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Pine Creek football wins snow bowl playoff game over Rampart

Pine Creek football wins snow bowl playoff game over Rampart

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

// Friday   night’s 4A state quarterfinal football game between No. 8 Rampart and No. 1 Pine Creek was a true definition of a tale of two halves. The first half of the all-Pikes Peak region showdown was a tight contest between the hometown rivals, with chilly, but not unbearable conditions.  But as teams left the field to head into the locker room at halftime, the weather, and the pace of the game shifted. Related: Pine Creek, Rampart fans enjoy football rivalry Teams returned to the field facing rain, then sleet, then snow. But Pine Creek had what it took to overcome the changing conditions and take control in the second half to claim a 29-7 victory over Rampart in their very own snow bowl. Nearly an inch of snow covered the turf at D-20 Stadium, but senior cornerback Xavier Hill didn’t notice. “It is cold, it is insanely cold, but I don’t feel it because I’m so hype right now,” Hill said. “I’m almost on fire. This was a really good win for us today, and I feel good about what we did out there on the field.” Hill changed the momentum midway through the second quarter as he scooped a Rampart fumble that was stripped by linebacker Sam Miller, and returned it for a touchdown to give the Eagles a 17-7 lead. “That was huge because it made it a (two)-score game, and that was big, it opened up our playbook, and all of a sudden they’re limited,” Pine Creek coach Todd Miller said. In addition to a number of tackles on defense, Hill also threw his hat in offensively for a 4-yard touchdown late in the third quarter as he was filling in for a few injured teammates. “Wyatt (Wieland) went down early in the second half, and David (Moore III) was sick, and we were just down,” Todd Miller said. “During the week of practice about a third of our team had the flu and we were just recovering coming into today. But Hill stepped in and our kids gutted it out and just played.” Wieland was responsible for Pine Creek’s most exciting play of the day, a 61-yard reception from JC Coulter early in the second quarter to give the Eagles their first lead. Rampart’s lone score was a 6-yard rush by Jackson Beale with five minutes left in the first quarter. Jared Behm and Keion Cross had a number of carries up the middle, and found holes in the Pine Creek defense early in the first half, but adjustments and the changing weather halted the Rams’ momentum. “We adapted to the weather a little easier than Rampart, I think,” Todd Miller said. “We’ve been here before. I believe our seniors, this was their 11th or 10th playoff game, so with that being said, we don’t panic and we keep playing our game.” Moore had an 11-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to give the Eagles a comfortable win in whiteout conditions. No. 1 seed Pine Creek moved to 11-1 and No. 8 Rampart finished its season at 9-3. Pine Creek will face the winner of   Saturday’s   Chatfield vs. Pueblo West game in next week’s semifinals. // // // // // // // //
Palmer Ridge's Anthony Roberson leads Bears to football quarterfinals road win over Rifle

Palmer Ridge's Anthony Roberson leads Bears to football quarterfinals road win over Rifle

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

If sophomore Anthony (Deuce) Roberson keeps playing like he did Saturday afternoon, Palmer Ridge's football team will be hard to stop this postseason. And beyond. The multi-purpose player accounted for four touchdowns — two on defense, two on offense — in another dominant win for the No. 2 Bears, this time 49-7 over host No. 10 Rifle in the Class 3A quarterfinals. For Roberson, he has two more seasons left to play. Not to mention at least one more game this year. Related: Blog: Despite quarterfinal loss, the future is bright for Rowan Neal, Vista Ridge football Saturday’s victory advanced Palmer Ridge (12-0) to the semifinals against No. 6 Palisade (10-2). So far, the Bears have outscored teams 97-20 in the playoffs — and it doesn’t look like they plan on slowing down anytime soon. “We feel like we like our chances against anybody,” Bears coach Tom Pulford said, adding that their next opponent is a good, solid team. “We need to get in good practices next week.” That focus helped the Bears to the program's first undefeated regular season. Palmer Ridge was unstoppable despite traveling more than 230 miles to play Rifle, which finished 10-3. After the Bears jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the second quarter, Pulford said he felt like his team had the momentum. “We felt the surge,” he said. “We felt like it was our game to lose at that point.” Quarterback Ty Evans, an Arkansas commit, started off the game with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Roberson. That was followed by a 2-yard run from Raef Ruel before Evans struck again, this time with a short TD run. Then, Roberson had perhaps the Bears' most exciting moment with about two minutes left in the second quarter. He sacked the Rifle quarterback, stripped the ball and scooped it up for a 50-yard fumble return for a TD. Evans wrapped up the rally with an 18-yard pass to Roberson to put the Bears well ahead 35-0 at halftime. Palmer Ridge scored twice more in the third, thanks to a 30-yard TD run by Anderson Carpenter and a 42-yard interception return TD by Roberson. Rifle scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. But by then, the Bears had secured their state semifinals spot.
Turnovers highlight Vista Ridge's loss to Pueblo South in 4A quarterfinals

Turnovers highlight Vista Ridge's loss to Pueblo South in 4A quarterfinals

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

The turnovers might have been the byproduct of cold weather or the jitters. No one truly knows. But the Vista Ridge football players and coaches made no excuses after their 35-14 loss to No. 6 Pueblo South in the Class 4A quarterfinals Saturday afternoon when the No. 14 Wolves lost three fumbles and didn’t capitalize on two key red zone opportunities. “It’s very disappointing,” junior running back Emmanuel Garcia said. Pueblo South running back Steve Brock (2) has the ball torn out of his hands by Vista Ridge player Jeffrey Crittendon (13) for a fumble recovered by Pueblo South at Vista Ridge High School on Saturday, November 18, 2017. Despite getting points on the board in the latter half of the game, Vista Ridge couldn't prevent Pueblo South from running away with the win 35-14. (The Gazette, Nadav Soroker)   Vista Ridge ended its season with a 7-5 record, while Pueblo South (11-2) advanced to the semifinals with a strong passing game and solid defense. It was the first time the Wolves made it to the second round since 2012. Last week, the Wolves upset No. 3 Fruita Monument 39-34 in the playoff opener. On a chilly and windy Saturday, the Colts jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead. The onslaught started with a 50-yard punt return by Thomas Pannunzio, followed by two TD passes by Zach Cozzolino. Cozzolino struck again in the second — this time a 42-yarder to Marcell Barbee, who finished with three TD catches — to give Pueblo South a comfortable halftime lead. Talented senior running back Steve Brock scored the Colts’ final touchdown on a 56-yard run early in the third quarter. Vista Ridge answered back with short running scores by quarterback Rowan Neal and Garcia, who finished with 103 yards on 16 carries. By then, Pueblo South players were already thinking about their semifinals appearance. Vista Ridge wide receiver Malique McKay, right, (5) holds back tears as he hugs teammate Zach Cooper (52) after losing to Pueblo South 35-14 at Vista Ridge High School on Saturday, November 18, 2017. (The Gazette, Nadav Soroker)   The final score could have been different. In the first half, the Wolves had the ball near the goal line on two occasions and with four downs to go. But at the end of each sequence, the defense either knocked down a potential touchdown or stopped a Vista Ridge running back from getting through. “Anytime you’re inside the 5-yard line or at the 1-yard line and you don’t score and you turn the ball over three times,” Wolves coach Jerimi Calip said, “that’s always going to be huge.” Vista Ridge wide receiver Micah Hilts (83) tries to strip the ball from Pueblo South running back Steve Brock (2) at Vista Ridge High School on Saturday, November 18, 2017. Pueblo South took an early lead that Vista Ridge could not recover from, ending the game 35-14. (The Gazette, Nadav Soroker)   Vista Ridge played most of the game without senior Jaylen Thomas, an Air Force commit, who was the Wolves’ primary quarterback at times this season. He re-injured his collarbone on a running play in the second quarter Saturday. “Obviously, he couldn’t give us much,” Calip said. “You hate to see a kid like that go out in his last game and not be able to contribute, especially when he could’ve contributed to the outcome of the game.”
Blog: Despite quarterfinal loss, the future is bright for Rowan Neal, Vista Ridge football

Blog: Despite quarterfinal loss, the future is bright for Rowan Neal, Vista Ridge football

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

If you’ve followed the Vista Ridge football team this season, you know all about Jaylen Thomas and his athleticism. But last week, in Round 1 of the 4A state playoffs, we were all introduced to the quarterback stylings of junior Rowan Neal, who threw for 239 yards and had 102 yards on the ground in one of the biggest first-round upsets in the state. Neal led his No. 14 Wolves to a 39-34 victory over No. 3 Fruita Monument, which had built up confidence throughout the state as a team that could dethrone reigning champions Pine Creek. Related: Turnovers highlight Vista Ridge's loss to Pueblo South in 4A quarterfinals Unfortunately for Neal and the Wolves, a 35-14 defeat by the hands of Pueblo South ended their season on Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinals. But in the seven weeks leading up to Neal’s postseason debut, he was benched. He had 560 passing yards through the first three weeks of the season, then fizzled to just 88 in the remaining seven weeks, averaging just five passes per game. “It’s just one of those things where I think he was just trying to make plays and not letting the game come to him, he had happy feet, but as you can tell last week he settled in,” Vista Ridge coach Jerimi Calip said. “He learned to take better care of the football. He stepped up and got some playoff reps and now he knows what it feels like and what he needs to do. He’s an intelligent kid and I think he’ll learn from what happened in this game (gains Pueblo South) and come back ready to go.” Thomas took over under center and ran - literally - to a 3-2 record, outscoring opponents 180-62  in the second half of the season. He had 647 passing yards, 928 rushing and 20 touchdowns as the Wolves put themselves in position for a postseason berth. “This season was definitely a learning process,” Neal said. “Jaylen came in and did his thing when I was out, and then coach called my number because he needed me in the playoffs and I had to step up, be a man, make plays and with the game for my teammates.” Neal is a Jenkins Elite quarterback, and is training with a staff of former NFL players to improve his game and work to get recruited by a top college. And with that comes commitment to his position and an investment in his future, which bodes well for the future of Vista ridge football. Neal is one of 20 juniors who will return to the gridiron next year in hopes to step up to replace the 2018 seniors. For Neal, summer is key now that the 2017 campaign is done. “I just want to get better and focus on the summer right now,” Neal said. “It’s my senior season and I have to focus on the summer. That’s when you get better and that’s where you separate yourself from your competition. I want to build as a team, and keep on getting better, and better and better.” A 154.0 quarterback rating in an upset versus one of the best teams in the state is certainly a good place to start.
Fall all-conference selections around the Pikes Peak region

