Previewing the 2A football championship game: Sterling vs. Delta

(Derek Lee/CHSAANow.com)

The Class 2A football championship game is Saturday at the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl in Pueblo, matching Sterling against Delta

Here's a breakdown of the game:

(2) Sterling vs. (4) Delta

Game notes:

  • The two teams have not met this season but both registered wins over Moffat County at some point this year.
  • They have never met in the playoffs, ever, according to the Colorado Preps playoff database.
  • Sterling hasn't played in a championship game since 2004 when they lost to Rifle 7-6. That is their only state championship game appearance and the program has yet to win a state title.
  • This is Delta's third appearance in a state title game. They beat Canon City 12-7 to win the AA title in 1960. They reached the title game again in 1961, but lost to Lamar 40-14.
  • Delta is 22-26 all-time in football playoffs dating all the way back their first appearance in 1947. Sterling is 17-25 all-time in the football playoffs. The Tigers' first appearance in the playoffs was back in 1928, making them the team with the earliest entry for any school to play past the regular season this year.
  • The distance between the two schools is 400 miles. Pueblo is 246 miles from Delta and 254 miles from Sterling, making this a game where the two teams literally meet halfway.

Sterling notes:

  • Record: 11-1
  • Seed: No. 2
  • Mascot: Tigers
  • Rushing offense: 2,045 yards, and 29 touchdowns. The Tigers rank seventh in rushing yards and fifth in rushing touchdowns in 2A.
  • Passing offense: 1,842 yards, and 21 touchdowns.
  • Scoring: They are averaging 33 points per game.
  • Defense: The defense has forced 29 turnovers, including 17 interceptions. They also average 2.3 sacks per game.
  • Special teams: Peyton Rose averages 25 yards per kick return. His longest return of the year is 60 yards.
  • Top players: Brock Shalia has thrown for 1,765 yards and 19 touchdowns. He has also rushed for six touchdowns. Tucker Myers leads the team in receiving yards with 552. He has four touchdown receptions, second only to Jackson Keil's six. Jackson McCracken leads the team with 70 total tackles, including four sacks. Keaton Knaub leads the Tigers with nine sacks.

Delta notes:

  • Record: 11-1
  • Seed: No. 4
  • Mascot: Panthers
  • Rushing offense: 1,926 yards and 28 touchdowns.
  • Passing offense: 2,426 yards, and 34 touchdowns, tops in all of 2A.
  • Scoring: They are averaging 40.25 points per game.
  • Defense: The Panthers didn't allow a point in their first four game of the season. They ended the year and have given up just 9.66 per game all season. They've totaled 29 sacks and picked off 20 passes.
  • Special teams: Ku Moo is 40-of-49 on extra points, and 7-of-7 on field goals, including a long of 40 yards.
  • Top players: Nolan Bynum leads all 2A passers with 2,400 yards. His 33 touchdowns are also best in the classification. Hunter Hughes has been a reliable target for Bynum, hauling in 47 passes for 936 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also leads the team with five interceptions. Nathan Workman has also done his share of the work, catching 40 balls for 747 yards and nine touchdowns. He's picked off four opponents' passes as well. James Goff is the Panthers' leading tackler, totaling 89 which include one sack. Gauge Lockhart and Brandon Butler each lead the team with seven sacks.