High-SchoolColorado: Preps Pick'em

Colorado Preps Pick'em: Championship Edition

December, 2, 2011
12/02/11
11:29
AM ET
Each week we'll take some intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

It's title time. Let's get to it.

(Ranks based on this week's state rankings)

No. 2 Columbine (13-0) vs. Lakewood (12-1)

We've liked Columbine all season, but get this — Lakewood is unbeaten in Colorado. The team's only loss came at East River (Orlando, Fla.) in a 27-10 loss to start the season. The Tigers have very quietly been perfect in the state, posting five shutouts and simply outscoring anyone who got in their way. But it'll be interesting to see how the team fares against the McDondle brothers (senior Cameron McDondle and sophomore Bernard McDondle) — the duo has combined for more than 3,000 yards and 40 scores on the ground. PREDICTION: Columbine 31, Lakewood 20

No. 1 Valor Christian (13-0) vs. No. 6 Pine Creek (13-0)

It's tough to argue that Valor hasn't been the state's best team all season long. Despite playing in 4A, the team has beaten every 5A comer and run roughshod over opponents in its own classification. In the playoffs, the Eagles have allowed just one touchdown and scored 152 points in three games. Can Pine Creek slow the them down? It's a team that has rushed for more than 3,400 yards this season, and you can bet Valor will get a steady dose on the ground again tonight. PREDICTION: Valor Christian 41, Pine Creek 17

Silver Creek (12-1) vs. Windsor (12-1)

When we talked to Silver Creek senior QB Austin Apodaca earlier this week, he told us his team wasn't nervous; in fact, they were calm and confident. We think that might change a little on game day. After all, this is Silver Creek's first appearance in a state title game. There's sure to be some nerves. And although weather is expected to play a role in Silver Creek's passing game, not much has slowed down the Washington State recruit this season. That said, Windsor is a tough, physical team that pounds the ball all game long and wears opponents down, and the defense is as good as Silver Creek has faced all year long. But remember: Silver Creek won at Windsor earlier this year, 41-21. Expect a similar result. PREDICTION: Silver Creek 34, Windsor 20

Bayfield (12-0) vs. Florence (12-1)

It shouldn't be too surprising that neither of these teams throws the ball much. It's going to be a long day of running the football, controlling the clock and wearing down the opposing defense. The more physically fit (and maybe healthy) team will win this game. Bayfield has two 1,000-yard rushers (seniors Aaron Velasquez and Colt Walker) who each have 21 touchdowns rushing. Florence, meanwhile, has a pair of 1,000-yard rushers as well — senior Cody Nichols and sophomore Johnnie Krien. PREDICTION: Bayfield 14, Florence 12

Previous Record: 22-21

Colorado Preps Pick'em: Playoffs Week 4

November, 23, 2011
11/23/11
1:51
PM ET
No time for chit-chat; there's turkey to be had. So let's get to it.

Class 5A

Grandview 20, Columbine 17

Pomona 31, Lakewood 21

Class 4A

Valor Christian 44, Castle View 21

Monarch 22, Pine Creek 16

Class 3A

Windsor 24, Frederick 14

Silver Creek 28, Palisade 10

Class 2A

Brush 27, Bayfield 20

Kent Denver 31, Florence 17

Class 1A

Burlington 17, Wiggins 10

Previous Record: 18-16

Colorado Preps Pick'em: Playoffs Week 3

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
3:59
PM ET
Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

After a brief hiatus, we're back and ready to pick the state's best games. Let's get to it.

(Ranks based on this week's state rankings)

Ralston Valley (10-1) vs. No. 5 Grandview (10-1)

Grandview jumped on everyone's radar this season after the Wolves ended Mullen's 35- game winning streak. Now the question is whether the team can follow it up with a deep playoff run. So far, so good. But a tough Ralston Valley squad awaits. The Mustangs have a multitude of rushing options, and they get after the quarterback as well as anyone in the league (25.5 sacks so far this season). If Grandview can pick up the quarterback pressure, they can and should win. But that's easier said than done. PREDICTION: Grandview 21, Ralston Valley 17

Mullen (9-2) vs. Pomona (10-1)