Fall all-conference selections around the Pikes Peak region

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Below are the All-Conference teams as selected by area conference for fall sports. The teams are submitted by area administrators. We will add to the lists as all sports conclude and as lists are distributed to us. Addition all-conference teams should be sent to preps@gazette.com. CROSS COUNTRY Pikes Peak Athletic Conference Boys’ First team Thomas Chaston    Sr.    Cheyenne Mountain Ryan Matson    Sr.     Palmer Ridge Cal Banta    Jr.     Air Academy Max Bolke     Jr.     Vista Ridge Jacob Morton    Sr.     Vista Ridge Andrew Bluemel        Palmer Ridge Luke Thurman    Sr.    Air Academy Drew Vidano    Sr.     Palmer Ridge Boys’ Honorable Mention Joe Dicke     Sr.    Discovery Canyon Chris Montross    Jr.    Cheyenne Mountain Jonah Penrose    Sr.     Lewis-Palmer Jonathan Woolf    Sr.     Palmer Ridge Max Herebic    Sr. palmer Ridge ALex Murphy    So.     Palmer Ridge Ryne Johnson    Sr.     Cheyenne Mountain Walker Rudolph    Sr.     Cheyenne Mountain Girls’ First team Isabella Prosceno    Fr.     Palmer Ridge Tatum Miller    Jr.     Air Academy Liberty Ricca     Jr.     Discovery Canyon Maren Busath    Fr.     Palmer Ridge Madeleine Bonneau    Sr.    Palmer Ridge Anna Warmack    Jr.     Cheyenne Mountain Sophia Barza    Sr.    Air Academy Emma Baron    So.    Discovery Canyon Boys’ and girls’ Coach of the Year — Rob Collins, Palmer Ridge Boys’ Runner of the Year — Cal Banta, Jr., Air Academy Girls’ Runner of the Year — Isabella Prosceno, Fr., Palmer Ridge FOOTBALL CLASS 3A SOUTHERN First-Team All-Conference Offense QB— Zac Hanenberg, Canon City RB— Kadin Porter, Canon City RB— Dieudonne Chea, Lewis-Palmer FB— Landin Martinez, Falcon WR— Shane Coffey, Canon City WR— Andrew Ware, Mitchell TE— Joel Scott, Lewis-Palmer OL— Colin Minnick, Canon City OL— Michael Dryden, Discovery Canyon OL— Travis McDonald, Lewis-Palmer OL— Gage Pruitt, Canon City OL— Bryce Tezak, Canon City OL— Isaiah Padilla, Lewis-Palmer Defense DL— Patrick Haggard, Lewis-Palmer DL— Luis Ronquillo, Canon City DL— Mitchel Ballage, Falcon DL— Cody Andreis, Canon City DL— Colin Minnick, Canon City LB— Vincent Merlino, Canon City LB— Caleb Grotelueschen, Discovery Canyon LB— Charles Cook, Lewis-Palmer LB— Kaden Porter, Canon City DB— Jordan Pshigoda, Lewis-Palmer DB— Mitchell Draper, Discovery Canyon DB— Zac Hanenburg, Canon City DB— Brendan Young, Canon City Returner— Caleb Grotelueschen, Discovery Canyon P— Joel Scott, Lewis-Palmer K— Griffin Anderson, Discovery Canyon Second-Team Offense QB— Zack Anderson, Discovery Canyon RB— Caleb Grotelueschen, Discovery Canyon RB— Dorian McDowell, Falcon FB— Evan Owen, Woodland Park WR— Cole Smith, Canon City WR— Landin Troutman, Woodland Park TE— Garrett Bonnelycke, Woodland Park OL— Adam Reid, Falcon OL— Tyln Yarborough, Woodland Park OL— Caleb Cantrell, Woodland Park OL— Dimitri Hemingway, Mitchell OL— Gage Clawson, Discovery Canyon OL— Joey Oliva, Mitchell Defense DL— Travis McDonald, Lewis-Palmer DL— Evan Owen, Woodland Park DL— Dimitri Hemingway, Mitchell DL— Luke Corste, Falcon DL— Trey Pearson, Falcon LB — Daniel Eggelton, Discovery Canyon LB— Patrick Johnson, Canon City LB— Dylan Roberts, Canon City LB— Gino SanFelice, Woodland Park DB— Colton Baroni, Lewis-Palmer DB— Bailey McBride, Canon City DB— Carter Kreischer, Lewis-Palmer DB— Andrew Ware, Mitchell Returner — Drake Antoon, Falcon P— Griffin Anderson, Discovery Canyon Honorable Mention Offense QB— Thane Duzeniack, Mitchell QB— Justin Serrano, Falcon RB— Dominic Roskam, Woodland Park RB— Drake Antoon, Falcon RB— Logan Taylor, Woodland Park FB— Khalil Hamilton, Mitchell FB— Nicholas Monahan, Discovery Canyon WR— Connor McCain, Canon City WR — Gabe Rall, Canon City WR— Devin Montoya, Mitchell TE— Aaron Tanksley, Falcon OL— Noah Pritchard, Mitchell OL— Dominique Knost, Lewis-Palmer OL— Bryce Six, Canon City OL— James Kosco, Discovery Canyon OL— Luke Corsten, Falcon OL— Matt Cathy, Falcon Defense DL— Julyan McCoy, Lewis-Palmer DL— Aaron Montelongo, Falcon DL— Gage Pruitt, Canon City DL— Isaac Mun, Discovery Canyon LB — Ben Hershem, Mitchell LB— Aaron Tanksley, Falcon LB— Adam Reid, Falcon LB — Caleb Sherrill, Falcon DB— Evan Walsh, Lewis-Palmer DB— Devin Montoa, Mitchell DB— Brysynt Clark-Perez, Mitchell DB— Ryan Monteleone, Discovery Canyon K— Cory Gurnett, Discovery Canyon P— Michael Shrum, Woodland Park Coach of the Year — Tom O’Rourke, Canon City Offensive Player of the Year — Kaden Porter, Canon City Defensive Player of the Year — Caleb Grotelueschen, Discovery Canyon BOYS’ SOCCER CSML 4A First-Team All-Conference Tristan Widic    Sr.    Mesa Ridge Jake Slater    Sr.     TCA Johnny Stephens     Sr.    TCA Eddie Arciniega    Sr.    Mitchell Garrett Troupe    Sr.    TCA Kyle Kuhfield    Sr.     Mesa Ridge Diego Velasco    Sr.     Sierra Garrett Walsworth    Sr.     Canon City Jake Speicher    Sr.    Elizabeth Caden Lukenbill    Fr.     TCA Felix Justo    Sr.     Mitchell Second-Team Dylan Huglett    Sr.     Mesa Ridge ‘Eduardo Trujillo    Jr.     Mitchell Justin Clemmens    Sr.     Widefield Jose Gonzalez    Jr.     Mitchell Justin Knox     Jr.     Elizabeth Jarred Williams    Fr.     Mesa Ridge Caleb DesBouillons    So.    Mesa Ridge Kenna Roewer    Sr.    TCA ALex Cruz    Jr.     Mitchell Leo Deloria    Sr.    Widefield Lincoln Andrews     Jr.     Canon City Dan Ganoza    Sr.    Woodland Park Honorable Mention Brock Roewedder    TCA Jack Carpenter    TCA Jackson Hoosier     TCA Victor Luquin     Widefield Issac Ramirez    Widefield Mike Westbug    Widefield Ade Wijaya    Harrison Armando Frausto    Harrison David Perez     Sierra Josuel Galaviz    Sierra Oscar Gallardo    Mitchell Sam Cummings    Woodland Park Greg Pappadakis    Woodland Park Matt Roberts    Mesa Ridge Kyle Costra    Mesa Ridge Dyland Harrdlovitch    Elizabeth Colin Stainke    Elizabeth Jose Louis Zunigan Palacios    Elizabeth John Crawford    Canon City Kyle Smith    Canon City Brayden Melnik    Canon City Player of the Year — Tristan Widic     Sr.     Mesa Ridge Coach of the Year — Blake Galvin        TCA TRI PEAKS REGION 1 St. Mary’s Gabe Calhoun, Jr. Dom Hartman, Jr. Connor Timmins, Jr. Wyatt Barton, So. James Irwin ALex Mexina, Sr. Joel Marquez, Jr. Luis Alvarado, So. Fountain Valley Riki Fujimoto, Fr. Aly Kassam, Jr. Brain Jung, Sr. Honorable Mention Eddy Ferrara, Jr., St. Mary’s Sean Wassinger, Jr., St. Mary’s Allan Garciz, Sr., James Irwin Carson Fuller, So., James Irwin Jo Ota, So., Fountain Valley Coach of the Year — Miguel Roman, Lamar Player of the Year — Lamario Nisbeth, Atlas Prep. REGION 2 All-Conference Colorado Springs Christian Lookens Smith Tanner MacKay Alec Tanaka Noah Banderas Kinsley Smith Caleb Wallis Manitou Springs Cullen Cote Asher Schoepflin Jez Sommers Jon Gerdes Nick Vidovich Evangelical Christian Bradley Hartsock Braydan Hekkers Ben DeRuiter Vanguard Tyler Wheeler-Temple Drake Gray Daniel Simons Colorado Springs School Lewis DeCarolis Connor Jarolimek Ellicott Cristian Carrasco Acxel Perez Honorable Mention Michael Benthem, CSCS Ethan Campagna, CSCS Alliah Halcomb, Manitou Springs Issac Patterson, Manitou Springs Joseph Wilcox, ECA Spencer Hamilton, ECA Ben Kelopolo, Vanguard Leo Xiao, Vanguard Mauricio Alas, CSS Ethan Hedden, CSS Garrison Dahn, Ellicott Nathan Favreau, Ellicott Coach of the Year — Teri Gilbert, Ellicott Player of the Year — Tana MacKay, CSCS SOFTBALL 5A CSML First Team Emily Howling    Sr.    Fountain-Fort Carson Shelby Shepherd    Sr.     Rampart Mariana Morales    Jr.     Doherty Carson Dunckley    Sr.     Liberty Leah Passafiume    Jr.    Pine Creek Sarah Gardner    Jr.    Pine Creek Angelina LoCricchio    SO.    Doherty Jayda Randle    Fr.     Rampart Nevaeh Santisteven    So.    Coronado Brooke Linden    Jr.     Pine Creek Second Team Camille Lucas    Sr.    Pine Creek Torie Bass    Fr.    Fountain-Fort Carson Mackenzie Cordova    So.     Fountain-Fort Carson Katie Spieth    Jr.     Pine Creek Gerilyn Martinez    Jr.     Pine Creek Olivia Risch    Sr.     Rampart Mariah Parker    Sr.     Palmer Kate Frederick    Sr.     Rampart Alexandrea Arronte    Fr.     Liberty Madison O’Driscol    Sr.     Doherty Honorable Mention Jessica Sherwood    Sr.    Pine Creek Lourdes Martinez    So.     Pine Creek Brittany Head    Sr.     Rampart Abby Kronkel    Sr.     Rampart Alyssa Steele    Sr.     Fountain-Fort Carson Ashley Hopkins    Sr.     Fountain-Fort Carson Delaine Baker    Jr.    Doherty Montano SPring    Sr.     Doherty Gabrielle Hoyt    Sr.    Liberty Emily Baros    Jr.    Liberty Julie Callan    Jr.     Coronado Marissa Daily    So.    Coronado Nia Erbaugh    Sr.     Palmer Katelyn Brossett    Sr.     Palmer Player of the Year — Shelby Shepherd, Sr., Rampart Coach of the Year — Mike Berkey, Doherty 4A PPAC All-Conference First team P— Cassidy Horn    Sr.    Air Academy 1B— Katy Kelly    So.    Vista Ridge SS— Amber Rees    Sr.     Discovery Canyon 3B— Mary Roach    Sr.     Discovery Canyon OF— Karsen Romines    Sr.    Air Academy OF— Lexi Silvey    Jr.    Vista Ridge OF— Sami Edwards    Jr.    Discovery Canyon C— Kaityln Lord    Jr.    Vista Ridge Utility— Katelynn Ralston    So.    Cheyenne Mountain Second Team P— Taylor Striebel    Jr.    Falcon 1B— Cora Ferguson    Jr.    Discovery Canyon 2B— Sam Patterson    Sr.     Palmer Ridge SS— Lindsay Holloway    Sr.    Air Academy 3B— Midori Williams    So.    Vista Ridge OF— Maya Liester    Jr.    Palmer Ridge OF— Maddie Mast    Sr.    Falcon OF— Alissa Madrigal    Jr.    Discovery Canyon C— Alissa Madrigal    Jr.    Discovery Canyon Utility— Chloe Ewing    Jr.    Vista Ridge Honorable Mention Sheridan Wayne    Jr.    Air Academy Mikaela McCarson    —    Cheyenne Mountain Madi Robertson    Jr.    Falcon Carissa O’Donnell    Fr.    Lewis-Palmer Kayden Rodgers    Fr.    Discovery Canyon Kaylin Cruz    Jr.    Vista Ridge Sara Lynch    So.    Palmer Ridge Hailee Mayl    Jr.    Sand Creek Player of the Year — Corah Price, Sr., Discovery Canyon Coach of the Year — Allie Klasen, Cheyenne Mountain VOLLEYBALL 5A CSML First Team Mara Abernethy    Coronado Kyra Parker    Rampart Delaney St. Pierre    Coronado Isabella Vasquez    Palmer Jordan Valentine    Liberty Taylor Sibert    Rampart Jaelyn Hershberger    Coronado Second Team Loryn Blount    Pine Creek Jordyn Hasbrouck    Palmer Juliet Vendl    Pine Creek Hope Hines    Doherty Sara Schloessher    Palmer Mica VanDerMeulen    Rampart Emily Ellis    Rampart Honorable Mention Coronado Mallory Brown Bethany Heitland Doherty Zoe Olson Mikayla Stutts Palmer Bailey Downs Evonne Rodriguez Pine Creek Chandler Nelson Faith Horton Fountain-Fort Carson Afrasia Robinson Callista Giffin Liberty Avery Smith Karina Florek Rampart Kira Warren Haley McCorkle Player of the Year — Mara Abernethy, Coronado Coach of the Year — Stormie Wells, Coronado 2A BLACK FOREST LEAGUE All-Conference Jerraldawn Rector     Simla Sierra Know     Calhan Chloe Duffy     Simla Natalie Richardi     CSS Savannah Teetor     Calhan Skye McCurdy     Fountain Valley Keagan Hamacher     Simla Delaney Sotomayor     Simla Taylor Warnecke     Simla Devinne Larreau     Ellicott Liz Bristow     ECA Garciela Donez     Ellicott Molly Bigbee     CSS Shannon Willyard     Calhan Honorable Mention Bailee Carter     Calhan Ava Rahm     Fountain Valley Chloe Mason     Fountain Valley Sydney Campbell     Peyton Sabryn Shtatman     CSS Kenzie Johns     Miami-Yoder Sarah Johnson    CSS Julia Paschal    CSS Courtney Lee    Calhan Delaney Demott    Fountain Valley Kaela France    Ellicott Kayelynn Montague    Simla Karoline Garwood    ECA Erin Buccambuso-Willetts    Dolores Huerta PPAC First-Team All-Conference Gianna Bartalo    So.    Lewis-Palmer McKenna Sciacca    Jr.    Lewis-Palmer Kessandra Krutsinger    Jr.    Lewis-Palmer Riley Putnicki    Jr.    Lewis-Palmer Summer Reflogal    Jr.    Palmer Ridge Mac Russ    Fr.    Palmer RIdge Cayla Owen    Sr.     Cheyenne Mountain Kinley Coe    Sr.     Cheyenne Mountain Second Team Victoria Lambos    Sr.    Air Academy Lyla Hollis    So.     Air Academy Grace McIntosh    Fr.     Palmer Ridge Riley Simpson    Fr.    Palmer Ridge Taylor Buckley    Jr.    Lewis-Palmer Jackie Martensen    So.    Cheyenne Mountain Kaelin Coe    Jr.    Cheyenne Mountain Hannah Pethtel    Jr.    Discovery Canyon Lily Ainsworth    Sr.    Vista Ridge Honorable Mention Madison Miller    Jr.    Air Academy Charleston Tidwell    So.    Air Academy Ashton Prechtel    Jr.    Discovery Canyon Leah Lester    So.     Discovery Canyon Kate Boushell    Fr.     Discovery Canyon Madeline Breckon    Fr.    Vista Ridge Samantha Gallion    Sr.    Vista Ridge Austen Brewer    Jr.    Falcon Avynn LaRose    Jr.    Falcon Anna Ellen Graham    Sr.    Sand Creek Alexis Regaldo    Sr.     Sand Creek Kori Woods    Sr.     Palmer Ridge
Pine Creek, Rampart fans enjoy football rivalry

Pine Creek, Rampart fans enjoy football rivalry

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

It was a big-time bout between old rivals. The quarterfinal round of the Class 4A state football playoffs began Friday when District 20 schools Pine Creek and Rampart took the field at District 20 stadium in northeastern Colorado Springs. Despite a wind chill that cut to the bone in the first half and a snowstorm that covered the field in the second, parents and students of the two schools packed the stadium for the intracity bout. It was a familiar feeling for the Pine Creek Eagles fans, decked out in green and blue. The top-seeded Eagles came in as the defending state champions, having won the title in three of their past four playoff appearances. Related: Pine Creek wins snow bowl football playoff game over Rampart The blue and gold Rams are still relatively new to the playoff scene by comparison, making the postseason for the first time in 15 years last year and making it one step beyond their first-round exit in 2016 this season. So when the eighth-seeded Rams forced a quick three and out to begin the game and then scored on a 6-yard run from running back Jackson Beale on the ensuing possession, the Rampart student section cheered and tossed confetti like they had won the championship. "Everybody has been looking forward to this game a lot," Rampart's Damian Lopez said. "It's a very big deal for us because they are supposed to be this ... ungodly team and the fact that we were able to score first was a huge confidence boost," said Lopez, a junior and a leader in the student cheering section. Lopez said it's a big rivalry for the Rams who used to share a league with the Eagles before the latter moved to the 4A Southern league at the beginning of the 2016 season. The Rams didn't score after that however and the defending champs quickly took over the game, leading plenty of chants from the roaring Eagle student section. Sophomore Kedarian Maul said Pine Creek made a lot of announcements about the game in the mornings all week. It was a common topic of conversation at the school. "Everyone was talking about it, especially this game we're playing against Rampart. We haven't played them in a while in the playoffs," he said.
David Ramsey: Palmer Ridge, despite high football seed, prepares for long ride to Rifle

David Ramsey: Palmer Ridge won't throw CHSAA under the bus for long road trip, and neither should you

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

On Friday afternoon at 1:30, Palmer Ridge’s football team will end its school day and climb on a big yellow bus to begin a 232-mile ride for Saturday’s game at Rifle. Palmer Ridge players will spend Friday night in a hotel while Rifle players slumber in their own beds. Now, get this: Palmer Ridge is unbeaten and seeded No. 2 in the 3A state tournament. Rifle has lost twice and is seeded No. 10. Palmer Ridge, which earned its higher seed during a rugged regular season, is taking the long ride. RELATED: Scouting state football playoffs: Round 2 matchups around the Pikes Peak region Tom Pulford, Palmer Ridge’s coach, declines to complain. He understands this is the norm in a state playoff system overseen by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA). “We’re the higher seed and we’re traveling,” Pulford said in a non-whiny voice. “We feel fortunate to play another week. ... We have an opportunity to play another game and we’re thankful.” In 2015, Pine Creek traveled with a 37-game win streak and the No. 1 seed to Loveland, to face a 13 th -seeded team that had been beaten five times. Pine Creek’s Eagles lost in the snow, 26-14. The road loss prevented what might have been a four-peat for Pine Creek coach Todd Miller, who has won three of the past four 4A titles. Pine Creek and Rampart play Friday night at their home District 20 Stadium. “I don’t know if it’s fair or not, but I don’t know if much in life is fair,” Miller said. “‘Another football game’ is what we say to our kids. Behind closed doors, what we say is, ‘Yeah, we’d want a home game.’” Bert Borgmann works as CHSAA’s assistant commissioner. He emphasizes the playoff travel format was approved by vote of member schools. “The theory has always been playoffs should be shared,” Borgmann said. “Everybody should have the opportunity to have that home game. And it’s about sharing. It’s a concept of sharing the expenses.” Here’s what Borgmann means: Let’s say a No. 16 seed upsets a No. 1 seed in the playoffs. If higher seeding trumped all else, the No. 16 seed could spend the next month traveling while running up transportation, restaurant and hotel expenses. Borgmann estimates the cost would run at least $20,000. Last week, Palmer Ridge played at home, and Rifle traveled to Evergreen. That’s why, Borgmann says, Rifle will stay home for Saturday’s game. Pulford emphasize that the travel rules have helped his program. In 2015, Palmer Ridge was a No. 11 seed and played host to higher-seeded Windsor. The rules will help No. 14 seed Vista Ridge this week. Last week, Vista Ridge’s Wolves traveled to No. 3 seed Fruita Monument and delivered a 39-34 upset. This week, the Wolves play host to No. 6 Pueblo South, which played at home last week. I understand the hassle of a long journey on a bus. I also understand the blessings of life on the road with your friends. A long time ago, I was a (not very effective) center midfielder for a college soccer team in Nebraska, where our cruel, wise coach commanded us to run about 50 a miles a week in practice along those Midwestern flatlands. Every other weekend, we took a bus ride to meet our opponent. At times, those rides stretched eight hours. These rides had nothing to do with seeding. We were following our schedule. The rides never dragged. They provided a retreat from the chaos of campus life, a reward for all the hard labor at practice. I remember gazing out at vast, flat spaces, a strange sight for a young man raised in Colorado. I remember laughing with my teammates/comrades. I remember good times. On Friday, Pulford and his higher-seeded Palmer Ridge team will take a long bus trip to a town with a lower-seeded team. “We have good sense of camaraderie on our team,” Pulford said. “We have players who enjoy being around each other. Being on a bus ride will help that bond continue to grow.” Pulford looks forward to the ride.  

