (7-0) at Air Academy (3-4)6 p.m. Friday at the K-Dome

The basics: Air Academy is coming off a two-year stretch in which it went 1-19 and was outscored by Pine Creek 107-21, so no one is suggesting the Kadets have closed the gap so much to legitimately threaten the Eagles. Still, there’s some intrigue to see how Air Academy’s explosive offense might fare against one of the state’s best defenses. In their past four games, the Kadets have averaged 32.5 points and have won twice. Quarterback Kevin Kimbrow has thrown for 1,194 yards and run for 868 in a breakout season. Pine Creek’s Achilles’ heel in past playoff losses has been the inability to slow an impressive offense once it gets rolling (41-16 to Valor Christian last year; 42-41 to Longmont in 2009; 49-6 to Greeley West in 2008). No one is placing Air Academy in the same echelon as those teams, but a test against a potent offense is never a bad thing. Pine Creek’s defense has been incredible, giving up 6.43 points per game. The Eagles have allowed seven first-half points in seven games (a second-quarter touchdown to Rampart).

 

Mesa Ridge (5-2) vs. Pueblo West (2-5)7 p.m. Friday at C.A. Foster Stadium (Widefield)

The basics: With upcoming road games at Cheyenne Mountain and Air Academy, Mesa Ridge’s postseason hopes can’t afford a slip-up in a game it ought to win. Pueblo West is no pushover, as it took Cheyenne Mountain to the wire in a 41-36 loss last week and was the only team to reach double digits against Pine Creek. The Cyclones have struggled defensively in recent weeks (giving up at last 40 points in three straight losses), and that’s bad news with Devante Johnson lurking. The Mesa Ridge senior running back has rushed for 1,459 yards (best in the state in 4A or 5A), 15 touchdowns and is averaging 9.41 yards per carry. Pueblo West has a big play back in Derek Johnson, who has 1,018 yuards and eight touchdowns.

 

Florence (6-1) at CSCS (2-5)7 p.m. Friday at UCCS Mountain Lion Stadium

The basics: CSCS needs a win in the worst way. The Lions have lost five straight games and haven’t scored more than a touchdown in any of them. Still, this is a solid program and last week’s 7-0 loss to La Junta (5-2) showed CSCS isn’t failing to be competitive with some of the league’s better teams. Twin brothers Dan and Jim Kenney continue to provide the majority of offense for the Lions. Dan has passed for 418 yards and five touchdowns and run for 352 and five more scores. Jim has 469 rushing yards with two scores and 291 receiving yards, catching all five of Dan’s touchdown passes. Florence’s early season surge has lost a bit of its luster as Elizabeth, Alamosa and Olathe have combined to go 10-11, but the Huskies are the only team to beat Kent Denver and there’s no doubt that they’re among the top teams in 2A.

 

Rampart (3-4) at Cheyenne Mountain (7-0)7 p.m. Friday at Cheyenne Mountain

The basics: Unbeaten Cheyenne Mountain has lived dangerously for the past two weeks, beating Pueblo South and Pueblo West by a combined 12 points. The Indians’ victories are against teams with a combined 12-37 record, so it’s difficult to assess how good they’ve been. Rampart should provide a test leading into a closing pair of games against Mesa Ridge and Widefield. One player who has been unquestionably good is Cheyenne Mountain quarterback Bret Helton, who has 1,486 passing yards with 18 touchdowns with just three interceptions. Eight of those scores have gone to tight end Donivan Harville, who has 30 catches for 630 yards. Rampart, which has played a strong schedule, (among the teams to defeat the Rams were Pine Creek, Valor Christian and Fountain-Fort Carson), also has a potent quarterback-to-receiver combo with Jacob Lyons (690 passing yards, six touchdowns) and Ryan Cook (26 catches, 478 yards, six touchdowns). Expect a tightly contested game.

 

AREA FOOTBALL LEADERS

 

Passing

Name                                            G      C        A      Pct.    Yds    TD    INT

Bret Helton, sr., Cheyenne Mtn.     7     88    149    .591    1486    18    3

Jacob Censner, jr. Woodland Park   7    114    181    .630    1420    18    4

Tyler Carr, sr., Liberty                  7    106    193    .549    1331    14    7

Logan Floyd, sr., TCA                   7    101    193    .523    1201    6    7

Kevin Kimbrow, jr., Air Academy     7     92    142    .648    1194    10    6

Jack Norris, sr., Calhan                 5     71    135    .526    1103    9    9

Nate Conner, jr., Lewis-Palmer       7     77    130    .592    1053   8    7

Thomas Newman, sr., Vista Ridge   7     37     74    .500     956   12    3

Richie Perea, jr., Wasson              7     65    127    .512     936   13    8

Colt Palmer, sr., Canon City           7     48     89    .539     726    8    1     

 

Rushing

Name                                                     G      Att.       Yds.      TD

Devante Johnson, sr., Mesa Ridge          7      155      1459      15

Trae Bankston, jr., Fountain-Fort Carson 7      131      884      13

Kevin Kimbrow, jr., Air Academy             7      123      868      13

Cole Ellis, sr., Peyton                           7      153      861      7

Micheal DeCarmo, soph., Sand Creek      5      119      762      7

Josh Beacham, sr., Pine Creek               7      83      848      11

Marquis Coddington, jr., Widefield           7      145      844      10

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R.J. Stainbrook, jr., Canon City              7      108      734      7

Hunter Gunnison, sr., Woodland Park      7      118      725      8

Tyler Carr, sr., Liberty                          7      132      699      8

Keenan Britton, jr., Falcon                     7      107      620      6

 

Receiving

Name                                          G      Rec.      Yds      TD

Donivan Harville, jr., Cheyenne Mtn.   7      30      630      8

Louie Neil, sr., Woodland Park           7      32      591      12

D.J. Hanes, jr., Wasson                    6      28      572      7

Dylan Flynn, jr., Liberty                    7      43      497      5

Ryan Cook, sr., Rampart                   7      26      478      6

Brandon Teetor, sr., Calhan               7      33      461      2

Mason Woish, sr., Lewis-Palmer         7      31      455      3

Chad Doxey, fr., Pikes Peak Christian  7      17      383      10

Matt Schwindt, sr., Canon City            7      25      378      2

D’Nato Santos, jr., Manitou Springs      6      24      357      3

 

Tackles

Kevin Davis, sr., Fountain-Fort Carson  109

Winn Howard, jr., Palmer Ridge          90

Louie Neil, sr., Woodland Park           90

Mitch Malin, sr., Palmer Ridge           88

Garrett Adams, sr., Discovery Canyon  85

Quintin Riley, sr., Vista Ridge             84

 

Sacks

Jordan Richardson, sr., Mesa Ridge     8.0

Brandon Clang, sr., Vista Ridge          7.5

Braxton Brown, sr., Harrison              7.0

Joachim Rosemond, sr., Harrison         5.5

Kevin Davis, sr., Fountain-Fort Carson 5.0

Morgan Fox, sr., Fountain-Fort Carson 5.0

Darius Graves, soph., Harrison            5.0

Brayden Stewart, jr., Vista Ridge         5.0

Brandon Tribble, sr. Pine Creek           5.0

 

Interceptions

Nate Germano, sr., St. Mary’s      8

Josh Johnson, sr., Vista Ridge      5

Chris Cutcher, jr., Mesa Ridge      4

Max Schwindt, sr., Canon City      4

Several tied with three

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