Remember when we told you that Mullen's Addie Brown was going to have a big season as the replacement for current Syracuse freshman Adonis Ameen-Moore? Well Brown has been on a tear lately, scoring eight times in three games. He'll need to be big in this one. Mullen is still one of the state's top teams, but the Mustangs are not the dominant team we're used to seeing in Colorado. Pomona is a team on the way up, and it'll be tough to slow down senior QB Alec Feland. Class 5A is as up for grabs as it's ever been. And so is this game. PREDICTION: Mullen 17, Pomona 14

Longmont (11-0) vs. Castle View (10-1)

If we had an MVP of Class 4A, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone more deserving than Longmont junior Forrest Wetterstrom. He's thrown for more than 1,500 yards and has 25 touchdowns on the season, throwing just four INTs, and he's one of the big reasons why the Trojans have one of the best offenses in the state. But Castle View counters with a pretty strong offense of its own. Its only loss was a drubbing at the hands of Valor Christian (join the club) and the defense, led by senior LB Jamie Lambert, is underrated. PREDICTION: Longmont 27, Castle View 20

Previous Record: 17-14

Colorado Preps Pick'em: Playoffs Week 1

November, 3, 2011
11/03/11
1:58
PM ET
Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

(Ranks based on this week's state rankings)

Chaparral (6-3) vs. Westminster (6-3)

Think the Wolverines were motivated following a frustrating 10-9 loss to ThunderRidge? Chaparral beat its next three opponents by a 117-0 margin and have now posted five shutouts this season. The defense has been stellar; it's the offense that needs to stay consistent. Senior Chris Page has more than 1,000 rushing yards and 10 scores, but he'll need to have a big game against Westminster. Junior Patrick Wilson, a tough, hard-nosed runner, has 1,310 yards and 16 scores this year. PREDICTION: Westminster 24, Chaparral 20

Fairview (5-4) vs. Regis Jesuit (5-4)

OK, so we've documented the puzzling struggles of Regis this season. After opening the year at No. 3 in our ranks, Regis struggled to stay above .500 all season long. But the playoffs are where you make your mark, and the record no longer matters; win and you advance. Once QB Eystin Salum went down with an injury, the Raiders struggled with a shift in offensive philsophy, but senior RB Jordan Jungers has been very effective at RB. Fairview, meanwhile, is a sturdy 5-1 at home but 0-3 on the road, which could be problematic. Senior QB Michael McVenes is effective when he needs to throw, but the Knights are a grinding, clock management team that doesn't score much and relies on defense. That won't fly against Regis. PREDICTION: Regis 28, Fairview 17

Cherokee Trail (6-3) vs. Fountain-Fort Carson (7-2)

Cherokee Trail is probably better than its 6-3 record implies, but a tough schedule coupled with some injury problems, particularly to star Thomas Singleton, led to a few tough losses. Things won't get easier from here. Fountain-Fort Carson is a good team that lost twice back-to-back in the middle of the season but has since reeled off four straight victories. Senior Kevin Davis has been stellar defensively, and he'll need to be in order to slow down Singleton and pressure the star QB into making bad decisions. PREDICTION: Cherokee Trail 24, Fountain-Fort Carson 21

Previous Record: 17-11

Colorado Preps Pick'em: Week 9

October, 27, 2011
10/27/11
2:36
PM ET
Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

(Ranks based on this week's state rankings)

No. 2 Mullen (7-1) vs. No. 6 Columbine (8-0)

Columbine has just run roughshod over opponents this season, outscoring opponents 329-89. They even beat up on a very tough Bear Creek team last week. But Mullen is not just any opponent. After suffering an early 12-7 loss to Grandview, the Mustangs have gone back to their dominant ways, showing why they're the three-time state champs. This could be the best game of the year. Why not? Let's pick the upset. PREDICTION: Columbine 27, Mullen 20

Highlands Ranch (6-2) vs. Regis (5-3)

It's been a pretty frustrating season for Regis, by its standards anyway. The team that played in the 5A finals last fall is now 5-3 and in need of a big win to stay relevant and build momentum for a late postseason push. But the Raiders' record is deceptive; they lost by four to the state's top team (Valor Christian) and by seven to top teams Pomona and ThunderRidge. A win against Highlands Ranch would be huge. But don't count out the Falcons, led by senior RB Joe Hansley. This one will be very tight. PREDICTION: Regis 17, Highlands Ranch 14

Holy Family (7-1) vs. D'Evelyn (6-2)