Scouting state football playoffs: Round 2 matchups around the Pikes Peak region

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

And then there were four. Week 1 featured a major upset by an area team, two comfortable wins by our top-seeded squads, and one team’s first playoff win in years. Stay tuned to GazettePreps.com for more playoff football action. ** Class 4A ** No. 1 Pine Creek / No. 8 Rampart Game data: No. 8 Rampart vs. No. 1 Pine Creek … Friday at 7 p.m. at D-20 Stadium. Follow @LindseySquints and @HughJohnson707 on Twitter for updates from the game. Scouting the Rams: Rampart claimed a spot in the second round thanks to a 24-14 win over Monarch, earning the team’s first appearance in the state quarterfinals since 2001. Jared Behm led the Rams on the ground in Week 1 with 153 rushing yards, including a 90-yard touchdown run in the opening minute of play. Quarterback Keion Cross had 108 yards on the ground and 11 passing yards. Although Rampart will be on the visitors’ side on D-20 Stadium, Friday, it will be like a home atmosphere for the Rams as they battle a very familiar foe. Scouting the Eagles: Last week Pine Creek cruised to a first-round win, despite a slow start against No. 16 Golden. David Moore III continued his stellar season into the playoffs with 216 yards and two touchdowns against the Demons. Quarterback JC Coulter was also on point for the Eagles, completing 10 of 15 for 151 yards and one touchdown. Wyatt Wieland was his top receiver with 108 yards. The Eagle defense racked up 15 tackles for a loss, and was led by sophomore Rece Rowan who had seven total tackles and a sack. No. 14 Vista Ridge Game data: No. 6 Pueblo South vs. No. 14 Vista Ridge … Saturday at 1 p.m. at Vista Ridge High School. Follow @LindseySquints and @ChhunSun on Twitter for updates from the game. Scouting the Colts: No. 6 Pueblo South beat No. 11 Montrose 41-7 in the first round and is riding an eight-game winning streak heading into quarterfinals. The Colts boast one talented running back, Steve Brock, who handled most of the ground work with 211 yards rushing, while their quarterback, Zach Cozzolino had a solid start to the playoffs. He threw for 286 yards with a .625 completion percentage and two touchdowns. And his receiver field is deep. Pueblo South has four receivers who had more than 40 yards last week, led by Marcell Barbee with 81 yards. Scouting the Wolves: Vista Ridge was a clear underdog in Week 1 against No. 3 Fruita Monument, but the Wolves proved they are not a team to be trifled with. Junior quarterback Rowan Neal, who had not seen much game action since Week 3, made a statement, throwing for 239 yards and three touchdowns with a .750 completion percentage. He also had 102 rushing yards on 19 carries. Jeffrey Crittendon was the team’s second-leading rusher with 117 yards. Carter Bussone and Ryan Poolman had 17 tackles each for the Wolves. ** Class 3A ** No. 2 Palmer Ridge Game data: No. 2 Palmer Ridge vs. No. 10 Rifle … Saturday at 1 p.m. at Rifle High School. Visit GazettePreps.com for a live scoreboard and keep up with Palmer Ridge this weekend. Scouting the Rifle Bears: Despite being placed in the No. 10 seed, Rifle enters the second round 10-2 and is fresh off a first-round win over No. 7 Evergreen, 37-10. Rifle boasts a strong run game as Tanner Vines led the team with 294 rushing yards last week, followed by Lopez Joel and Camron Shepherd with 114 and 105 rushing yards, respectively. The Bears saw limited work from quarterback Luke Ellis, who was just 3 for 6 with 20 yards passing in playoff Week 1. Their defense is led by Ramon Salvidrez who had eight tackles last week. Scouting the Palmer Ridge Bears: Running a game plan that’s the virtual opposite of Rifle, Palmer Ridge stunned No. 15 Berthoud with a 48-13 first-round win. Quarterback Ty Evans threw for a season-high 426 yards and three touchdowns, and completed 28-of-39 attempts. His top receiver Deuce Roberson had 220 yards, and Cory Mclellan had 10 receptions for 140 yards. Sophomores Raef Ruel and Noah Brom ran for 66 and 63 yards, respectively. Palmer Ridge offensive coordinator Darren Grob reported that Zach Hester had five sacks vs. Berthoud.

Smith blog: Changing Colorado high school volleyball playoff format is the right move

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

CHSAA officially announced Tuesday that a committee unanimously voted to recommend a bracket format, rather than pool play for the state volleyball playoffs starting as early as next year. According to the article , the recommendation will be voted on by the Legislative Council at their next meeting in January. Currently 12 teams make the postseason in each classification, and compete in pool play to qualify for the semifinals. CHSAA states that the proposed double-elimination bracket will retain 12 teams per class, but move to a three-day tournament. Teams would still be guaranteed at least two matches, but it would eliminate the possibility of "meaningless" games and lengthy tiebreakers. Related: Best photos from Lewis-Palmer's state title win These proposed changes are music to a preps editor's ears. Last week the Pikes Peak region had five area teams in the state tournament - Palmer Ridge, Discovery Canyon, Lewis-Palmer, Cheyenne Mountain and Coronado. Discovery Canyon and Palmer Ridge were in the unfortunate situation of having to play each other one of those  "meaningless" matches. Niwot claimed two victories in their pool on Friday to earn a spot in the semifinals, rendering their match scheduled for Saturday morning insignificant to the tournament. Discovery Canyon had qualified for states for the first time, and didn't even get to play both guaranteed matches before their dreams of moving on were squashed. Each team who qualifies should have the ability to control their own destiny, regardless of whether they're fighting for a state title, or in another part of the bracket. This new format will ensure that. In the case of Coronado in the 5A bracket, at 5 p.m. Saturday - just two hours before the championship match was slated to start - we were unsure if the Cougars had made the semifinal. A three-way tie in the pool forced Coronado to enter a tiebreaker, which in-turn pushed the 5A semifinal back, and forced the state championship matches to start over an hour and 40 minutes late. This more organized bracket will keep things running smoothly. "It just evens it all out," Eaglecrest coach Tanya Bond said in the CHSAA article. "Everyone is going to have the same experience on Saturday. And hopefully it will be a more meaningful experience, because the fans won't be wondering what's going on, what time the matches are going to be starting, and if they matter." Read more about the proposed changes at CHSAAnow.com .

Area athletes to sign National Letters of Intent on first day of early signing

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Editor's note: Please send any additions to this list to preps@gazette.com . Check back with  GazettePreps.com   for more signing day stories and a photo gallery on   GazettePreps.com . --- Wednesday marks the first day of college athletics' early signing period, and athletes around Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region are taking advantage. Related:   Doherty lacrosse standout Dominique Semadeni signs with UCCS Doherty golfer Ryan Pierce signs with Bethany College Dawson Carper stands tall in Rampart history, signs with Hawaii Baseball teammates, longtime friends sign college letters at ceremony at Pine Creek SEC well represented at Cheyenne Mountain as three sign NLIs to elite conference PHOTOS: Area athletes sign National Letters of Intent Schools and athletes are listed in alphabetical order: Air Academy Cassidy Horn, softball  — Chadron State (Nebraska) Victoria Lambos, volleyball  —  Air Force Academy Canon City Briana Atencio, softball — Adams State University Calhan Brittany Fuchs, track — UCCS Cheyenne Mountain Kyle Leach, men's swimming —Missouri Luke Martin, basketball — Colorado Christian Claire Ross, soccer — Mississippi State Cat Wright, women's swimming — Alabama Coronado Mara Abernethy, volleyball — Denver Erica Burkhart, softball Colorado Northwestern Community College Savanah Leifer, women's tennis — Colorado Mesa Doherty Ryan Pierce, golf — Bethany College Kansas Dominique Semadeni, girls lacrosse — UCCS Falcon Darrian Escobar Winter, baseball — Garden City Community College Fountain-Fort Carson Jequan Hogan, Track & Field  — Texas Tech University Jalen Lyon, Track & Field  — Northern Colorado Lewis-Palmer Brady Choban, baseball — Marshall  Jadie DeLange, women's volleyball — Black Hills State Preslee Enget, basketball — Arizona Christian  Aleyna Kennel, women's volleyball — Umass Lowell Kennedy Shelley, women's volleyball — N orthern Illinois Kailee Sunada, women's swimming — College of St. Mary's Omaha Elaine Thibadeau, women's volleyball — Adams State Manitou Springs Cole Seinknchet, men's basketball — Western State Mesa Ridge Deven Nelson, men's basketball — Air Force Chloe Welch, women's basketball — Davidson Pine Creek Avery Dinnell, women's swim and dive — UNC Greeley Danny Fuhr, track — Colorado School of Mines Garrett Niel, wrestling — Air Force Justin Olson, baseball — Kentucky Jay Onken, baseball — Utah Juliet Vendl, volleyball — U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Rampart Dawson Carper, basketball — Hawaii
Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: McKenna Sciacca, Lewis-Palmer volleyball

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: McKenna Sciacca, Lewis-Palmer volleyball

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

The second undefeated run to a Class 4A state volleyball championship was harder than the first for Lewis-Palmer junior setter McKenna Sciacca. The 2016 season was Sciacca’s first as the Rangers’ primary setter, and Lewis-Palmer was led by three senior hitters that are now playing at the Division I level. The Rangers, as they often do, reloaded and finished another 29-0 campaign Saturday at Denver Coliseum, sweeping Valor Christian in the finals behind their setter’s superb play. Sciacca finished the four state matches with 138 assists over 13 sets with just five ball handling errors. Photos: Great moments from Lewis-Palmer's championship win over Valor Christian She was at her best in the finale, finishing with an error-free 32 assists to go along with nine digs and four total blocks to earn Peak Performer of the Week honors. “Even though we were playing long points and there was a lot of back and forth, she was running,” said first-year Lewis-Palmer coach Wade Baxter. “To still get to every ball and have consistent contact and not make one single double (touch), that’s tremendous.” Winning with a new core sweetened the celebration for the junior. “Honestly, there was more excitement to build up because this year has been a lot more challenging than last year was because we lost such great players,” Sciacca said. Sciacca’s ability to consistently get the ball where it needs to go helped prevent a drop in play as the team ushered in a new group of attackers and a new, albeit familiar, coach. Six Rangers finished with between 119 and 207 kills on the season. “We go everywhere all the time,” Baxter said. “She knows who’s hot and where to go with the ball. That was a real strength of our team, our versatility.” She played for Baxter on junior varsity as a freshman, while Mariah Evans wrapped up her senior year before continuing her volleyball career at North Carolina. Having a proven setter made Baxter’s first year easier. “I can concentrate on other things,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about (saying) ‘you’re not putting the ball to the right people’ or ‘your sets are not consistent’ or whatever.” Like Evans, Sciacca has plans to play in college. She committed to Northern Colorado in February. Sciacca said she liked the coaching staff and proximity to home. Her two older sisters were also volleyball players but played in the middle. When the youngest of the Sciacca girls realized she was left-hand dominant in middle school, she transitioned to setter. Teams will frequently attack opposing setters in hopes of taking them out of system, but the 5-foot-11 Sciacca appears up to the challenge. She had at least nine digs and multiple blocks in three of the four state tournament matches, allowing her coach to keep her on the court regardless of rotation. “She’s been everything to the team,” Baxter said. “I mean, we’ve got a lot of other talented players too, but the setter always makes you go, and she really, really makes us go.”   Other Peak Performers Football David Moore III, Pine Creek The speedy sophomore helped the Eagles extend their season with a 34-0 playoff win over Golden on Friday. Moore III carried 23 times for 216 yards and two scores, averaging just under 10 yards per carry. He added a 27-yard reception for 243 total yards. Soccer Ryan Self, Calvin Yocum, Air Academy The senior classmates combined to produce the Kadets’ golden goal in a 1-0 overtime win over Centaurus in the state title game. Yocum played a corner kick into the middle of the box where it met Self’s head for the game’s only score. Volleyball Riley Simpson, Palmer Ridge Just a freshman, the 6-foot-1 outside hitter led the Bears with 26 kills at the 4A state tournament last weekend. She put down 18 balls in a four-set loss to Niwot in the opener before helping Palmer Ridge close the season with a win with eight kills against Discovery Canyon.

Blog: Thanks for the memories, Lewis-Palmer volleyball

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

If you were at the Denver Coliseum Saturday night, you witnessed something special. Not because the Lewis-Palmer volleyball team won its fourth state championship since 2013 - but it was how they did it. The Rangers faced No. 2 Valor Christian - arguably their toughest opponent of the season in the biggest match of the year. And they didn’t disappoint. Prior to the state final, Lewis-Palmer had breezed through an undefeated regular season, losing just five sets along the way. But Saturday the Eagles put up a fight that the Rangers won't forget anytime soon. Valor Christian lived up to its No. 2 ranking and held early leads in each set, but if there’s one thing Lewis-Palmer is excellent at - besides, you know, winning state championships - it’s staying calm under pressure. And even with the state title within reach, the Rangers remained composed when Valor sent the final set into extra points. Lewis-Palmer led 24-22 in the third when the Eagles forced one of the most incredible volleyball battles I’ve ever seen. Don’t believe me? I’ve broken down each point - see for yourself. LP-VC 24-22: Lewis-Palmer kill by Taylor Buckley 24-23: Valor Christian kill by Caroline Reinkensmeyer 24-24: Valor Christian kill by Courtney Lane 24-25: Lewis-Palmer hitting error 25-25: Valor Christian hitting error 25-26: Lewis-Palmer error 26-26: Lewis-Palmer kill by Riley Putnicki 27-26: Lewis-Palmer, Gianna Bartalo ace 27-27: Valor Christian kill by Courtney Lane 28-27: Lewis-Palmer kill by Riley Putnicki 28-28: Valor Christian block by Courtney Lane, Anna Davis 28-29: Valor Christian kill by Ashley Larson 29-29: Lewis-Palmer block by Kessandra Krutsinger, Jadie DeLange 29-30: Lewis-Palmer hitting error 30-30: Lewis-Palmer kill by Kessandra Krutsinger 31-30: Valor Christian hitting error 31-31: Valor Christian point 32-31: Valor Christian error 32-32: Lewis-Palmer blocking error 33-32: Lewis-Palmer kill by Kessandra Krutsinger 33-33: Valor Christian kill by Courtney Lane 34-33: Lewis-Palmer kill by Addie Feek 35-33: Lewis-Palmer, Gianna Bartalo serve, Valor Christian error *screaming* With that, Lewis-Palmer earned its 23rd straight-set victory of the year, and capped off a perfect 29-0 season with a second-straight state title. After the final match of the day concluded, I was chatting with the head of security at the Denver Coliseum about the Rangers' match. "They gave me a whole new respect for volleyball," he said. "Before tonight I thought volleyball was played in bare feet on a beach somewhere - but man, that was something." It certainly was. Thanks for the memories, Lewis-Palmer volleyball.
Lewis-Palmer volleyball captures fourth state title in past five years

Lewis-Palmer Rangers retain state volleyball title

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

DENVER — The Lewis-Palmer volleyball team has been there before. But judging by the way they celebrated with a dog pile and tears of joy after their 25-22, 25-18, 35-33 sweep of No. 2 Valor Christian on Saturday night at Denver Coliseum, it was hard to believe that this wasn’t the Rangers’ first time winning a state title. “This means the world,” senior Jadie DeLange said. The win marked the Rangers’ fourth Class 4A title since 2013, and seventh overall. The Rangers completed their second consecutive undefeated season, extended their winning streak to 58 matches and earned their first state title under head coach Wade Baxter. Earlier in the day, the Rangers suffered their first and only set loss in the state tournament but eventually topped No. 4 Niwot 19-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-10 in the semifinals. Lewis-Palmer also swept Mullen and Roosevelt on the first day of the tournament. Against Valor Christian, juniors Riley Putnicki and Trinity Jackson led the top-seeded Rangers with nine and eight kills, respectively, while junior Kessandra Krutsinger finished seven blocks and junior McKenna Sciacca had 32 assists. It wasn’t until the third set that the Rangers encountered Valor Christian’s stubborn and relentless play. It took 68 points, but Lewis-Palmer came out the eventual winner. “We worked our butts off and played for each other and that’s all that matters,” Krutsinger said. L-P won the first set despite being down by three points on four separate occasions. Midway through, high-flying Krutsinger had a kill to tie it at 16-16 to ignite the Rangers’ comeback that ended on a 4-0 run. In the second set, the Rangers busted out of an 8-8 tie with a series of rallies. The state championship was an ending the Rangers wanted all along but knew it wouldn’t be easy to accomplish, especially after Susan Odenbaugh stepped down and Baxter took over the program after he coached the school’s junior varsity squad for a decade. Baxter guided the Rangers to an undefeated season with just six set losses. “We dropped some sets along the way that we shouldn’t have dropped,” he said. “Every time that happened, we came back really strong. So maybe dropping that first set to Niwot in the semifinals was really the kick in the pants we needed and to make sure that we had to play as hard as we can and the hardest that we’ve ever played.” When it was all said and done, the Rangers celebrated as if they won their first state title.
Saturday's prep roundup: Vista Ridge football ends five-game playoff losing streak

Saturday's prep roundup: Vista Ridge football ends five-game playoff losing streak

