There was all kinds of playoff football action around the state on Saturday. The end result is that championship matchups are set in three classifications, and semifinals in three others.
Playing for titles next weekend:
- Class 2A: Sterling vs. Delta (at CSU-Pueblo)
- Class 1A: Limon at Strasburg
- 8-man: Sedgwick County at Fowler
- Class 3A: Palmer Ridge at Green Mountain; Pueblo South at Frederick
- Class 4A: Pueblo West at Pine Creek; Broomfield at Dakota Ridge
- Class 5A: Cherry Creek at Pomona; Ralston Valley at Columbine
And the 6-man championship was handed out on Saturday: Fleming beat Stratton/Liberty with a last-second safety.
Here's how those matchups were set:
(3) Fowler 20, (7) Pikes Peak Christian 12
Fowler responded from down 12-0 in the second quarter to score 20 unanswered and head to the title game.
"It was a battle for four quarters, I'll tell you that," coach Mark Van Sickle told the Colorado Preps Scoreboard Show.
The Grizzlies were able to tie the game at 12-12 just before halftime, and went up 14-12 with a two-point conversion attempt. Then, they added another touchdown in the final minute of the third quarter.
"They do some really nice things on defense that gave us some problems, and we finally got some things going and quit having some penalties," Van Sickle said of turning things around. "The boys just kept plugging away."
Of advancing to the championship game, the coach added, "It was one of our goals. I thought we had a pretty good group. ... I think we've earned our shot at Sedgwick next week.
Hudson Grant scored two rushing touchdowns for Pikes Peak Christian.
(1) Sedgwick County 48, (5) Dayspring Christian 0
The four-time defending champs are headed back to a title game thanks to another dominating performance. The Cougars have not allowed a point in their past five games.
"I think our defense played pretty well," coach Chris Michel told the Scoreboard Show. "We gave up some big plays at time, but really strapped it on when they got on our side of the field."
Sedgwick County had four rushing touchdowns in the first half as they built at 28-0 lead. They added three more in the second half.
The Cougars are seeking to become the first 8-man team to ever win five state titles in a row.
"We haven't really talked a whole lot about that throughout the season," Michel said. "We talk about taking care of stuff day-to-day. We'll go into it like it's any other week."
Class 1A semifinals
(1) Strasburg 14, (5) Centauri 7
Trystan Graf rushed for two touchdowns — both in the second quarter — as Strasburg reached the 1A title game for the fourth year in a row.
"I tell you what, this game didn't disappoint. It was a hard-fought win," Strasburg coach Brian Brown told the Scoreboard Show.
After a scoreless first quarter, Strasburg went up 14-0 at the half. Centauri's Eric Maez hit Mason Claunch for a 24-yard score with five minutes left, but Strasburg's defense was able to seal the win.
"We are just such an aggressive group of young men," Brown said. "Toward the end of the game, they just kind of owned the line of scrimmage."
Of making a title game for the fourth-consecutive season, Brown said, "Like I tell the boys: I'm just the bus driver, they're the ones that get on the bus, and they know the path. They just keep forging ahead."
(3) Limon 15, (2) Holyoke 7
The defending-champion Badgers will return to the championship game after building a 15-0 lead and then relying on its defense to secure the win.
"It was a great football game between two really good teams," coach Mike O'Dwyer told the Scoreboard Show. "Our kids just stepped up a little bit, especially on the defensive side of the ball."
Limon went up 15-0 with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Holyoke's Miles Sprague made it 15-7 with a four-yard rushing touchdown.
Later in the fourth quarter, Holyoke recovered a fumble, and also forced Limon to turn it over on downs, but Limon's defense didn't allow another score.
"It was a tremendous effort by our kids," O'Dwyer said.
Class 2A semifinals
(4) Delta 17, (9) Basalt 6
Nolan Bynum and Hunter Hughes connected for two touchdown passes to help the Panthers move to a title game.
Delta led 10-0 at the half. Basalt made it 10-6 in the third quarter, but Delta responded with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
"It was a real physical game. They did some really nice things, we were just able to get more points on the board to advance," coach Ben Johnson told the Scoreboard Show.
"We got after their quarterback really well. I thought the D-line played really well, and we tackled really well."
It is Delta's first appearance in a title game since 1961.
"It's been a while," Johnson said. "The community's really excited about it. We had great fan support here in Basalt today. They're excited about this opportunity for Delta High School."
(2) Sterling 21, (3) Resurrection Christian 14
Sterling is headed to a championship game for the first time since 2004.
The Tigers trailed 7-0 in the first quarter before reeling off 21 unanswered points in the second and third quarters to go ahead 21-7.