Defense has been the story for Holy Family this season, leading the team to an impressive 7-1 mark. Seniors Sam Quinn and Kyle Spengler have led the way for the Tigers, and they'll need to against a D'Evelyn team with an offense as good as they come in Class 3A. Senior Caleb Flack is back after missing some games with a concussion. And although the Jaguars got great production out of junior Cody Marvel while Flack was out, it's nice to have the experienced signal-caller back in there and ready for action. PREDICTION: D'Evelyn 27, Holy Family 20

Previous Record: 15-10

Colorado Preps Pick'em: Week 8

October, 20, 2011
10/20/11
2:57
PM ET
Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

(Ranks based on this week's state rankings)

Bear Creek (5-2) vs. No. 7 Columbine (7-0)

Columbine has been one of the state's most impressive teams this year. The Rebels aren't just beating opponents, they're beating them handily — outscoring opponents 291-69. But only one of their opponents this season has a winning record. So Bear Creek — a team that has faced as tough a slate as anyone in the state this year — should be a great test. Of Bear Creek's two losses, both came against teams currently ranked in the top five. This one will be close. PREDICTION: Bear Creek 30, Columbine 27

Pomona (6-1) vs. No. 6 Ralston Valley (7-0)

When your only loss is to the top-ranked team in the state, you've had a pretty successful year. But for Pomona to prove it truly belongs in a class with the state's elite, it'll need to beat a ranked team. The team has a balanced offensive attack, led by junior quarterback Alec Feland (1,235 passing yards, nine TDs) but it will be the defense that needs to step up to slow down Ralston Valley. The Mustangs' offense has scored 35 or more four times in their last five games. PREDICTION: Ralston Valley 31, Pomona 24

No. 4 Longmont (8-0) vs. Broomfield (6-1)

The Trojans are still undefeated, but it took a one-point squeaker over Greeley West last week to stay perfect. It'll take an even better effort this weekend against Broomfield if the Trojans want to stay that way. A loss to Monarch is the only blemish on a strong season for the Eagles, who scored 49 points against Thompson Valley last weekend. If the offense is on track again, this could be a really interesting matchup. But expect Longmont to right the ship this week. PREDICTION: Longmont 26, Broomfield 17

Previous Record: 14-8

Colorado Preps Pick'em: Week 7

October, 13, 2011
10/13/11
2:18
PM ET
Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

(Ranks based on this week's state rankings)

NOTE: We were so excited about the Grandview-Cherokee Trail matchup last week, we totally jumped the gun and picked it a week early. You can see who we picked here.

Highlands Ranch (5-1) vs. ThunderRidge (5-1)

Since a season-opening loss to Grand Junction, Highlands Ranch has been perfect. Senior QB Steve Donatell has been one of the state's best signal-callers. And the team outscored opponents by nearly 100 points since the Week 1 loss. But ThunderRidge isn't to be taken lightly. Its only loss was a one-point squeaker against No. 6 Ralston Valley, and the team has combined for nearly 1,500 rushing yards to this point in the season. PREDICTION: ThunderRidge 24, Highlands Ranch 17

Montrose (6-0) vs. Grand Junction (6-0)

Montrose features two outstanding underclassmen including sophomore RB Angelo Youngren, and junior QB Drew Casebier. Grand Junction has one of the state's best running backs in senior RB Jerreon Dennis. Both teams have won by substantial margins this year as well. But while Montrose has plenty of playmakers on both sides of the ball, Grand Junction is bigger, faster and has more victories over very good opponents. It won't be as close as the final score indicates. PREDICTION: Grand Junction 37, Montrose 24

Castle View (6-0) at No. 1 Valor Christian (6-0)

To this point, nobody aside from Regis Jesuit has given Valor Christian a truly good game. The Eagles' closest margin of victory (other than Regis) has been 28 points. Castle View could certainly be the team that pressures Valor's skill players. Defensively the Sabercats are stout, and offensively the team churns out an average of nearly 300 yards per game. They'll need every inch of that to keep pace with the state's top team. PREDICTION: Valor Christian 31, Castle View 27

Previous Record: 11-7

Colorado Preps Pick'em: Week 6

October, 7, 2011
10/07/11
1:22
PM ET
Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

(Ranks based on this week's state rankings)

Rock Canyon (4-1) vs. No. 1 Valor Christian (5-0)