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

FOOTBALL No. 14 Vista Ridge 39, No. 3 Fruita Monument 34 At Stocker Stadium: Rowan Neal returned to his starting quarterback position and threw two touchdown passes, ran for one and caught another to help Vista Ridge to its first playoff victory since 2012. "He hadn't started a game for us in six weeks, and he comes in and plays a phenomenal game," Wolves coach Jerimi Calip said. "Here's a kid who got benched early, but was told that he'd never know when he'd get another opportunity. We packaged him in, and he had the hot hand." Jaylen Thomas, the team's starting quarterback since late September, had three rushing touchdowns and found Neal for another through the air for the Wolves (7-4), who will meet No. 6 Pueblo South (10-1) in next weekend's quarterfinal round. Behind 20- and 62-yard scoring runs from Thomas in the first quarter, Vista Ridge built an early 12-0 lead, and the Wolves never trailed. "We stopped them from establishing the run and forced them to play our game," Calip said. "If you play your game, you can play with anyone. You just have to control what you can control." Jeffery Crittendon had a touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter for the eventual game-winning score - it gave the Wolves a 39-27 lead - and added a clutch interception in the closing moments near midfield. Since moving up from 3A prior to the 2012 season, Vista Ridge has reached the playoffs each time but fell in the first round the past four years. In 2012, the Wolves knocked off Canon City in the first round but lost to eventual state champ Monarch the next week in a dramatic 28-21 home loss. No. 4 La Junta 21, No. 5 TCA 14 At La Junta: Jon Nuschy's 5-yard touchdown run broke a 14-all tie with 8:11 left to lift defending 2A state champ La Junta (10-1) past TCA (9-2). Cade Bethany tossed a pair of touchdown passes to Jensen Hall for the Titans, whose only losses this season came to La Junta. During 2A Tri-Peaks League play, TCA fell to the Tigers, 21-11. Bethany's 33-yard strike to Bethany gave TCA a 14-7 lead with 6:20 left in the third quarter. No. 1 Mead 56, No. 16 Harrison 19 At Mead: Nathan Mackey ran for three touchdowns and had another through the air, and Mead (11-0) turned three first-half Harrison (8-3) turnovers into scores to turn its 3A first-round contest into a rout. Mackey's first score, a 2-yard run, gave the Mavericks an early 7-0 lead, but the Panthers countered on a 66-yard touchdown strike from Orlando Westbrook to David Barrow to tie the game. A 4-yard touchdown from by Tyler Keys gave Mead a 14-7 lead, then following a Harrison fumble, Keys tossed a 29-yard scoring pass to Brady Veltien. Mead picked off Westbrook on the Panthers' next two drives. First, Mackey ended a Mavericks drive with a 6-yard run, then on the ensuing possession, Ryan Lavanchy returned an interception 50 yards to make it a 35-7 game. Barrow added a 66-yard touchdown run just before halftime to reduce the deficit to 35-13, and Westbrook had a 23-yard scoring pass to finish the scoring for the Panthers, who started 8-0 before finishing with three straight setbacks. VOLLEYBALL Coronado 3, Rock Canyon 2 (pool play) Rock Canyon 1, Coronado 0 (tiebreaker) At Denver Coliseum: Coronado (23-4) won its final pool-play match at the state tournament, knocking off Rock Canyon in five games, but fell to the same Jaguars, 25-20, soon after in a one-set tiebreaker. Castle View, Rock Canyon and Coronado all went 1-1 during pool play, forcing a three-way tiebreaker to determine the 5A semifinalist in Pool 3. Castle View eventually emerged, outlasting Rock Canyon, 25-23 in the second tiebreaker. Palmer Ridge 3, Discovery Canyon 0 At Denver Coliseum: Summer Reflogal chalked up 10 kills, and Mac Russ added nine as Palmer Ridge (24-3) swept Discovery Canyon (15-12) in a pool-play matchup featuring teams making their first 4A state tournament appearances. The Bears, who earned the No. 4 overall seed but lost to No. 5 Niwot on Friday, dominated the Thunder 25-13, 25-19, 25-12. Pueblo West 3, Cheyenne Mountain 1 At Denver Coliseum: Cheyenne Mountain (10-17) fell to Pueblo West, 28-26, 25-18, 17-25, 25-12 to finish pool play winless in two matches.
Rampart football capitalizes on second chance vs. Monarch

Rampart football capitalizes on second chance vs. Monarch

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

When the Rampart football team learned it would face Monarch in the first round of the 2017 4A state playoffs, it was ready for a second chance. "When we heard, the saliva just started drooling," said Rampart senior Jared Behm. "We wanted that rematch because we didn't play our best the first game (Week 3 14-7 loss), but now they know what we're about." Rampart rolled to a 24-14 victory over Monarch to move on to the second round, earning the Rams the first playoff win that coach Rob Royer can remember. The No. 8 Rams (9-2) will face top-seeded Pine Creek (10-1) in a hometown rivalry game Friday at D-20 Stadium at 7 p.m. "It's such a big deal for these kids to come out and get that first playoff win in a while and you get a little extra motivation because your neighboring school up the street is your next-round opponent," Royer said. "And we'll see a little big extra effort on Monday and Tuesday and get ready for that game next week." Rampart, which preaches a positive response to adversity, was thrown into the fire early Saturday on its home field after Monarch opened up with a 95-yard kickoff return on the opening kick. Alex Matsumoto found a hole on the far sideline and raced to the end zone to give the Coyotes a 7-0 lead in the first 12 seconds of play. But Behm was ready. On Rampart's first play from scrimmage after the Monarch touchdown, Behm exploded down the sideline for a 90-yard touchdown to tie the game in the first minute. "All year long we've responded to adversity really well, and coming off that return, I have to give it up to the O-line, they really pumped us up and they told me you better run the ball hard, and I saw a lane and I took it," Behm said. From there it was a dogfight. Rampart quarterback Keion Cross found Behm in the end zone for a 10-yard score with five minutes remaining in the first quarter, but Monarch tied it up again with a 1-yard quarterback keep from CJ Schmanski in the second. The Coyotes stuck to the inside and rushed the middle with some success, but Rampart's defensive line kept them out of the end zone. "We've got some incredible kids up there who basically understood that they were going to be a sacrifice," Royer said. "Bryce Delaoy, Ryan Kintz, Cam White, Josh Gonzales and Marshal Ehrlin did a great job anchoring the middle and funneling stuff to the outside." A 33-yard field goal by Jack Mcreynolds early in the fourth quarter looked like it would be Rampart's game-winner, as both defenses were solid in the second half. But with five minutes left to play, Cross found a hole and went 41 yards to the house. "He's a playmaker and he's become a really good football player," Royer said. "He understands how the offense is working and he took advantage of some of the things they were trying to do defensively and got his big run."
David Ramsey: Ryan Self's head shot lifts Air Academy to 4A soccer supremacy

David Ramsey: Ryan Self's head shot lifts Air Academy to 4A soccer supremacy

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

COMMERCE CITY – The finale was beautiful, a soccer moment that youthful members of Air Academy’s team will savor for the next 50 years. Calvin Yocum lofted a corner kick that seemed guided by radar to Ryan Self’s forehead. Self composed himself from 10 yards out, pulled his head back, delivered a clean hit on the pass and pounded a Golden Goal game-winner to lift the Kadets to a 1-0 victory over Centaurus in the 4A final. Soon, the Kadets were leaping and shouting and hugging each other and classmates and parents as they celebrated soccer perfection, or at least as close to perfection as they ever will reach. Air Academy mowed through all opponents this season on its way to a 20-0 record. Self was talking fast as he thought back to a momentous moment that always will be, more than anyone else’s, his moment. “I saw it,” he said of Yocum’s kick, “but I didn’t know if I could get enough umphh on it.” After watching the ball bounce off the hand of Centaurus goalkeeper Rodrigo Ruiz and slip into the mouth of the goal, Self sprinted toward his Air Academy classmates, who were agog with joy in the stands. “It feels like a million bucks,” Self said. “I feel through the roof right now. I don’t even know how to describe it. There’s so much emotion.” But there was a crucial moment that was not so beautiful, a moment the Kadets will omit when talking about the victory with their grandkids. The Kadets were magnificent this season, but Self and his teammates came achingly close to walking off the field as the state’s second-place team. With 1:15 left in regulation, Centaurus forward Christian Nunez beat Air Academy goalkeeper Thomas Beatty with a shot. The ball was headed into the goal, and Air Academy was headed for defeat, and Kadet defender Andrew Hess faced an instant decision. Hess had no chance at the ball with his feet or his head. He did have clean shot with his left hand. Hess, swinging with that left hand, batted the ball down. Hand ball on the Kadets. Penalty kick for the Warriors. “I made a split-second decision whether to let it go,” Hess said. “But knowing we would have a better chance, I went after it. We just had to do what it takes to win.” Still, the game seemed over. Centaurus coach Lee Stanley chose Cristian Rice to take the kick. This was a strange, and wrong, decision. Stanley should have gone with Nunez, who had been sensational all morning. Rice’s kick resembled a field goal, sailing high above the crossbar. The Kadets remained alive.      Air Academy coach Espen Hosoien shrugged. Yes, he said, the Kadets would have had virtually no chance to win if Rice had buried the shot in the net. “I feel for that guy,” Hosoien said of Rice. “That can’t be fun. Obviously, as an opposing coach, you’re all right with it, but, you know, it’s a shame for a kid to have a moment like that. That ball goes in, we lose.” Centaurus coach Lee Stanley was remarkably upbeat after the defeat. Stanley said he believed in Rice. He said he still believes in Rice. “The gravity of the situation, a minute left in the state final, it gets into your head a little bit,” Stanley said. “It certainly would get in my head. It’s an unfortunate way not to win the state final.” Centaurus had matched the Kadets the entire game. The teams battled to a 0-0 tie in regulation, but it was not one of those plodding soccer matches that are exhausting to watch.  The Warriors almost scored on a header 10 minutes into the game. Self came close on a head shot at the midway point of the first half. Seconds later, Nunez sent a rocket over the crossbar. With 5:35 left in regulation, Air Academy’s Luke Louthan’s shot bounced off Ruiz’s right hand and inched slowly toward the goal as Ruiz scrambled to recover. The post saved Centaurus. But in overtime, Air Academy dominated. Turns out, the Kadets were revived by Rice’s miss, and the Warriors were squashed. Six minutes into overtime, Louthan just missed Self with a short pass in front of the goal. Four minutes later, Kristian Hooker directed a superb pass to Louthan, who couldn’t gain control. The Kadets were missing strong chances, but the message was clear: They had seized control. As Self watched Yocum’s kick approach his head, he was thinking about all the chances the Kadets had failed to convert. He was thinking about his missed first-half header. He was thinking about that penalty kick. “Everything, everything in the game was on my mind,” he said. He cleared his mind, just in time, to deliver a perfect finale.                        
Palmer Ridge looks the part in playoff opener vs. Berthoud

Palmer Ridge looks the part in playoff opener vs. Berthoud

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

“Palmer Ridge Bears, Palmer Ridge Bears. Excellence in all” so the school’s fight song goes. On the gridiron, the No. 2-ranked Bears football team was excellent in all three phases of the game in a 48-13 victory over No. 15 Berthoud Friday night at Don Breese stadium in the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs.    Boasting an offense that scored 46.1 points a game to go with 415.2 total scrimmage yards a game, the  Bears’ opening game in the second season began as one might expect. Quarterback Ty Evans found his receiver Anthony “Deuce” Roberson for a big play that set up and easy score for running back Raef Ruel inside the 5-yard-line. Not to be outdone, Berthoud quarterback Brock Voth responded finding receiver Danny Pelphrey who took the ball down the right sideline to put the Spartans in the red zone. Voth found receiver Ryan Schmad to tie the game at 7. Seemingly undaunted by the Bears’ undefeated record throughout the regular season, the Spartans their opponents on their feet, forcing a Palmer Ridge fumble on the ensuing possession. PHOTOS: Palmer Ridge (48) vs. Berthoud (13) Palmer Ridge’s defense was up to the challenge and forced a Berthoud three and out. Then it was deja vu. Evans found Roberson on a long pass and Ruel scored from the 2-yard line. On the following drive, it was Berthoud who fumbled. The Bears recovered and marched down a short field for a score on a quarterback keep by Evans. The Spartans weren’t going quietly though. Both teams’ offenses stalled for a large chunk of the second quarter. “It was just kind of mental errors on our part,” Evans said of the offense after the game. “We kept shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties and missed assignments.” Evans said his team just needed to regroup and focus. They did that on the final drive of the half, executing a two-minute drill perfectly. Evans found his receivers near the sidelines who then went out of bounds to stop the clock. The Bears capped the drive off with a passing touchdown, courtesy of a spectacular catch from receiver Cameron Colangelo. It was all Palmer Ridge from there. Evans threw two more touchdown passes, one to Roberson down the middle of the field and one to Cory McLellan who jumped over his defender to make the catch. “It’s really comforting for me to rely on those guys and it’s not just at wide receiver we’ve got it everywhere,” Evans said. “We’ve got running backs that bring it every time, our offensive line is blocking like no other and on the other side of the ball our defense they bring it every game and it’s hard to stop a team like that.” The defense kept the game in check for the most part, stymieing the Spartans’ offense and sacking the quarterback multiple times. Defensive end Zach Hester finished with five sacks. Don’t let the big numbers fool you, The Bears are just as good on defense as they are on offense. Just one team, has scored more than 13 points on Palmer Ridge all season. With a combo like that, they will be a force to be reckoned with this postseason. The Bears take on the winner of the game between Evergreen and Rifle Saturday .

Friday's prep volleyball roundup: Lewis-Palmer advances to semifinals

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Volleyball State Tournament Lewis-Palmer 3, Mullen 0 At Denver Coliseum:  Kessandra Krutsinger led with 12 kills, Riley Putnicki and Trinity Jackson each added seven kills, and the No. 1 Rangers opened the Class 4A state tournament with a 25-14, 25-12, 25-20 win over No. 12 Mullen. Lewis-Palmer had a tough time in the third set but managed to pull away and complete the shutout. Lewis-Palmer 3, Roosevelt 0 At Denver Coliseum:   Kessandra Krutsinger and Riley Putnicki were once again key in the Rangers' offensive attack, finishing with eight kills each to support Adelaide Feek's nine kills. The defending 4A champions Rangers moved on to the semifinals to face No. 4 Niwot on Saturday. Valor Christian 3, Cheyenne Mountain 1 At Denver Coliseum: Kinley Coe led with 12 kills, Cayla Owen came up with 15 digs and Kaelin Coe had 35 assists, but the No. 11 Indians fell 25-13, 19-25, 25-22, 25-13 in their first match of pool play in the Class 4A state tournament. “Of course we wanted a different outcome,” Indians coach David Barkley said, “but we played pretty hard and pretty well.” Cheyenne Mountain (10-16) also lost one of its best players in sophomore outside hitter Jackie Martensen, who broke her foot in the second set. The Indians, who earned a state tournament berth after winning the Region 11 title, will play No. 7 Pueblo West in the fifth-place match Saturday. Niwot 3, Discovery Canyon 1 At Denver Coliseum: The No. 9 Thunder started their first-ever state playoff appearance with a bang, winning the first set of pool play against No. 4 Niwot. However, Discovery Canyon couldn’t continue that momentum and ultimately lost 23-25, 25-15, 25-17, 25-19. “ We never quite put it all together after that,” Thunder coach Melissa Bravo said about the first set. Ashten Prechtel led with 10 kills and seven blocks for Discovery Canyon, while teammate Leah Lester contributed six kills, Taylor Wanderscheid had four aces, Kate Boushell finished with 14 digs and Hannah Pethtel had 21 assists. The Thunder will play Palmer Ridge on Saturday. Niwot 3, Palmer Ridge 1 At Denver Coliseum: In its first state tournament appearance, the No. 5 Bears came out with one set win but ultimately lost 20-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-13 in pool play. With the win, Niwot moved on to the semifinals. Riley Simpson led the Bears with 17 kills, followed by 11 apiece from Mackenzie Russ and Summer Reflogal. Palmer Ridge coach Jessen Miller said the loss will worthwhile for a team that is loaded with underclassmen. “I’m not disappointed at them at all,” she added. “It’s a chance for them to develop and grow.”
Friday's prep football roundup: Canon City upset by Durango, finishes 9-2

Friday's prep football roundup: Canon City upset by Durango, finishes 9-2

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Class 3A Football Playoffs Durango 49, Canon City 21 At Canon City: The Tigers were the first to score, thanks to a 14-yard touchdown by Kadin Porter, but that lead didn't last long against a determined Durango team. The No. 13 Demons went on to score 35 unanswered points to get an upset win over No. 4 Canon City in the first round and improve to 8-3. Durango, which led 35-7 at halftime, finished the game with three interceptions. Canon City scored twice in the second half, when the game was out of reach. The Tigers wrapped up the season with a 9-2 record. Palisade 27, Discovery Canyon 7 At Palisade: The Thunder made it interesting late in the first half. Jonah Isakson's 1-yard touchdown march concluded a long drive and tied the game at 7-7. But the No. 6 Bulldogs were hard to stop at home with three straight touchdowns after that, eventually beating No. 11 Discovery Canyon in the playoff opener. Palisade advanced to the quarterfinals with a 9-2 record, while the Thunder finished the season 6-5. Discovery Canyon managed to make it to the playoffs despite losing 23 seniors from last season's state runner-up team. Class 5A Football Playoffs Eaglecrest 35, Fountain-Fort Carson 14 At Eaglecrest: The No. 15 Trojans, who made the playoffs with a 4-6 record and the state's second-hardest schedule, simply couldn't overcome an 21-0 lead by No. 2 Eaglecrest in the playoff opener. With less than a minute left in the first half, Trojans quarterback Eric Donnell completed a short touchdown pass to Gabe Elliott after an 80-yard drive. They scored again with about 8 minutes left in the fourth to cut the lead to 28-14, but the Raptors responded with another touchdown to put the game away.
Pine Creek Eagles soar to 1st-round playoff win after late liftoff vs. Golden

