Defending champs top 5 of 7 preseason football rankings

Valor Christian Cherry Creek football

Dylan McCaffrey (12) and Valor Christian open 2015 as the No. 1 team in Class 5A. (Kai Casey/CHSAANow.com)

Defending champions rule the preseason football rankings, save for two classifications.

Pine Creek (Class 4A), Pueblo East (3A), Brush (2A), Paonia (1A) and Caliche (8-man) all won championships last season — and each one sat atop their respective classfication when the preseason CHSAANow.com Football Polls were released on Monday.

Only Valor Christian (5A) and Fleming (6-man) are preseason No. 1 teams without being a defending champion. Valor was the runner-up in 5A last season, while Fleming was a semifinalists in 6-man.

The 5A voters were pretty determined that the top three teams this season would be Valor, Cherry Creek and Pomona. Each team received at least one first-place vote, and the trio separated themselves from the rest of the field by more than 50 points each.

Valor got nine of the 15 first-place votes and totaled 140 points. Cherry Creek, last season's 5A champion, is No. 2 with four first-place votes and 134 total points. Pomona got one first-place vote and is No. 3 at 123 total points.

At No. 4 is Regis Jesuit and new coach Dan Filleman. Perennial contender Columbine rounds out the top five.

Fairview, led by senior star Carlo Kemp, checks in at No. 6; returning semifinalist Grandview is No. 7; and Fountain-Fort Carson is No. 8.

Ralston Valley, another semifinalist, opens at No. 9, and Doherty rounds out the ranking at No. 10.

The 4A ranking featured the lone unanimous top-ranked team in Pine Creek. The two-time defending champion Eagles, who feature Nebraska commit JoJo Domann, got all 12 first-place votes and totaled 120 points.

Longmont, the 4A runner-up, is No. 2; Dakota Ridge is third; and Falcon (No. 4) and Denver South (No. 5) round out the top five.

CHSAA 3A State Football Championship

Pueblo East is No. 1 in 3A's preseason poll. (Mark Adams)

In 3A, defending champion Pueblo East returns a stacked roster, but will have a new coach in interim head Lee Meisner. Even still, the Eagles got 13 of the 14 first-place votes in 3A, and lead the ranking.

Fort Morgan got the other first-place vote and is No. 2 to begin the year. Evergreen is third, Holy Family is fourth and Palisade is No. 5.

Brush, another team looking to defend its title, led the 2A poll with seven of the 10 first-place votes. The Beetdiggers, too, have a new coach: Reid Kahl. Kent Denver, last year's runner-up, opens at No. 2.

In the 1A ranking, Paonia, the defending champion, received eight of the 12 first-place votes. Buena Vista is No. 2.

The 8-man poll was interesting. Defending champion Caliche leads the way at No. 1 in the preseason, but four different teams received first-place votes — including Dayspring Christian at No. 3, which got three top votes. Caliche and No. 2 Norwood each got two first-place votes, and Granada got one.

Fleming got four first-place votes to lead the 6-man ranking, while No. 2 Eads and No. 3 Arickaree/Woodlin each received one. Arickaree/Woodlin won last season's title.

The rankings, voted upon by coaches and select media members, are the official polls of the Association. Polls are released each Monday.

Complete rankings are below.

CHSAANow.com Football Polls

Voted upon by coaches and select media members around the state. These rankings have no bearing on postseason seeding.

Go to: 5A | 4A | 3A | 2A | 1A

Class 5A
RK TEAM W-L PTS
1 Valor Christian (9) 0-0 140
2 Cherry Creek (4) 0-0 134
3 Pomona (1) 0-0 123
4 Regis Jesuit 0-0 67
5 Columbine 0-0 62
6 Fairview 0-0 58
7 Grandview 0-0 49
8 Fountain-Fort Carson 0-0 37
9 Ralston Valley 0-0 29
10 Doherty (1) 0-0 24
Others receiving votes:
Eaglecrest 15, Heritage 14, Cherokee Trail 13, Mullen 13, Legacy 12, Rocky Mountain 10, Mountain Vista 7, Overland 7, ThunderRidge 5, Arapahoe 3, Bear Creek 3, Highlands Ranch 3, Horizon 1.