"It was a lot of fun out there today. It was a great atmosphere," Sterling coach Rob Busmente told the Scoreboard Show. "It was nip-and-tuck going back and forth between us and them. We made some plays when we had to, and were fortunate to come out with the win."
Resurrection Christian scored late in the third quarter, but Sterling didn't allow them to do so again, and secured their spot in next week's title game with a late interception.
"We got them to fourth down, and Peyton Rose was able to step in front of his guy, and got it back for us," Busmente said. "It was just one of those things where we tell our kids, 'If there's time on the clock, we've got to play ball.'"
Class 3A quarterfinals
(8) Green Mountain 30, (1) Mead 21
In the upset of the day, the Rams built a 17-7 halftime lead, and then answered every rally attempt Mead made in the second half to win.
"It was a heck of a game," Green Mountain coach Jesse German told the Scoreboard Show. "It's everything we've been preaching along the way. It took us awhile to get to a point where the kids have the unwavering belief ... and total buy-in, but this is a special group."
Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Mead cut the lead to 17-14, but Green Mountain responded quickly with a rushing score on the ensuing drive. That made it 23-14.
Mead didn't go away. The top-seeded Mavericks got a passing touchdown from which made it 23-21 with seven minutes left.
But another rushing touchdown from Green Mountain with three minutes left secured the win.
(4) Palmer Ridge 56, (5) Conifer 35
In a major display of offense, Palmer Ridge went up 28-7 at half and 49-14 in the fourth quarter as the Bears returned to the semifinals.
Conifer made things interesting in the fourth and cut it to 49-35, but there wasn't enough time left to make a comeback attempt.
Raef Ruel had five rushing touchdowns for Palmer Ridge, and Luke McAllister threw two passing scores — both to Kaden Dudley.
(6) Frederick 32, (3) Discovery Canyon 25
Frederick's Jake Green found Blake Duran for a 78-yard touchdown with eight seconds left to lift the Warriors to the win.
"We could've taken it to overtime, I guess, but we didn't want to do that again," coach Travis Peeples told the Scoreboard Show. "I called timeout with 20 seconds or so left, and we drew up a little play, kind of Sandlot play. The kids wanted to do it, and it worked. It's really a tribute to how bad they wanted to win this game."
Green also scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown with three minutes left, and then Frederick converted on a two-point attempt to tie the game at 25. They forced a punt, and got the ball back with less than a minute to play. Then Green hit Duran for the winner.
Green finished with three passing touchdowns — two went to Brandon Horby — and also had a rushing score.
Now Frederick is headed to the semis for just the second time in school history.
"We're not just trying to get to the semis, we're trying to get past there," Peeples said. "I think we've got a team that can do that."
(2) Pueblo South 21, (7) Durango 14
In a close game that mirrored their narrow regular season matchup, the Colts scored a late touchdown to advance.
"It was another wild game," Pueblo South coach Ryan Goddard told the Scoreboard Show. "Two good teams going at it. I'm just proud of our kids and the way they played."
The game always within a score for one team. Durango led 7-0 with a touchdown in the first quarter, and then South tied it up immediately with a kickoff return for a touchdown. Then, Durango went up 14-7 late in the first quarter, and South tied it at 14 with 34 seconds left in the half.
The Colts got the winning score on a 3-yard run from quarterback Logan Petit with 1:11 to play.
"Credit to our defense, because all afternoon they just came up with huge stops when we needed them the most," Goddard said.
Class 4A quarterfinals
(5) Pueblo West 31, (4) Montrose 19
The Cyclones built a 17-0 halftime lead, pushed it to 24-0 in the third, and then held off Montrose as it tried to rally in the second half.
(1) Pine Creek 55, (9) Ponderosa 17
(2) Broomfield 27, (7) Chatfield 3
Broomfield built a 20-3 halftime lead, and moved on to the semifinals. A full recap of the game is here.
(6) Dakota Ridge 38 (14) Heritage 34
In a wild game Friday night, Dakota Ridge scored in the final minute to secure the win. A photo gallery of the game is available here.
Class 5A quarterfinals
(5) Pomona 28, (4) Regis Jesuit 14
Sanjay Strickland rushed for two touchdowns in the win for the Panthers as the returned to a familiar spot: The 5A semifinals.
Pomona built a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and led 28-7 at halftime.
AJ Zamora also had a rushing touchdown, and Brady Ritzmann found Chase Muller for a 51-yard touchdown pass.
Nicco Marchiol threw two touchdown passes in the loss for Regis.
(1) Cherry Creek 42, (8) Fairview 28
(2) Ralston Valley 42, (10) Eaglecrest 14
(6) Columbine 37, (3) Valor Christian 30
Tanner Hollens and Adam Harrington each rushed for three TDs for the Rebels in the win on Friday. Here's a recap of the game.