Pine Creek Eagles soar to 1st-round playoff win after late liftoff vs. Golden

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

It took 38 minutes, but when Pine Creek got rolling Friday in a 4A first-round playoff game against Golden, nothing could stop the Eagles. Pine Creek rebounded from a rocky first half, in which two touchdowns were called back due to penalties, to claim a first-round win over No. 16 Golden, 34-0. The Eagles will face the winner of No. 8 Rampart vs. No. 9 Monarch, which will be played Saturday at D-20 Stadium. No.1 Pine Creek (10-1) entered the locker room with a shallow 10-0 lead, and senior Wyatt Wieland said the halftime message was clear: “We’re beating ourselves. “We had a slow start, I thought, but we definitely picked it up at the end,” Wieland said. “We had a few drops and missed a few blocks, and that’s on us, but execution was the biggest part of that second half. We knew if we executed the gameplan, big things will happen.” And they did. PHOTOS: Prep football playoffs: Pine Creek 34, Golden 0 Early in the fourth quarter David Moore III broke through for a 48-yard touchdown thanks to a hole made by a well-timed block by Danny Fuhr in the backfield. From there, the floodgates opened. Pine Creek scored twice more in the remaining 10 minutes, thanks to a 32-yard rush by Gavin Herberg, and a 37-yard pass from JC Coulter to Wieland. Prior to Pine Creek’s surge in the fourth quarter, the Golden defense stopped the Eagles in the red zone three times, forcing Pine Creek to settle for a pair of field goals, and forced a turnover on downs after the Eagles got down to the 1-yard line. “We knew they were a good team and the kids obviously know they’ve won three of the last four championships, but to be honest, this whole season has been about our family and how we can get better,” Golden coach Jared Yannacito said. “We told the guys to play with heart and effort, and the game will reflect it, and I think it did. It was 17-0 going into the fourth quarter, a No. 1 seed vs. a No. 16, and that was pretty impressive, these kids were playing hard.” The Golden offense couldn’t get much going after its quarterback David O’Connell got banged up in the first half, and the Demons’ passing game faced a barrage of tall linebackers ready to bat any ball down. In addition to the penalties which called back a pair of first-half touchdowns, Pine Creek had been flagged nine times, compared to one Golden penalty midway through the third quarter. “We have to clean that up,” Pine Creek coach Todd Miller said. “We had a lot of penalties and two touchdowns called back and in the playoffs that’s hard. You put yourself behind and the further you go along, as the games get tighter and tighter, you just can’t make those mistakes.”
Scouting state playoffs: What to expect from Pikes Peak football this weekend

Scouting state football playoffs: Game-by-game preview of Colorado Springs-area teams this weekend

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

** Class 5A ** No. 15 Fountain-Fort Carson Game data: No. 15 Fountain-Fort Carson vs. No. 2 Eaglecrest … Friday at 7 p.m. at Legacy Stadium. Visit GazettePreps.com for a live scoreboard and keep up with Fountain-Fort Carson and the other Pikes Peak region teams this weekend. Scouting the Eagles: Eaglecrest enters the tournament having earned the No. 2 seed thanks to a perfect regular season in which the team scored no fewer than 17 points a game. The senior-driven Eagles boast a balanced attack with 2,129 rushing yards and 1,758 passing with Jalen Mergerson at the helm. Mergerson has a .656 completion percentage and 14 touchdowns, and is second on the team with 768 yards rushing. Kenny Wanting leads the ground game with 975 yards and 17 touchdowns. Theryne Sandoval-Jimenez is Mergerson’s top receiver with 716 yards. Scouting the Trojans: Although Fountain-Fort Carson faces a tough Eaglecrest team in the first round, F-FC is used to top opponents thanks to the state’s second-hardest schedule, which one can speculate is a large reason the 4-6 Trojans earned a spot in the postseason. Fountain-Fort Carson is led by running back turned QB Eric Donnell, who has 1,094 yards rushing and 808 passing with a .488 completion percentage. The next leading rusher is Gavin Green with 630 yards, while the remaining 10 running backs have not surpassed 100 yards on the season. Jarren Sly anchors the Trojan defense with 96 tackles followed by Iosua Maika with 86. The Trojan defense also has 10 interceptions and forced nine fumbles. ** Class 4A ** No. 1 Pine Creek Game data: No. 16 Golden vs. No. 1 Pine Creek … Friday at 7 p.m. at D-20 Stadium. Follow @LindseySquints on Twitter for updates from the game. Scouting the Demons: Golden claimed the final qualifying spot in the 4A bracket with a 7-3 record and placed third in the 4A Plains league. The Demons have a pass-heavy offense anchored by junior David O’Connell, who has 1,658 passing yards and boasts a .516 completion percentage. Joe Madsen is his top receiver with 779 yards and 10 touchdowns. Scott Holman is Golden’s top threat on the ground with 426 yards rushing. Scouting the Eagles: Pine Creek returns to the 4A playoffs as the reigning state champions and earned top billing thanks to a 9-1 regular season and a 4A Southern title. The Eagles boast a more balanced threat, but the offense is skewed toward the state’s top sophomore back David Moore III who has 1,205 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. But JC Coulter has proven to be a reliable source under center with 1,355 passing yards and a .642 completion percentage. His top receiver, Wyatt Wieland, has 572 receiving yards and 295 rushing. The Pine Creek defense has 16 interceptions on the season, led by senior Xavier Hill with six. Max Lofy and Daniel Bone have four each. No. 8 Rampart Game data: No. 9 Monarch vs. No. 8 Rampart … Saturday at 1 p.m. at D-20 Stadium. Follow @LindseySquints on Twitter for updates from the game. Scouting the Coyotes: Monarch managed a 14-7 win over Rampart in Week 3 thanks to a defensive stand in the final minute of regulation with an interception on the 5-yard line to halt the Rams’ comeback. The Coyote defense has 13 interceptions led by Jack Kapushion with four. Their run-heavy offense is anchored by senior Cole Polluconi who has racked up 1,122 yards on the ground and 16 touchdowns. Monarch has just 563 passing yards on the season, compared to 2,644 yards rushing, split by four backs with more than 200 yards each. Scouting the Rams: Since that Week 3 loss Rampart has won six of its past seven games. Similar to Monarch, the Rams also boast a run-heavy offense with four running backs with more than 400 yards on the season, led by senior quarterback Keion Cross with 722 yards. Cross also has 135 passing yards while sophomore Kevin Witcher has 451 yards passing. Jared Behm is the team’s top receiver with 188 yards. The Rams defense is led by Austin Brady with 72 tackles, followed by Ethan Spendlove with 54. No. 14 Vista Ridge Game data: No. 14 Vista Ridge vs. No. 3 Fruita Monument … Saturday at 1 p.m. at Stocker Stadium. Visit GazettePreps.com for a live scoreboard and keep up with Vista Ridge and the other Pikes Peak region teams this weekend. Scouting the Wildcats: After getting knocked out of the 2016 state tournament in the second round, the Wildcats enter the playoffs this season riding a perfect regular season, earning them a top-three ranking in 4A. Fruita Monument boasts one of the best running back duos in the state with Braeden Graham (1,590 rushing) and Treyton Queen (1,054). Although the offense is clearly run heavy, Fruita Monument has 585 passing yards between three quarterbacks. Junior Zach Rush leads the trio with 557 yards and two interceptions. The Wildcat defense is anchored by sophomore Max Belshe who has 97 tackles on the season, followed by Ryan Ficken with 85. Scouting the Wolves: Vista Ridge is coming off a Week 10 loss looking at an uphill battle in the first round of the playoffs. However, the Wolves have continued to improve throughout the season as the offense has molded around running back turned QB Jaylen Thomas. Thomas has 647 passing yards and 10 touchdowns on the season, and also leads with team with 928 yards rushing. But the Wolves’ talent under center doesn’t stop at Thomas. Through eight games junior Rowan Neal has 648 yards passing and 202 rushing. Junior Carter Bussone anchors the defense with 115 total tackles, including 13 for a loss. The team’s next leading tackler, Brian Jones, has 60. ** Class 3A ** No. 2 Palmer Ridge Game data: No. 15 Berthoud vs. No. 2 Palmer Ridge … Friday at 7 p.m. at Don Breese Stadium. Follow @HughJohnson707 on twitter for updates from the game. Scouting the Spartans: Berthoud enters the tournament after a 6-4 season, including just one win in the tough 3A Tri-Valley league. The Spartans' success comes from a well-rounded pass offense with Brock Voth at the helm with 2,133 passing yards. He has four receivers with more than 400 yards on the season. Voth also leads the team with 455 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. Anthony Trojahn is the Spartans’ leading tackler with 108 on the season, while Ty Beaman has nine sacks. Scouting the Bears: Palmer Ridge boasts a similar pass-heavy offense off the back of SEC commit Ty Evans, who has 2,597 passing yards and 34 touchdowns. Deuce Roberson is Evans’ top target with 977 receiving yards, while Cory Mclellan has 10 touchdowns and 591 yards on the season. Roberson and Mclellan also lead the team in interceptions with four and three, respectively. The defense has 18 total interceptions and forced seven fumbles Sophomore Raef Ruel leads the team’s ground attack with 684 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. The Bears are fresh off a historic 10-0 season to earn the No. 2 seed. No. 4 Canon City Game data: No. 13 Durango vs. No. 4 Canon City … Friday at 7 p.m. at Canon City High School. Visit GazettePreps.com for a live scoreboard and keep up with Canon City and the other Pikes Peak region teams this weekend. Scouting the Demons: Despite a tough regular-season slate the Demons are soaring into the postseason on a four-game winning streak and come in at 7-3. Durango boast a quarterback tandem of Jordan Woolverton and Max Hyson, who have combined for 1,215 passing yards and 10 touchdowns. Woolverton has a .724 completion percentage heading to the playoffs through six games. Dawson Marcum leads Durango with 640 rushing yards. Gavin Mestas is the team’s top receiver with 353 yards. Scouting the Tigers: Canon City enters the state tournament after a stellar second half, rebounding from its only loss in Week 5. The Tigers outscored opponents 192-64 in their final five games. Canon City has a balanced offense anchored by quarterback Zac Hanenberg who has more than 1,500 passing yards and a .583 completion percentage. When the ball is not in Hanenberg’s hands, the Tigers have a solid ground threat in Kaden Porter who has racked up 1,224 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. Connor Mccain is Hanenberg’s top target with 609 receiving yards and three other receivers have more than 200 yards on the season. No. 11 Discovery Canyon Game data: No. 11 Discovery Canyon vs. No. 6 Palisade … Friday at 7 p.m. at Stocker Stadium. Visit GazettePreps.com for a live scoreboard and keep up with Discovery Canyon and the other Pikes Peak region teams this weekend. Scouting the Bulldogs: Palisade settled at No. 6 after winning the 3A Western Slope league and is riding a six-game winning streak into the postseason. The Bulldogs boast a powerful run-heavy offense led by a 1,000-yard rusher, and two more who are close to breaking 1,000 on the season. Terrance Williams (1,060 yards), Cameron Tucker (869 yards) and Austin Bernal (867 yards) lead the Bulldogs, who put up more than 3,350 yards rushing in the regular season. Although used minimally under center, Tucker, a sophomore, has 675 passing yards and a .675 completion percentage. Scouting the Thunder: After falling in the state title game last year, Discovery Canyon hit a slump in 2017 after graduating 23 seniors. The Thunder enter the tournament at 6-4 and won four of their last five in the regular season. Discovery Canyon has a balanced offense with seven running backs with more than 100 yards rushing, led by junior Zachary Anderson with 536 yards. Anderson is also the team’s starting quarterback with 481 passing yards and seven touchdowns. His top receiver, Caleb Grotelueschen, has 223 receiving yards and is second on the team in rushing with 456 and five touchdowns.   Mitchell Draper is the team’s top tackler with 109 tackles, followed by Grotelueschen with 90. The Thunder defense has just two interceptions on the season, but has forced eight fumbles and recovered 10.  No. 16 Harrison Game data: No. 16 Harrison vs. No. 1 Mead … Saturday at 1 p.m. at Mead High School. Visit GazettePreps.com for a live scoreboard and keep up with Harrison and the other Pikes Peak region teams this weekend. Scouting the Mavericks: Mead enters the 2017 state tournament as the No. 1 seed, and it doesn’t take long to figure out why. The Mavericks, the No. 11 seed last year, fell in the semifinal round to eventual state champions Pueblo East. Mead has not lost a game since, and has not scored fewer than 33 points in any game in the regular season.   The Mavericks have two 1,000-yard rushers leading the way, with seniors Nathan Mackey and Tyler Keys putting up 1,298 and 1,216 yards, respectively. In addition, three more running backs have more than 200 yards rushing. Keys also has 453 passing yards and 28 total touchdowns. The defense is no slouch either, led by Evan Hansen with 117 tackles. Mead also has 14 interceptions and has forced 10 fumbles. Scouting the Panthers: After starting the season 8-0, Harrison dropped its final two games of the regular season, and in addition to a weak strength of schedule rating, fell to the final 3A qualifying spot, and faces an uphill battle. Junior Orlando Westbrook leads the Panthers with 1,492 passing yards, an impressive .621 completion percentage and just two interceptions. His top receiver David Barrow has 854 yards and 11 touchdowns. Westbrook is also second on the team in rushing with 471 yards, but is quite a ways behind Aumiere Shedrick who boasts 1,264 yards and 15 touchdowns. The Panthers have 11 interceptions and the defense is led by Victor Ikpoh with 92 tackles. ** Class 2A ** No. 5 The Classical Academy Game data: No. 5 TCA vs. No. 4 La Juna … 2A quarterfinals … Saturday at 1 p.m. at La Junta High School. Visit GazettePreps.com for a live scoreboard and keep up with The Classical Academy and the other Pikes Peak region teams this weekend. Scouting the Tigers: La Junta blanked Pagosa Springs in the first round of the 2A tournament last week 34-0 and enters the quarterfinals on a six-game winning streak. The Tigers beat TCA 21-11 in Week 5 of the regular season. They’re led by junior Jon Nuschy with 1,047 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. He also has 539 passing yards, 284 of which went to Matthew Espinoza as the team’s only receiver with more than 100 yards. Scouting the Titans: TCA enters the quarterfinals with revenge in mind as the Titans' only loss on the season has come from the Tigers. TCA claimed a hard-fought win over Aspen in the first round thanks to a stellar performance from Brayden Luft, who ran for 193 yards. Luft is the team’s top rusher with 1,101 yards and 11 touchdowns, while Cade Bethany boasts an impressive .609 completion percentage and 1,427 passing yards. Bethany is also second on the team in rushing with 476 yards. His top receiver is Ethan Boyles with 426 yards. Brady Miller leads the defense with 69 tackles and six sacks. The Titan defense also has 14 interceptions.
Smith blog: Thank you, Roy Halladay

Smith blog: Thank you, Roy Halladay

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

I grew up watching the Phillies with my grandmother. She was infatuated with Tug McGraw and remembered the 1980 World Series like it was yesterday. She had his autograph on a crumbling little league poster framed, and hung above her bed. And although I hadn’t been born when he registered that final out in 1980, I knew the immensity of his loss in 2004 because of what she taught me about baseball, and what it means to be a Phillies fan. Today we mourn the loss of another Phillies pitcher who meant more to the city than words can describe. Roy Halladay, who got his start on the diamond at Arvada West High School in Denver, was, for a lack of a better term, our hero. Even though he spent a short time in Philadelphia, he changed our city. I was never happier to be a Phillies fan than when he was on the mound. He had this sort of calming affect on fans, because when he was out there, nothing could really go wrong. A majority of my memories from my freshman year of college are from watching that 2010 season unfold with my roommates. I moved into my freshman apartment wearing my Roy Halladay jersey. I remember skipping class to watch Halladay’s no-hitter on my friend’s couch. And the night he was announced the winner of the 2010 Cy Young. And I remember a year later watching him in one of the greatest rotations ever, alongside Cliff Lee - my grandmother’s other favorite Phillie - Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. It was a great time to be a Phillies fan - despite playoff heartbreak - and it was all because of Doc. I’m often asked how I can be so enamored with baseball, a sport that receives so much criticism for being ‘boring’. But the answer is simple -- Roy Halladay. He made you fall in love with the game over, and over again. His devotion, drive, and pure fire on the mound was intoxicating. He was on another level, and he brought the game up with him. Thank you, Doc. Rest in Peace.