Valor Christian has had a brutal schedule before starting its normal 4A slate, and now the Eagles face off against one of the hottest teams in the classification. Rock Canyon has won four straight since a season-opening loss to Montrose. Look for junior RB Eric Williams to lead the way — he's scored 14 times this season. He also leads the team in tackles and is tied for the team lead in sacks. But Valor Christian, which cracked the POWERADE Southwest Regional rankings this week, looks like far and away the best team in Colorado. PREDICTION: Valor Christian 27, Rock Canyon 14

No. 3 Grandview (5-1) vs. Cherokee Trail (4-2)

Cherokee Trail's two losses have come in a one-point loss without star QB Thomas Singleton and against three-time reigning champ Mullen on ESPNU. Since then the Eagles have been on fire, and they've scored 56 points in each of their last two wins. A matchup against Grandview is a great way for the team to show the team is back on track. But Grandview is playing as well as anyone in the state. Following a season-opening loss to top-ranked Valor, the Wolves have been perfect. They've outscored their opponents by a 71-13 margin over the last two games. It'll be closer than you think. PREDICTION: Grandview 24, Cherokee Trail 21

Bear Creek (3-2) vs. No. 9 Arapahoe (5-0)

You can't really fault Bear Creek for its 3-2 record. After a tough loss to Eaglecrest, the Bears looked to rally against Mullen, which is never an easy game. But after back-to-back losses, the Bears have a third tough contest against unbeaten Arapahoe. The Warriors have outscored opponents 172-23 this season, but Bear Creek might be the team's best opponent. The schedule is brutal for the Warriors, too — after Bear Creek, Arapahoe plays Columbine and Mullen. You don't see many 5-0 teams with must-win games, but this could be one of them. PREDICTION: Arapahoe 30, Bear Creek 24

Previous Record: 10-6

Colorado Preps Pick'em: Week 5

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
1:51
PM ET
Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

(Ranks based on this week's state rankings)

No. 6 Ralston Valley (4-0) vs. Boulder (3-1)

Ralston Valley has played very well this season — one of the reasons why the Mustangs are ranked No. 6 — but the one thing that stands out is that they've yet to play a really good team. Wins over Horizon and ThunderRidge are good, but the team has yet to be truly challenged. That might change this week. Boulder is coming off a tough loss to Mountain Range but has the talent to match up with Ralston Valley. Junior Demetrius Kennedy is a budding star — someone we might be talking about quite a bit next season. Whoever gets the win here finally gets the signature victory people can talk about. PREDICTION: Ralston Valley 29, Boulder 20

No. 3 Grand Junction (4-0) vs. Fountain Fort-Carson (3-1)

For Grand Junction, last week's battle against Westminster was billed as a potentially intriguing matchup. But the Tigers steamrolled Westminster, 50-14, to stay perfect. Fountain-Fort Carson may prove a slightly stiffer challenge. The offense won't wow anyone, but the defense will — the Trojans have allowed just 38 points this season (trouble is, they've only scored 98). Seniors Kevin Davis and Morgan Fox spend all day pressuring the quarterback, and they'll be among the toughest opponents Grand Junction will see this season. Still, it won't be enough. PREDICTION: Grand Junction 40, Fountain-Fort Carson 21

No. 9 Arapahoe (4-0) vs. Heritage (3-1)

The theme of this week seems to be teams coming off a loss and looking to get back on track. That's the case for Heritage, which lost in stunning fashion, 48-14, against ThunderRidge last week. But the Eagles have a chance to get back on track, and doing so against a very good Arapahoe team would be a great way for junior Ryan Novak and company to right the ship. If Novak wants to take the next step toward being an elite QB, he'll need a big game against his unbeaten counterparts. PREDICTION: Arapahoe 27, Heritage 20

Previous Record: 7-6

Colorado Preps Pick'em: Week 4

September, 23, 2011
9/23/11
12:06
PM ET
Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

(Ranks based on this week's state rankings)

No. 2 Mullen (2-1) vs. Cherry Creek (2-1)

For this matchup, it's simple. A win by Mullen is a good way to prove the team is every bit as dominant as we expected them to be before their first loss in 35 games came two weeks ago. Cherry Creek, meanwhile, could use a huge win against a rival like Mullen to assert its dominance and show the Bruins are for real. Cherry Creek has a stellar ground game but has yet to throw a TD pass this season. They'll need at least one against the Mustangs. PREDICTION: Mullen 31, Cherry Creek 21