Class 4A
RK TEAM W-L PTS
1 Pine Creek (12) 0-0 120
2 Longmont 0-0 81
3 Dakota Ridge 0-0 78
4 Falcon 0-0 72
5 Denver South 0-0 64
6 Broomfield 0-0 58
7 Windsor 0-0 48
8 Fort Collins 0-0 38
9 Pueblo South 0-0 26
10 Vista Ridge 0-0 21
Others receiving votes:
Greeley West 19, Montrose 15, Ponderosa 5, Pueblo West 4, Rampart 4, Wheat Ridge 4, Standley Lake 3.

Class 3A
RK TEAM W-L PTS
1 Pueblo East (13) 0-0 130
2 Fort Morgan (1) 0-0 94
3 Evergreen 0-0 74
4 Holy Family 0-0 73
5 Palisade 0-0 65
6 Roosevelt 0-0 61
7 Discovery Canyon 0-0 47
8 Rifle 0-0 43
9 Delta 0-0 39
10 Lutheran 0-0 26
Others receiving votes:
Berthoud 20, Canon City 18, D'Evelyn 18, The Classical Academy 15, Conifer 9, Pueblo Central 8, Pueblo County 8, Erie 7, Lewis-Palmer 6, Glenwood Springs 5, Niwot 2, Mead 1, Thomas Jefferson 1.

Class 2A
RK TEAM W-L PTS
1 Brush (7) 0-0 92
2 Kent Denver (2) 0-0 89
3 Strasburg 0-0 63
4 Faith Christian 0-0 59
5 Platte Valley 0-0 54
6 Eaton 0-0 44
7 Gunnison 0-0 42
8 Bayfield (1) 0-0 32
9 Florence 0-0 27
10 Lamar 0-0 18
Others receiving votes:
La Junta 13, Bennett 4, Moffat County 4, Trinidad 4, Sterling 2, Valley 2, Alamosa 1.

Class 1A
RK TEAM W-L PTS
1 Paonia (8) 0-0 125
2 Buena Vista (4) 0-0 120
3 Meeker 0-0 81
4 Resurrection Christian (1) 0-0 78
5 Platte Canyon 0-0 60
6 Rye 0-0 56
7 Monte Vista 0-0 36
8 Cedaredge 0-0 30
9 Wiggins 0-0 29
10 Burlington 0-0 28
Others receiving votes:
Crowley County 17, Limon 17, Colorado Springs Christian 11, Centauri 9, Ellicott 6, Center 4, Hotchkiss 4, Wray 4, Denver Christian 1.

8-man
RK TEAM W-L PTS
1 Caliche (2) 0-0 60
2 Norwood (2) 0-0 59
3 Dayspring Christian (3) 0-0 54
4 Granada (1) 0-0 52
5 Hoehne 0-0 50
6 Akron 0-0 38
7 Sedgwick County 0-0 35
8 Springfield 0-0 23
9 Simla 0-0 15
10 Sargent 0-0 13
Others receiving votes:
Vail Christian 10, Sangre de Cristo 8, Wiley 7, Merino 6, Haxtun 4, Holly 4, Fowler 2.

6-man
RK TEAM W-L PTS
1 Fleming (4) 0-0 56
2 Eads (1) 0-0 54
3 Arickaree/Woodlin (1) 0-0 48
4 Kit Carson 0-0 35
5 Peetz 0-0 33
6 Hanover 0-0 25
7 Pawnee 0-0 22
8 North Park 0-0 17
9 Walsh 0-0 13
10 Otis 0-0 7
Others receiving votes:
Aguilar 6, Manzanola 4, Flagler 3, Idalia 3, Cheraw 2, Cheyenne Wells 1, Mountain Valley 1.