Air Academy stays unbeaten with win over The Classical Academy in boys’ soccer state semifinal

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

AURORA - Air Academy's perfect season lived on while The Classical Academy's state title defense finally came to an end. Kristian Hooker converted a penalty kick and had an assist as the top-seeded Kadets improved to 19-0 on the year with a 2-0 semifinals victory over the fifth-seed Titans on Wednesday. Luke Louthan also scored and keeper Thomas Beatty made four saves as Air Academy will look to claim its fourth state title in program history with a win over No. 7 Centaurus in the 4A finals at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Saturday. In addition to that, one more win gets the Kadets to 20-0 for the second time in four years. Their last immaculate year was in 2014 when they beat then-4A newbie TCA in the finals. Related: Colorado Springs Christian's soccer offense sputters in loss in 3A semis "I think for us as a team it's a big motivational thing that we just don't want to break an undefeated season," said Beatty, whose brother Mark was a part of the 2014 squad. "We know it's something special and doesn't happen too often." Air Academy's win snapped TCA's run of four straight finals appearances. The Titans (17-2) were back in state contention even after graduating 11 seniors from their 2016 championship squad. It ended with their second defeat this year to the Kadets. "Unbelievable," said TCA coach Blake Galvin, whose team lost to Air Academy 3-2 in overtime in August. "While it really hurts to end the season this way, in some ways that we ended at this point, that we got to where we did - amazing." Air Academy took the lead in the 20th minute as Ryan Self set up a PK for Hooker. Self squirmed into the box with a series of nifty moves through the back line but was knocked to the ground before he could take a shot. Hooker finished the ensuing penalty into the lower left of the net. "I don't know how Ryan did it," Hooker said. "He went through like five people." The Titans had opportunities to tie the game in the following moments - none better than Aaron Peck's shot at the top of the box that clanked off the opposite post. Instead, the Kadets made it 2-0 at halftime when Louthan put away Hooker's cross in the 36th. "It just didn't fall for us," Galvin said. "It's the way the game goes." Air Academy was eager to turn the page from the pressures and stresses that undeniably accompany striving for perfection. For perspective reasons, Air Academy coach Espen Hosoien told his team the playoffs would be a new beginning. "It's a five-game season and we started the season 0-0," Hosoien said. "We're obviously now 4-0 with a chance to be 5-0. ... These guys mentally know what it takes." The 4A final is slated for 10:30 a.m.
Colorado Springs Christian's soccer offense sputters in loss in 3A semis

Colorado Springs Christian's soccer offense sputters in loss in 3A semis

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

ENGLEWOOD - Once Liberty Common seized a lead over Colorado Springs Christian, the soccer strategy became elemental. Liberty’s Eagles played defense, and that’s it. They made no pretense of trying to score. Coach Cyrus Salehi commanded his players to shut down Colorado Springs Christian’s powerful offense, and the Eagles obeyed. The strategy worked in the semifinals of the 3A soccer tournament at Englewood High School. Colorado Springs Christian lost, 2-1, ending a season in which the Lions scored 104 goals with their revved up attack. Liberty has rolled to an undefeated 19-0 season and the 3A state title game with a less glamorous approach. The Eagles have allowed 12 goals this season. Salehi was jubilant after the victory. “As you saw, it wasn’t pretty, but we didn’t need to score another goal,” he said. In the second half, Salehi took a look at the scoreboard and made an easy decision. It would be defense-only from that point on.  “I saw that some of their star players were gassed, and we went into what we call parking the bus,” Salehi said.  “We went into a tight block. We said no entry and they couldn’t get through.” Colorado Springs Christian coach Jason Rollins spoke with tears in his eyes. His Lions end the season with a 16-3 record. “I hate soccer sometimes,” Rollins said. “I hate it.  We were the better team and I think everybody watching this game would agree. You can dominate a game and come up short, and that’s what we did tonight.” Liberty Common took the lead almost instantly when Zach Harker scored on a far-post shot two minutes into the game. The Lions soon quickly answered. Lookens Smith drew a crowd before directing an expertly placed pass to Noah Banderas, who powered a 15-yard shot into the net. The game winner came with 10:30 left in the first half. Liberty’s Elliot McCormick launched a 45-yard shot that found the back of the net. Soon, Liberty players were engaged in parking that bus. Still, the Lions came achingly close to tying the game. With 1:45 left, Ethan Campagna had a point-blank opportunity, but his shot bounced off the leg of Liberty defender Josh Rohrbaugh. The Lions were finished. Smith took a break from consoling his teammates to talk about the loss. Smith and his brother, Kinsley, combined for 49 goals this season. Both will return to lead the Lions in 2018. “We had the opportunities,” Smith said. “We played hard. It just wasn’t meant to be. We had a lot of shots on goal, and they didn’t go in. It’s just one of those things.”  

SEC well represented at Cheyenne Mountain as three sign NLIs to elite conference

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

In a matter of seconds, three senior student-athletes at Cheyenne Mountain catapulted themselves into perhaps the nation’s most competitive college conference. “You’ve worked extremely hard just to get there, and once you’re there, you’re going to have people around you working just as hard,” said Indians senior swimmer Cat Wright, who’s headed to Alabama after signing her national letter of intent Wednesday . “I’m going to be surrounded by so many great athletic teams. The SEC is full of them, no matter what sport. That was what drew me to Alabama.” Related:   Area athletes sign National Letters of Intent on first day of early signing Doherty lacrosse standout Dominique Semadeni signs with UCCS Doherty golfer Ryan Pierce signs with Bethany College Dawson Carper stands tall in Rampart history, signs with Hawaii Baseball teammates, longtime friends sign college letters at ceremony at Pine Creek PHOTOS: Area athletes sign National Letters of Intent Wright, the reigning 4A state champion in the 100 butterfly, was joined by boys’ swimmer Kyle Leach (Missouri) and girls’ soccer player Claire Ross (Mississippi State) to sign with SEC schools. Boys’ basketball player Luke Martin also put his signature on a letter to Colorado Christian, a Division II school that competes in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Leach, who also won the 4A state title in the 100 butterfly for Cheyenne Mountain last year, visited a host of potential suitors, including Iowa, Arizona and Louisville. “My goal was to swim in Division 1,” Leach said. “For me, it came down to the team atmosphere at Missouri. Everything was for the team. What drove the team is how they pushed each other. I wanted to be part of that.” Wright, to her surprise, was caught off guard at the sheer excitement captured at the signing table, long a goal of hers. “It was very emotional, more emotional than I thought it would be,” Wright said. “I didn’t cry personally, but there were a few crying at the table, which I thought was very cool. Just to look and see family and longtime friends supporting me meant everything.”
Dawson Carper stands tall in Rampart history, signs with Hawaii

Dawson Carper stands tall in Rampart history, signs with Hawaii

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Dawson Carper is standing tall. Well at 6-foot-11 he always is but this time he's standing tall in Rampart history as one of possibly just two Rampart students to attend a Division 1 school for men's basketball. Carper signed with Hawaii on Wednesday at Rampart. The feat left athletic director Andy Parks and basketball coach J'on St. Clair scratching their heads as to whether Carper is the first Rampart player to be part of a Division I basketball program. A player went to Northern Colorado before but the two aren't sure the Bears had a Division I program then. Related:   Area athletes sign National Letters of Intent on first day of early signing SEC well represented at Cheyenne Mountain as three sign NLIs to elite conference Doherty lacrosse standout Dominique Semadeni signs with UCCS Doherty golfer Ryan Pierce signs with Bethany College Baseball teammates, longtime friends sign college letters at ceremony at Pine Creek PHOTOS: Area athletes sign National Letters of Intent Carper said he's been playing basketball since he was 3 and 4 years old and credits his mom for getting him involved with the sport. She played basketball in college as well. Being one of the first, if not the first, players from a school to attend a Division I school is a big deal and Carper cited his family, teammates and coaches for getting him to this point. "(I'm) very excited and honored, my coaching staff has helped me get here," he said. "I have great teammates so I'm very thankful for this opportunity. It's a big deal and I'm excited."
Doherty golfer Ryan Pierce signs with Bethany College

Doherty golfer Ryan Pierce signs with Bethany College

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Doherty golf standout Ryan Pierce signed with Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, on Wednesday, capping off a career in which he lettered three times. Pierce, who has been playing golf since he was 5 years old, said he always wanted to play the sport on a collegiate level. "I'm just at a loss for words, I'm just super excited," Pierce said. "This has been a dream of mine since I was really little just to play college not even to look at anything bigger - just really wanted to play college golf." Related:  Area athletes sign National Letters of Intent on first day of early signing Doherty lacrosse standout Dominique Semadeni signs with UCCS Dawson Carper stands tall in Rampart history, signs with Hawaii Baseball teammates, longtime friends sign college letters at ceremony at Pine Creek SEC well represented at Cheyenne Mountain as three sign NLIs to elite conference PHOTOS: Area athletes sign National Letters of Intent Fighting back tears, Pierce's coach Cheri Rogers praised him, saying he was a dependable team captain for the Spartans. "He's an awesome golfer, he's awesome young man," she said. "He is very supportive of all the kids on the team." Pierce thanked Rogers and his family and friends for his success. "I couldn't have done it without my parents and my family and my friends supporting me and everyone that's just helped me get to where I am now. And my coach Mrs. Rogers she's definitely just done so much and helped with this process immensely."
Doherty lacrosse standout Dominique Semadeni signs with UCCS

Doherty lacrosse standout Dominique Semadeni signs with UCCS

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

School District 11 has one girls' lacrosse team housed at Palmer High School, but assistant coach Mike Kelty says he loves when he gets a girl from Doherty. "I love when I have a Doherty girl because they bring the 'we before me' spirit and that's very important," Kelty said. For three years, Dominique Semadeni brought that spirit to a Palmer team filled with basketball rivals, and on Wednesday, she signed to play for a budding Division II program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Related:   Area athletes sign National Letters of Intent on first day of early signing SEC well represented at Cheyenne Mountain as three sign NLIs to elite conference Doherty golfer Ryan Pierce signs with Bethany College Dawson Carper stands tall in Rampart history, signs with Hawaii Baseball teammates, longtime friends sign college letters at ceremony at Pine Creek PHOTOS: Area athletes sign National Letters of Intent Don't get confused though, "Domi" is a Division I athlete, Kelty said. Since she was a freshman on varsity, playing defense for the Terrors, Kelty told her she could play at the college level. Kelty and coach Kelly Hillick moved her to midfield where she was equally dominant. Semadeni lettered all three of her years as a player and Kelty has little doubt she'll repeat that as a senior. Semadeni is excited to join the Mountain Lions and said she looks forward to being a defender for the team. "I'm super nervous but I'm really excited for this opportunity," Semadeni said. "My support system is huge. This doesn't even stop with just my parents, my dad, my mom, all my coaches are here. My friends, my team from basketball is here and I'm not even signing for basketball. So I'm surrounded by family and my support system got me to where I am today."
Baseball teammates, longtime friends sign college letters at ceremony at Pine Creek

Baseball teammates, longtime friends sign college letters at ceremony at Pine Creek

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

When Jay Onken and Justin Olson signed national letters of intent to Division I universities Wednesday, it didn't just mark the start of new paths for each. It also signaled the pending end of an era for the Pine Creek baseball players. "We go way back," said Onken, a three-year letter-winner who signed with Utah. "Justin and I have played on the same competitive club team since we were 10 years old. It's kind of cool to see the whole journey through. It's kind of unique that we're both going to Division I schools. It's bittersweet, but we're both excited to be moving on soon." Related:   Area athletes sign National Letters of Intent on first day of early signing Doherty lacrosse standout Dominique Semadeni signs with UCCS SEC well represented at Cheyenne Mountain as three sign NLIs to elite conference Doherty golfer Ryan Pierce signs with Bethany College Dawson Carper stands tall in Rampart history, signs with Hawaii PHOTOS: Area athletes sign National Letters of Intent While Onken signed letter with Utah, Olson, a fellow three-year varsity player and outfielder for the Eagles, put his signature on a letter for Kentucky. Over the years of traveling, playing in tournaments and later suiting up for the varsity team, the game evolved for Onken. "I remember when I was just starting out, baseball was just fun," said Onken, who also plays outside linebacker for the top-ranked football team in 4A heading into the postseason. "It became much more, and I never thought I'd be able to achieve something like this, to be a Division 1 athlete." The two have combined for 25 home runs and 106 RBIs, along with a 13-2 pitching record over the past two seasons. Eagles track and field athlete Danny Fuhr also signed his letter at the ceremony in the school's presentation room, officially committing to the Colorado School of Mines.
David Ramsey: Justin Smith, former Lewis-Palmer star, hopes to jump-start UCCS' basketball team

David Ramsey: Justin Smith, former Lewis-Palmer star, hopes to jump-start UCCS' basketball team

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Justin Smith could get trapped in the intimidating challenge of matching, well, Justin Smith. He’s happy to glance back at a spectacular high school basketball career at Lewis-Palmer, but he refuses to get lost in yesterday. He’s too busy preparing for his senior season at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. “You know, I want to leave it all out on the court and have no sense that I didn’t give it my all and make the most of my last year of collegiate basketball,” Smith says. High school was a long, happy sprint. As a junior and senior (2012-2013), Smith played alongside Josh and Jordan Scott while the massively talented Rangers marched to consecutive 4A titles. Related: From UCCS to the NBA - Derrick White's road  Smith was versatile and overpowering. He dunked often. He delivered two clutch blocks in the final minutes of the 2012 title victory over Sierra. Seconds after the second block, he drained a game-clinching 3-pointer.  He was winning nearly every night while swimming in an ocean of fun. “Amazing,” he says of his years at L-P. Playing in college has not been so amazing. He earned a scholarship at Division I Idaho State but struggled for playing time. He’s a high-flying, quick power forward but stands a touch under 6-foot-5. That might make him the tallest person in your neighborhood, but he’s not very big for a college big man. His right foot slowed his progress, dating back to a stress fracture his sophomore year at L-P. The foot betrayed him again when he suffered a fracture at Idaho State. He competes with two screws in the foot. Smith won’t divulge specific goals for the season, but UCCS coach Jeff Culver is eager to share his hopes for Smith. The coach wants a bolder, better version of Smith. Culver saw flashes of Smith at his finest last season, but more often saw a player with shaky confidence hovering below his potential, an understandable reaction to sitting the Idaho State bench for two seasons. Don’t get the wrong impression. Smith was solid for Division II UCCS last season, averaging 11.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and shooting 52.4 percent. But . . . With Smith’s resume and talent, a coach demands even bigger numbers. “We expected more, to be honest with you,” Culver says. “He lost some confidence going to Idaho State. He lost confidence in his shot. We’re still trying to get him to shoot it like he did in high school.” Russ McKinstry coached Smith at L-P. He understands why Culver is pushing Smith toward more of everything. "He’s an extremely gifted athlete,” McKinstry says. “He has unbelievable vertical jump, and he’s built like a tight end or middle linebacker or whatever.  People always assume the game was easy for Justin.” McKinstry knows the truth. He labored for hours with Smith in the L-P gym. Smith was blessed with the physical talent to excel, but struggles with the mental side. Smith looks like a natural. McKinstry knows that, in this case, looks are deceptive. “He worked extremely hard,” McKinstry says. “He was extremely persistent, extremely tenacious.” Smith is a strong student who already is working on a graduate degree in business administration. He’s a diligent and careful type who tries to eliminate surprises from his life, but surprises often await him, and torment him, on the court. “I’m a big planner,” he says. “I have to work at not predetermining things, at just letting the game come to you, just going with the flow. That’s always something I’ve struggled with and have to work on. It’s a tough thing to do, to go out and play the game and not think too much.” This power forward who sometimes thinks too much will fail to top his exit from high school basketball, when he twice ruled the state. Still, an encouraging finale beckons. His foot feels strong. He’s found a comrade in Culver, who is similar to most college coaches. Culver is a restless, pushy soul who expects Smith’s best every minute of every game.                   As he heads toward his basketball farewell, Smith is at peace with his soaring high school days. Those immense past triumphs, he says, never burden his present. They are blessings.         
Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Trevor Halverson, Liberty football

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Trevor Halverson, Liberty football

