This is it. For most of the teams in the Pikes Peak region, their regular-season finale games are this week. For some teams, they want to finish the season on a strong note. For others, it’s one more game before the playoffs.
For teams in the smaller classes, it’s already the postseason.
Nonetheless, get ready for another cold night of high school football games. And because it’s the last week of high school football in the regular season, there are still plenty of exciting storylines. Here is a look at three games to watch involving regional teams.
Aspen (8-1) at The Classical Academy (8-1)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
What to know: For the third straight year, the Titans are in the postseason. And this year, they’re seeking redemption after losing a 27-24 overtime heartbreaker in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs in 2016. Their assignment Friday won’t be easy, however. TCA is facing Aspen, also an 8-1 team that hasn’t been in the postseason since 2013. The Skiers, whose only loss was a 48-22 defeat to Basalt on Oct. 6, are led by quarterback RJ Peshek, who has completed 142 of 246 passes for 2,242 yards and 28 touchdowns. The senior is also a threat on the ground, as he has scored 14 touchdowns and rushed for nearly 700 yards. TCA is ready with its own offensive attack, led by senior running backs Brayden Luft (10 touchdowns, 908 yards) and Jenson Hall (11 touchdowns, 177 yards). Quarterback Cade Bethany has completed 72 of 118 passes for 1,316 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Titans, whose only loss was a close 14-11 defeat to La Junta, the defending 2A champion.
Palmer Ridge (9-0) at Vista Peak Prep (4-5)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Vista Peak Prep in Aurora
What to know: Though they’re the favorite, the pressure is on for the Bears. In their 3A East Metro League finale, the Bears have the chance to close out the regular season with a historic perfect season. Their odds are looking good, considering the Bears have been blowing out teams all year and aren’t looking to slow down anytime soon. The Bears, who have outscored opponents 412-67, are going up against a team that loss 36-10 to Thomas Jefferson last week. The Bison, who are 2-2 in league play, are led by rusher Tyrese Bailey, who has gained 962 yards and scored nine touchdowns on 133 carries. Palmer Ridge is full of weapons, with quarterback junior Ty Evans (2,357 yards, 30 TDs) and sophomore running back Raef Ruel (642 yards, 14 touchdowns) taking charge. Also, senior receiver Cory McLellan has caught 37 passes, including 10 for touchdowns. Palmer Ridge is 4-0 in league play. The Bears are looking for a deep playoff run after losing 28-24 to Mead in the first round of last season’s 3A postseason.
Mesa Ridge (5-4) at Pine Creek (8-1)
When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
Where: Pine Creek
What to know: It might be natural to think that the Class 4A state champions Eagles will come away with an easy win, but they’re going up against a Mesa Ridge team that has played well all season, even in losses. The Grizzles are coming off a 26-21 loss to Air Academy last week. John Hubbard-Johnson has rushed for 751 yards and 10 touchdowns, and DJ King has thrown for 1,451 yards and 17 TDs for Mesa Ridge, which is 2-2 in the 4A Southern League. But Pine Creek has been on an unstoppable roll, beating Air Academy and Widefield 99-0 in the past two weeks. The Eagles, who have outscored teams 270-59, are led by David Moore III, who has averages 123.3 yards per game and has recorded 1,110 yards and 17 touchdowns on 150 carries. The sophomore is backed by quarterback JC Coulter, who has completed 77 of 122 passes for 1,154 yards and 10 TDs. The Eagles are 4-0 in league play.