Heritage (3-0) vs. ThunderRidge (2-1)

Ryan Novak is slated to be the next Cyler Miles when all is said and done. He's arguably a better pocket passer, and at 6-foot-5, he's got the height to be a QB at the next level. Heritage will certainly need his passing game. The Eagles square off against a ThunderRidge team that completely shut down Loveland's run game last week in a 48-0 win. The Grizzlies' lone loss game by just one point to Ralston Valley. They're riding high, and I like their momentum. PREDICTION: ThunderRidge 30, Heritage 24

Horizon (2-1) vs. Fairview (2-1)

Both of these teams have plenty of talent, but each has had its share of miscues. Horizon has pitched back-to-back shutouts and gave up only nine in its season-opening loss to Ralston Valley but couldn't get the offense going. A stout secondary is led by senior Omar Gutierrez and junior Dustin Rivas (two INTs each). Fairview opened its season with impressive wins over Poudre and Rangeview but fell to Mountain Vista last week. Can the Knights turn it around? PREDICTION: Horizon 26, Fairview 17

Previous Record: 4-6

Colorado Preps Pick'em: Week 3

September, 16, 2011
9/16/11
2:56
PM ET
Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

(Ranks based on this week's state rankings)

No. 6 Bear Creek vs. No. 10 Grandview

It's tough to know what to make of both of these teams. Grandview did something last week that nobody's been able to do since 2008: Beat Mullen. Bear Creek looked impressive in a game in California, then came back and looked even better in-state. Both of these squads are trending in the right direction. But a team on the rise (Bear Creek) has an advantage over a team due for a big emotional letdown after last week's triumph. PREDICTION: Bear Creek 34, Grandview 17

Monarch (2-0) vs. Broomfield (2-0)

With a huge win over Celebration (Celebration, Fla.) and a hard-fought victory over Greeley West, Monarch is making a push to prove its among the most competitive teams in Class 4A. In their way is fellow unbeaten 4A squad Broomfield, which beat Legacy with offense and toppled Fruita Monument with defense. The team will need both to conquer its opponent this weekend. PREDICTION: Monarch 27, Broomfield 20

Douglas County (2-0) vs. Columbine (2-0)

There's a lot at stake in this game, as winning will go a long way toward making a statement statewide — not many 3-0 starts go unnoticed. Columbine has the early edge with the brother running back tandem of Cameron and Bernard McDondle. But Douglas County counters with Kai Perea, who has a nose for the end zone. But Douglas County finds ways to win — Columbine is just dominating opponents. PREDICTION: Columbine 35, Douglas County 23

Previous Record: 2-5

Colorado Preps Pick'em: Week 3

September, 9, 2011
9/09/11
11:16
AM ET
Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

(Ranks based on this week's state rankings)

No. 1 Mullen (1-0) vs. Grandview (0-1)

For Grandview, there's no shame in losing to Valor Christian. But the team struggled to keep pace against the high-caliber Valor team and will struggle to do much better in what is one of the nation's top teams. Mullen has a seemingly infinite amount of weapons at its disposal. Grandview will win its fair share of games this season; this just isn't one of them. PREDICTION: Mullen 44, Grandview 24

No. 9 Pomona (1-0) vs. Mountain Vista (1-0)

Both of these teams are looking to make a big statement with a 2-0 start to their seasons. Only one will be successful. Mountain Vista looked sharp in its 50-7 win over Smoky Hill last week, and senior running back Christian Thomas was a big reason why. He rushed for 211 yards and found the end zone three times in the victory. Pomona earned an upset over Cherry Creek thanks to a 34-12 win. Junior QB Alec Feland looked like he could be a player to watch over the next few seasons. PREDICTION: Mountain Vista 31, Pomona 24

Wray (1-0) vs. Burlington (1-0)

Class 1A teams can play some football too, and these two teams have been as evenly matched as possible over the last couple of years. The two teams split their contests last year, but the big victory came in the state title game as Burlington avenged its regular season loss to Wray and claimed the championship. Look for Wray to exact revenge this season. PREDICTION: Wray 17, Burlington 10

Previous Record: 1-2

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