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

High school football came full circle for Liberty quarterback Trevor Halverson and his fellow Lancer seniors in Friday’s game at Cheyenne Mountain. The Liberty seniors started their prep careers on the Indians’ field as freshman. A 1-8 record going into last Friday’s game guaranteed that’s where they would end it, too. “Last game, might as well just go hard,” Halverson said, summing up the class’ attitude entering the finale. Halverson went hard, completing 21 of 34 passes for 279 yards and four touchdowns in a 49-14 win that spoiled the Indians’ senior night and postseason plans. Also: Discovery Canyon earns 1st state volleyball berth, Lewis-Palmer aims to repeat Most impressive for Lancer coach Marc Sites was his quarterback’s recovery after a rough start. The Indians scored first before Halverson drove the Lancers into the red zone. The drive ended with an interception on fourth down. “Him being resilient, not letting that derail him,” Sites answered when asked what stood out most about his quarterback’s performance. “The next time we got the ball, we took it down and scored.” Four touchdowns, two Ryan O’Connell and one to Moz Doria, followed as the Lancers cruised. Halverson finished his senior season with 2,201 passing yards and 21 touchdowns against 11 interceptions and added one rushing score. The Lancer offense took a sharp turn from Halverson’s junior season, his first as starting quarterback, when Liberty regularly fed running back Cole Pelt. Sites talked Mike Roof, the former Air Academy coach, into joining Liberty’s staff as offensive coordinator. That meant a change to a rhythm passing scheme that suited the Lancers' personnel. “It was great,” Halverson said. “I loved it so much. It was so much better than just handing off.” Halverson also rushed six times for 47 yards in Friday’s win. While he prefers slinging the ball around the field, the quarterback embraces contact on the run. “I’m more of a fullback that just knows how to throw if anything,” Halverson said. “If I have to run, I like running people over.” The hope is Friday’s game is not his last. Halverson is hearing from a number of colleges and hopes to garner interest from Division II programs. “I definitely think he could play in college,” Sites said. “He’s got a lot of the attributes college coaches are looking for. He’s a very good student.” If Friday turns out to be the last time he strapped into a football helmet competitively, he has a memory to savor. “That was the best way to end the season. Cheyenne Mountain, that’s where all of us seniors played our first game of high school football, on that field as freshman. And then to end it like that, that was amazing,” Halverson said. “I don’t even care about record. That game just made the whole season great.” Other Peak Performers Football Brayden Luft, The Classical Academy The Titans running back came up big in TCA’s playoff win over Aspen on Friday. The senior racked up 191 rushing yards on 20 carries, good for 9.6 yards per carry, with a touchdown. He added a 34-yard reception and a 9-yard punt return to finish with more than 200 total yards.   Gymnastics Gabriella Peltier, Rampart Peltier led the Rams to a fourth-place finish at the Class 4A state gymnastics competition. Her all-around score of 34.525 just edged out teammate Raelyn Kagarise for 12th in the individual standings. Rampart’s team score of 170.775 was less than 10 points back of Elizabeth, the state champion.   Soccer Tanner MacKay, Colorado Springs Christian School MacKay, a senior captain, scored twice to help the Lions beat Delta 3-2 on Saturday and advance to the Class 3A state semifinals. MacKay’s second-half penalty kick proved to be the game-winning goal. He had a goal and two assists in Tuesday’s win over Dawson School.   Volleyball Mara Abernathy, Coronado The 6-foot-1 senior middle hitter helped the Cougars qualify for the 5A state volleyball tournament with a strong showing at regionals. She opened the weekend with nine kills and a .667 hitting percentage in a sweep of Denver South before putting down 13 balls in another sweep of Dakota Ridge.
CHSAA volleyball playoffs: Discovery Canyon earns 1st state berth, Lewis-Palmer aims to repeat

CHSAA volleyball playoffs: Discovery Canyon earns 1st state berth, Lewis-Palmer aims to repeat

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

This weekend five area teams will battle in the 2017 CHSAA volleyball playoffs, starting with pool play on Friday with hopes to advance to the semifinal and state title games on Saturday at the Denver Coliseum. Coronado is the lone Pikes Peak region team in 5A, while Lewis-Palmer, Palmer Ridge, Cheyenne Mountain and Discovery Canyon will battle in the 4A bracket. Discovery Canyon travels to states for first time in program history Seeded ninth, Discovery Canyon enters the state tournament confident after a thrilling upset over Windsor for the Region 7 championship and punch their ticket to the program’s first-ever state berth. “Since it’s our first time qualifying for state we are kind of flying under the radar,” Discover Canyon coach Melissa Bravo said after Discovery Canyon’s win at regionals. “We’ve played some really great games this season, and some games haven’t been our best, but I keep telling these girls, ‘Any given Saturday,’ and at the end of the day it’s just volleyball.” The Discovery Canyon volleyball program was established in 2007, and had just one win at regionals in three appearances prior to 2017. The Thunder take on No. 4 Niwot in the first round of pool play Friday at 8 a.m. - a tough draw for their first-ever postseason action. The Cougars are 20-5 and won the 4A Northern Volleyball league, but as Discovery Canyon learned playing in the toughest volleyball conference in the state, it’s not the name on their opponents uniform, but the action on the court. “We are so lucky to play in our conference, but when we step on the court we are focused on coming in and playing. We don’t think about who we are playing, we just have to come into those matches with fire,” Bravo said. Discovery Canyon is one of just five teams to have won a set against reigning 4A state champion Lewis-Palmer in the regular season, which Bravo credits to her team’s fire on the court against the Rangers. Discovery Canyon is led by junior Ashten Prechtel who leads the team in kills, aces and total blocks. She has 230 kills, 59 aces and 98 total blocks - 95 solo - on the season. Sophomore Leah Lester follows with 202 kills and 58 aces. With just two seniors, the Thunder is relatively young, but according to Bravo, that youthful core refocused the team in the region title game last week. “We weren’t hitting the court very well, but in that third set we huddled together and we said we wanted to play our best volleyball,” Bravo said. “So we made a few changes to the lineup and we put freshman Paityn Kramer in and she really got the energy going. From there we were finding ourselves and really came together and played it one point at a time. I’m really proud of the girls for playing every point and making that growth.” Discovery Canyon will meet a familiar foe No. 5 Palmer Ridge on Day 2 of pool play, Saturday morning. During the regular season Discovery Canyon fell to Palmer Ridge 3-1. CLASS 4A POOL PLAY Lewis-Palmer The reigning 4A state champions Lewis-Palmer enter the state tournament as the top-ranked squad, playing in Pool 1 against No. 8 Roosevelt and No. 12 Mullen. The Rangers (25-0) are led by Taylor Buckley, who has 183 kills on the season, followed by Kessandra Krutsinger with 145 kills. Krutsinger also leads the team with 75 total blocks, including 26 solo. Behind the service line Giana Bartalo leads with 48 aces. Lewis-Palmer is in the middle of a 55-match winning streak dating back to the 2015 state championship game. Palmer Ridge Palmer Ridge enters the tournament at No. 5 battling 4A/5A Pikes Peak league foe Discovery Canyon and No. 4 Niwot. The Bears (23-2) are led by a pair of freshman phenoms, Mac Russ and Riley Simpson who have 251 and 215 kills on the season, respectively. Simpson also leads the team with 42 aces, while Russ is the team’s blocking leader with 57 solo blocks. Cheyenne Mountain Despite an uncharacteristic regular season, finishing 8-14, the Indians battled to a Region 11 victory for another state tournament berth. Cheyenne Mountain will play No. 2 Valor Christian and No. 7 Pueblo West in Pool 2. Kinley Coe leads the Indians with 247 kills, while her sister Kaelin leads in aces with 62. CLASS 5A POOL PLAY Coronado The Coronado volleyball team is likely to make a splash in the 5A bracket after a stellar regular season to claim the 5A Colorado Springs Metro league title. Ranked No. 6 heading into pool play the Cougars are 22-3 on the season fresh off an easy Region 6 sweep. Coronado will take on No 3 Castle View and No. 10 Rock Canyon, split between Friday and Saturday. The Cougars were riding an impressive 14-game winning streak heading into the last game of the regular season before falling to Palmer Ridge in five sets. Jaelyn Hershberger leads Coronado with 207 kills, followed by Mara Abernethy with 186. Abernethy leads the team in total blocks with 60, while Lacey Redinger is the top Cougar behind the service line with 56 aces. CLASS 4A POOL PLAY Friday No. 4 Niwot vs. No. 9 Discovery Canyon No. 1 Lewis-Palmer vs. No. 12 Mullen No. 2 Valor Christian vs. No. 11 Cheyenne Mountain No. 3 Holy Family vs. No. 10 Ponderosa No. 4 Niwot vs. No. 5 Palmer Ridge No. 1 Lewis-Palmer vs. No. 8 Roosevelt No. 2 Valor Christian vs. No. 7 Pueblo West No. 3 Holy Family vs. No. 6 De’Evelyn Saturday No. 5 Palmer Ridge vs. No. 9 Discovery Canyon No. 8 Roosevelt vs. No. 12 Mullen No. 7 Pueblo West vs. No. 11 Cheyenne Mountain No. 6 De’Evelyn vs. No. 10 Ponderosa CLASS 5A POOL PLAY Friday No. 14 Chaparral vs. No. 9 Fort Collins No. 1 Mountain Vista vs. No. 12 Cherry Creek No. 2 Fossil Ridge vs. No. 11 Denver East No. 3 Castle Ridge vs. No. 10 Rock Canyon No. 4 Chaparral vs. No. 5 Fruita Monument No. 1 Mountain Vista vs. No. 8 Rocky Mountain No. 2 Fossil Ridge vs. No. 7 Chatfield No. 3 Castle View vs. No. 6 Coronado Saturday No. 5 Fruita Monument vs. No. 9 Fort Collins No. 8 Rocky Mountain vs. No. 12 Cherry Creek No. 7 Chatfield vs. No. 11 Denver East No. 6 Coronado vs. No. 10 Rock Canyon Pool play kicks off at 8 a.m. on Friday, and semifinals begin immediately following pool play on Saturday, with the state title games beginning at 7 p.m.
Tim Tebow to make encore appearance at Colorado Springs Christian Schools fundraiser

Tim Tebow to make encore appearance at Colorado Springs Christian Schools fundraiser

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

The star power hasn't faded. Heisman Trophy winner, former Denver Broncos quarterback and minor-league professional baseball player Tim Tebow is returning for an annual fundraiser for Colorado Springs' largest Christian school. Already, the response is overwhelming, said Roland DeRenzo, superintendent of Colorado Springs Christian Schools. Related: Meet the 8 area teams heading to the postseason "We had almost 2,000 people when he was here four years ago," DeRenzo said, "and a lot of those people want to see him again." Tebow will conduct a 45-minute question-and-answer session with attendees of the 11th annual Lion's Heart Celebration, which will be held Feb. 6 at The Broadmoor hotel. The event is open to the public and serves as the school's major fundraiser. Proceeds help keep tuition costs affordable for the private school, which has 914 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, DeRenzo said. "We haven't raised tuition for at least five years," he said. "This covers what tuition doesn't." The event raised about $90,000 last school year, when Hillary Scott of the band Lady Antebellum was the celebrity speaker. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning's talk in 2015 netted more than $100,000. "With all the bad stuff that goes on in our world, it's nice to have a night to enjoy the good things the community represents," DeRenzo said. Tickets are $85 per person and include dinner. Tickets can be purchased online .  The event will also include a large silent auction for all guests. The school established the Lion's Heart award a decade ago to recognize outstanding contributions in education and leadership. This academic year's Lion's Heart award will be presented to Dan Bongino, a former U.S. Secret Service agent for President Barack Obama, a Fox News contributor and the author of "Guarding the President." All 10 past Lion's Heart award winners, who include Tebow, have been invited to attend for a reunion. "He'll headline honoring the previous recipients," DeRenzo said. Tebow gained attention and celebrity status for leading the Broncos to a wild card playoff victory in 2011, taking to one knee in private prayer after a good play, and displaying outspoken Christian beliefs as an athlete. He's done missionary work and been a motivational speaker throughout his sports career. More details about the event can be found at www.cscslions.org.
Pikes Peak region football forecast: Meet the 8 area teams heading to the postseason

Pikes Peak region football forecast: Meet the 8 area teams heading to the postseason

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

CHSAA officially released the 2017 state football playoff brackets on Sunday, with eight Pikes Peak region teams sprinkled throughout 3A, 4A, and 5A - making this postseason a busy one for area prep football fans. In addition to the eight teams selected in the higher classifications, The Classical Academy is still alive in the 2A bracket and plays La Junta in the quarterfinals next week. Here’s a breakdown of the 2017 football brackets: Class 4A No. 1 Pine Creek First round: Pine Creek vs. No. 16 Golden … Friday at 7 p.m. at D-20 Stadium Despite a midseason loss to Ralston Valley, Pine Creek (9-1) breezed through the regular season on the way to earning its fifth straight 4A Pikes Peak title and third No. 1 state ranking in four years. The Eagles face No. 16 Golden, who earned a place in the CHSAA playoffs by beating out Widefield for the last playoffs spot by 0.01 of a point in the RPI. The Demons enter the postseason at 7-3 and placed third in the 4A Plains league. Related: Rampart edges Vista Ridge in defensive battle to take 4A Pikes Peak crown No. 8 Rampart First round: Rampart vs. No. 9 Monarch … Saturday at 6 p.m. at D-20 Stadium Rampart is fresh off its second straight 4A Pikes Peak league title and enters the playoffs riding a five-game winning streak. The Rams (8-2) will meet a familiar foe in the first round, No. 9 Monarch, who handed Rampart one of its two losses of the season in a Week 3 defeat 14-7. In the final RPI rankings, Monarch was ranked 6th above Rampart who came in at 10th as the Coyotes boast a high strength of schedule ranking. Monarch finished second in the 4A Northern standings and enter the postseason at 8-2. No. 14 Vista Ridge First round: Vista Ridge vs. No. 3 Fruita Monument … Saturday at 1 p.m. at Stocker Stadium The Wolves earned a top-14 ranking thanks to a tough schedule and a few dominant performances in the second half of the season. But Vista Ridge, who is fresh off a loss to Rampart in the regular season finale, will face a tough opponent in Fruita Monument, who remains undefeated heading into the playoffs. The Wildcats won the 4A Mountain title and is one of two undefeated teams in the 4A bracket. Class 3A No. 2 Palmer Ridge First round: Palmer Ridge vs. No. 15 Berthoud … Friday at 7 p.m. at Don Breese Stadium Palmer Ridge is riding a historic performance into the playoffs after the program’s first ever 10-0 regular season. In addition, the Bears also played one of the toughest schedules in the class that included three playoff bound squads. Berthoud settled into No. 15 thanks to a similarly tough schedule but enters the playoffs 6-4 with just one 3A Tri-Valley win in the regular season. No. 4 Canon City First round: Canon City vs. No. 13 Durango … Friday at 7 p.m. at Canon City High School Despite a midseason loss to Palmer Ridge, Canon City continued to run over opponents with its high-scoring offense and powerful run game. But with the lowest strength of schedule ranking in the top 5, the Tigers (9-1) will take on No. 13 Durango, which despite a 7-3 record, battled through a tough regular season slate that featured six teams bound for the postseason - three from New Mexico and three from CO. No. 11 Discovery Canyon First round: Discovery Canyon vs. No. 6 Palisade … Friday at 7 p.m. at Stocker Stadium Discovery Canyon enters the postseason at No. 11 just one year after earning top billing in 3A and a heartbreaking loss in the state title game. But the Thunder is ready for another go with a young squad. Discovery Canyon (6-4) faces Palisade, the top team out of the 3A Western Slope conference. The Bulldogs (8-2) are a high-power team which has not scored less than 20 points in a win this season. No. 16 Harrison First round: Harrison vs. No. 1 Mead … Saturday at 1 p.m. at Mead High School Despite Harrison’s historic 8-0 start, the Panthers dropped the final two of the regular season as the team’s light first-half schedule left them defenseless against tough teams like Pueblo East and Durango. But the Panthers' stellar start granted the team its second postseason berth in three years after a nine-year drought. Mead, however, played one of the toughest schedules and emerged undefeated to earn the No. 1 ranking. The Mavericks have not scored fewer than 33 points in a game this season. Class 5A No. 15 Fountain-Fort Carson First round: Fountain-Fort Carson vs. No. 2 Eaglecrest … Friday at 7 p.m. at Legacy Stadium Fountain-Fort Carson is the only team with a below .500 record in this year’s CHSAA playoffs thanks to the second-hardest schedule in the state. The Trojans played nine top-20 teams, including the No. 1 playoff seeds in 5A and 4A. Friday, Fountain-Fort Carson will meet yet another top opponent in Eaglecrest, who remains perfect on the season and claimed the 5A Mt. Wilson title for the third straight year.
Saturday's prep roundup: TCA boys' soccer moves on to semifinals

Saturday's prep roundup: TCA boys' soccer moves on to semifinals

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

CLASS 1A FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS Paonia 13, Peyton 0 At Peyton: Despite a credible 8-1 start to the season, No. 8 Peyton fell in a first-round state playoff game to No. 9 Paonia. The Eagles opened scoring in the second quarter, but failed a 2-point conversion, then scored with six minutes to play off a 3-yard rush by Jaden Miller. Peyton finishes the season 8-2 after claiming the 1A Tri-Peaks title. Centauri 21, CSCS 7 At Centauri: Colorado Springs Christian battled through high winds to tie its first-round playoff game in the final minute of the first half thanks to a 64-yard pass from Jordan Greager to Grant Baker. But the Falcons scored two unanswered touchdowns in the third quarter to lock in a first-round playoff win. CSCS finishes the season 6-4. FOOTBALL Montrose 49, Palmer 0 At Garry Berry Stadium: Montrose put up 21 points in the first quarter on the way to a 4A Pikes Peak rout of the Terrors, leaving Palmer with a winless season. Montrose was the fifth team this season to shut out the Terrors (0-10, 0-5), who scored just 48 points in 10 games. Discovery Canyon 21, Falcon 14 At Discovery Canyon: A 35-yard fumble return for a touchdown at the end of the second quarter was the turning point for the Thunder, who closed out the regular season with a much-needed 3A Southern win over Falcon (2-8, 2-3). Midway through the second quarter Falcon recovered a fumble, drove down to the end zone and tied the game with a 2-point conversion, but Jonah Isakson played hero for the Thunder to punch in a 1-yard eventual game-winning touchdown. Discovery Canyon finishes the regular season 6-4 and second in the league at 4-1. Air Academy 50, Pueblo Centennial 8 At Pueblo Centennial: The Kadets racked up a 30-point lead over the Bulldogs in the first half of the regular-season finale. Zach Martin had Air Academy’s opening touchdown on a 10-yard rush to surpass 1,000 yards on the season. With the win, Air Academy achieved its first winning record since 2008 at 6-4. The Kadets finished the season 2-3 in 4A Southern.  SOCCER PLAYOFFS The Classical Academy 5, Montrose 1 At Montrose: The No. 5 Titans punched their ticket to the Class 4A semifinals with a comfortable win over No. 4 Montrose. Jake Slater and Jonny Stephens had two goals for TCA, while Nathan Johns found the back of the net at the end of the first half to give the Titans a one-goal lead heading to the break. Air Academy 3, Skyline 2 (OT) At Air Academy: Aiden Schwenke scored two goals, including one at the end of regulation to force overtime, in a 4A boys' soccer quarterfinal game over Skyline. The Kadets move on to play TCA in the state semifinal on Wednesday at Legacy Stadium.

5 area teams qualify for state volleyball tournament

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Although no area teams made it through Friday, the Pikes Peak region will be well represented in the volleyball playoffs, as five teams punched their ticket to the state tournament through regional tournament wins Saturday. Coronado is the area’s lone 5A qualifier, while Lewis-Palmer, Palmer Ridge, Discovery Canyon and Cheyenne Mountain will all battle in the 4A bracket. Official state brackets will be released Monday. See Friday's regional results here Saturday's results 5A Region 6 At Coronado: The Cougars swept No. 31 Denver South and No. 19 Dakota Ridge to claim the Region 6 title and to qualify for the state tournament. Coronado is 22-3 heading into the state tournament. 5A Region 7 At Chatfield: Palmer went 1-1, falling to Chatfield in the Region 5 title game 3-0. The No. 18 Terrors beat Horizon in the first round 3-0. Palmer ends its season 17-8. 5A Region 9 At Fort Collins: Pine Creek fell to eventual Region 9 champ Fort Collins 3-0, then later lost in straight sets to Cherokee Trail as the Eagles’ season ends at 21-4. 5A Region 10 At Rock Canyon: Rampart kicked off the Region 10 tournament with a 3-0 win over Grandview, but fell to Rock Canyon in the region title game in straight sets. The Rams finish the season 15-10. 4A Region 1 At Lewis-Palmer: The reigning 4A state champs are one step closer to another title after claiming the Region 1 championship, sweeping No. 36 Battle Mountain and No. 24 Berthoud. The Rangers remain undefeated heading into the state tournament. 4A Region 5 At Palmer Ridge: No. 5 Palmer Ridge opened the Region 5 tournament with a 3-0 defeat of No. 32 Widefield (16-9), who moved on to fall to No. 20 Erie in the second round. The Bears (23-2) later claimed a win in straight sets over Erie in the title match to punch their ticket to the state tournament. 4A Region 7 At Windsor: No. 18 Discovery Canyon earned a spot in the title match with a 3-1 win over Greeley Central in the first round, then upset No. 7 Windsor in a five-set title match to earn a spot in the 4A state tournament. The Thunder are 15-10 entering the state tournament. 4A Region 11 At Thomas Jefferson: No. 26 Cheyenne Mountain surprised its opponents in the Region 11 tournament with a pair of 3-1 wins over No. 11 Thomas Jefferson and No. 14 Glenwood Springs to qualify for the state tournament. The Indians are 10-15. 2A Region H At Simla: Colorado Springs School fell in the opening round of the Region H tournament to the eventual region champion Simla, then lost to Limon 3-1 in the second round, ending its season at 13-12.
CSCS’ MacKay scores on late penalty kick to send Lions to semifinals of 3A boys’ soccer state tournament

CSCS’ MacKay scores on late penalty kick to send Lions to semifinals of 3A boys’ soccer state tournament

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Just when things looked uncertain, the Colorado Springs Christian School boys’ soccer team got a blessing. That’s how senior Tanner MacKay described his late-game penalty-kick goal that lifted the Lions to a 3-2 win over Delta at UCCS’ Mountain Lion Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state tournament. CSCS returns to the semifinals for the second consecutive year. The Lions will play Liberty Common of Fort Collins on Wednesday afternoon. “That PK was a blessing,” said MacKay, who scored two goals in the Lions’ 13th straight win. “I kept myself level-headed and put the ball in the back of the net to make it 3-2.” The Lions (16-2) were up 2-0 after MacKay streaked down the right side about 30 seconds into the second half and kicked in a goal. But Delta (14-3-1) calmly responded and tied it up within the next 15 minutes, thanks to scores from Nathan Downey and Brandon Harper. Then, in the 68th minute, CSCS forward Ethan Campagna was fouled just inside the box, setting up MacKay’s go-ahead goal. From there, the Lions stepped up their defense — which was anchored by goalkeeper Josh Erickson’s eight saves. Michael Benthem scored in the fifth minute after a deflected shot  to give the Lions an early 1-0 lead. “No coach wants a game to come down to a penalty kick, but at the end of the day, if it’s a foul, you gotta call it,” Lions coach Jason Rollins said. “I felt like it was a legitimate foul. It gave us an opportunity to go ahead and here we are.” CSCS hopes to get some redemption after losing 2-0 to Kent Denver in last season’s semifinals. This season, the Lions have dominated with seven shutouts. In their first two playoff games, they outscored Fountain Valley and Dawson School 12-2. “We haven’t had the test we had like this for a while,” Rollins said about Saturday’s game against Delta. “We needed this test going into the semifinals knowing what it’s like going into a tight game.”
Palmer Ridge dominates Vista Peak Prep in regular-season finale, earns historic perfect 10-0 mark

Palmer Ridge dominates in regular-season finale, earns historic perfect 10-0 mark

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

AURORA - History was made Friday night. And Palmer Ridge's football team accomplished the feat in spectacular, convincing fashion. The Bears achieved the program's first 10-0 record with a 49-9 thumping of Vista Peak Prep at Aurora Public Schools Stadium. The win also gave Palmer Ridge an outright Class 3A East Metro League championship with a 5-0 record. The Bears are headed into the postseason with state title aspirations. . @PRHS_Football 's Cameron Colangelo talks about his team's perfect 10-0 mark after beating @VPPrepAthletics 49-9. @gazettepreps #copreps pic.twitter.com/QvjlYaJNa6 — Chhun Sun (@chhunsun) November 4, 2017 // Related: Rampart edges Vista Ridge in defensive battle to take 4A Pikes Peak crown "We've been working since last offseason," said senior cornerback Cameron Colangelo, who finished with two interceptions, including one that set up a score. "I think our football program is a yearlong sport. We were in the weight room two weeks after the end of last season, so I think that we knew the potential that we had." Palmer Ridge took a 35-0 lead with 1 minute, 22 seconds left in the first quarter. The Bears then went ahead 42-0 early in the second - more than enough to put the game on a running clock. Leading the way for the Bears was junior quarterback Ty Evans, who completed 9 of 13 passes for four touchdowns and 235 yards. The Arkansas commit also had an 18-yard TD run. All his stats came in the first half. Zach Hester caught two touchdowns, and Noah Brom had two scores. Raef Ruel had perhaps the night's most stunning run, as he was hit a couple of times after a short catch and then muscled his way down the left sidelines for an 80-yard score. "Raef is very impressive after contact," Palmer Ridge coach Tom Pulford said about the sophomore, who also had a 19-yard rushing touchdown. "That's something he has done a few times before." In the second half, Vista Ridge scored on a safety and a 47-yard run by Tyrese Bailey against Palmer Ridge's second-team players. The Bears dominated teams all season. Prior to Friday, they outscored opponents 412-67 and garnered three shutouts. That dominance was hard to ignore against Vista Peak Prep, which dropped to 4-6, 2-2. The Bison were ranked 22nd in the 3A RPI standings, while Palmer Ridge sat at No. 2. "It's surreal just being able to have a perfect regular season for my senior year," Colangelo said. "It's awesome. It's been really fun."

Friday night football: Final scores and highlights from Colorado Springs-area teams

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Final scores and highlights from Friday night's Colorado Springs-area and Pikes Peak region football games. For more preps football coverage head to Twitter ( @gazettepreps ) and Snapchat (GazettePreps).  Scroll down for video highlights.  4th quarter highlights: FINAL: @WeAreRampartAD 14, @VRathletics 7. Rams earn 2nd straight league title. #copreps pic.twitter.com/3khoKr22rV — Lindsey Smith (@LindseySquints) November 4, 2017 // 3rd quarter highlights: . @PRHS_Football on its way to a runaway victory & perfect 10-0 regular season record. Here, Ty Evans scores 18-yd TD. @gazettepreps #copreps pic.twitter.com/Pn6XK39AFI — Chhun Sun (@chhunsun) November 4, 2017 // . @WeAreRampartAD blocks the punt and comes up with excellent field position with 30 seconds left in the 3rd. pic.twitter.com/YLnzCxH24I — Lindsey Smith (@LindseySquints) November 4, 2017 // Close game between Ramparts and Vista Ridge. Rams pick up a first down. #copreps pic.twitter.com/K5lN6FdTdJ — Hugh Johnson (@HughJohnson707) November 4, 2017 // Scary hit on @Jaredbehm34 , but he's checked out and is on the sideline, seems to be ok. pic.twitter.com/aaWFsKJvYO — Lindsey Smith (@LindseySquints) November 4, 2017 // Second half underway and @RampartRams defense coming out hot. @jpav_7 with the interception with 10 minutes to go in the 3rd. #copreps pic.twitter.com/Bk4FuDmCS4 — Lindsey Smith (@LindseySquints) November 4, 2017 2nd quarter highlights: Huuuuge sack by @VRathletics ' Deonte Washington pic.twitter.com/0W7y13WWId — Lindsey Smith (@LindseySquints) November 4, 2017 // WATCH: @jpav_7 strips the ball from @VRathletics to force a turnover. @RampartRams take over, just over 5 left in the half. #copreps pic.twitter.com/IfsDBsocLc — Lindsey Smith (@LindseySquints) November 4, 2017 // Pregame/1st quarter highlights // . @RampartRams ' Ryan Kintz brings down @JaylenT11 to force @VRathletics to punt. Rams take over. pic.twitter.com/qeKz0pzpPj — Lindsey Smith (@LindseySquints) November 4, 2017 . @JaylenT11 finds Jeffery Crittendon in the end zone for a 32-yard score to give @VRathletics a 7-0 lead over @RampartRams . 8:59, 1Q. pic.twitter.com/GGrj4eFShO — Lindsey Smith (@LindseySquints) November 4, 2017 // Thank you Wings of Blue for delivering the game ball today! pic.twitter.com/D60ilIKZUm — Rampart Athletics (@WeAreRampartAD) November 4, 2017 // More Gazette Preps football:   Gazette Preps Game of the Week: Rampart eyes second-straight league title after running wild all year Pine Creek routs Mesa Ridge to finish unbeaten in league 3 Pikes Peak-area prep football games to watch this week
Rampart edges Vista Ridge in defensive battle to take 4A Pikes Peak crown

Rampart edges Vista Ridge in defensive battle to take 4A Pikes Peak crown

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Most people would not expect a low-scoring, defensive affair between teams that have scored a combined 227 points in the past two weeks. But Rampart quarterback Keion Cross knew it was going to be a dogfight between his Rams and the Vista Ridge Wolves in the regular-season finale. Fortunately for Cross and the rest of his senior class, Rampart's defense stepped up to hold Jaylen Thomas and the powerful Vista Ridge offense to eke out a 14-7 win and clinch the Rams' second straight 4A Pikes Peak title. Related: Palmer Ridge dominates Vista Peak Prep, earns historic perfect 10-o mark Vista Ridge opened the scoring early Friday, with a 32-yard pass to Jeffrey Crittendon midway through the first quarter. With a maneuver out of pressure and easy lob up the middle, it looked like Thomas was going to have no trouble working down the field against the Rampart defense, but the Rams' defense was not going to let a second league title slip that easily. Junior Jake Pavlica created two timely turnovers with a forced fumble in the first, and an interception to lead off the second half. And although the Rams did not capitalize on either turnover, those takeaways forced a major momentum switch in Rampart's favor. "We knew it was going to be a grind so we settled down into it and played our game," Cross said, "Our defense came up big. We couldn't really get anything going on offense, but we just kept pushing and the defense made some huge turnovers and stops, so we are really proud of them." Late in the first quarter the Wolves faked a punt, but the long pass was intercepted by Rampart, setting the Rams (8-2, 5-0) up on the Vista Ridge 45. And after Rampart's biggest gain of the first half, the Rams were settled in the red zone at the start of the second quarter. Ethan Spendlove pushed in a 1-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal to tie the game in the second. "This type of game when you can get a touchdown like that with the way our defense is playing, that's a huge touchdown for us," Rampart coach Rob Royer said. Spendlove later scored the game-winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a similar 1-yard drive, set up by a blocked punt by Seth Sheppard. "We knew this was going to be a game where you have to battle through the first and the second and come out and answer the bell in the third and the fourth and try to win the thing in the end," Royer said. His defense stood up in the fourth quarter, thwarting any Vista Ridge (6-4, 3-2) attempts to tie it up. "You have to take everyone seriously on that team so we had to keep our head on straight," Pavlica said. "I think our team did really well at holding them down, and I just wanted to see the seniors move on to a first-round playoff game and I knew that was possible with everyone working hard." Rampart will move on to host a first-round playoff game next week. Postseason brackets will be released Sunday.
TCA's Titans defeat Aspen's gifted QB and avalanche of penalties

TCA's Titans defeat Aspen's gifted QB and avalanche of penalties

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

A night of chaos. The Classical Academy roared to 507 yards in offense, but the Titans still had to struggle for a 36-24 victory over Aspen in the 2A football playoffs. With two minutes left, host TCA was clinging to a 28-24 lead against Aspen and its mega-talented quarterback RJ Peshek. TCA coach Justin Rich, facing a fourth and 10, could have gone for a field goal with his reliable kicker Hayden Cooper. But Rich took a look across the field and started thinking about leaving Peshek down by only seven points.  Peshek, a senior, had passed and rushed for 46 touchdowns for Aspen’s Skiers this season, including four TDs Friday night. Related: Palmer Ridge dominates Vista Peak Prep in regular season finale, earns historic perfect 10-0 mark “It didn’t feel safe,” Rich said. “We kick a field goal, they go down and score a touchdown and a 2-point conversion and we lose.” During a timeout, Rich called a fake field goal, which was not a complete surprise to Aspen coach Karson Pike. He told his players to watch out for holder/quarterback Cade Bethany. The warning didn’t work. On the fake, Bethany ran 12 yards to the 2-yard line. Jenson Hall scored from there, finally clinching the win. The offenses for both teams were humming, but officials slowed down the attacks with flags. TCA was flagged 14 times for 149 yards, and had three touchdowns – including a 79-yard run by Bethany – called back. Aspen was flagged 11 times for 84 yards. Aspen’s Pike shrugged when he considered all the flags. Had he ever before participated in a game with 25 penalties? “I had not,” he said. “That was a little strange and little questionable at times, but you have to work through that stuff and we almost did.” Rich pointed at the moon when asked about all the calls. “It’s full,” he said, laughing. “In the playoffs, things get weird. I’m sure Aspen would say the same thing.” TCA was led by Brayden Luft, who gained 191 yards on 20 carries. Bethany added 103. “That No. 6 is a hell of a runner,” Pike said of Luft. “And they got those big boys up front. It’s a great scheme. He’s a tough stop.” Still, despite all of TCA’s offensive output, Aspen put a serious scare into TCA. The Titans took a 21-6 lead with 8:38 left in the third quarter after a 1-yard run by Rhys Ryba, but Peshek and the Skiers declined to go away. TCA pushed its lead to 28-18 with 7:54 left on a 4-yard run by Hall, but Aspen answered almost instantly when Peshek hit Max Ufkes with a soaring 81-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 28-24 with 7:28 left. It took the fake field goal to finally vanquish Aspen. Peshek owns a mighty arm, but he’s also dangerous as a runner. He’s stocky and powerful. Rich laughed. “That guy,” he said of Peshek, “what a great competitor. Tackling him is like trying to tackle one of those old wooden whiskey barrels.” TCA improves to 9-1. Aspen ends its season at 8-2.     
Friday's prep roundup: Halverson ends Liberty career with four-TD effort in rout of Cheyenne Mountain

Friday's prep roundup: Halverson ends Liberty career with four-TD effort in rout of Cheyenne Mountain

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

FOOTBALL Liberty 49, Cheyenne Mountain 14 At Cheyenne Mountain: Trevor Halverson threw four touchdown passes - three to Ryan O'Connell - to end his senior season in style, leading Liberty (2-8, 2-3 4A Foothills) to a rout of Cheyenne Mountain (5-4, 1-3). Halverson also connected with Moz Doria, and Jacob Waters added a fumble return for a score to pace the Liberty attack. Canon City 56, Mitchell 14 At Garry Berry Stadium: Canon City (9-1, 5-0 3A Southern) finished off its first league championship in six years, routing Mitchell (1-9, 0-5) for the Tigers' fifth straight win. For Canon City, ranked No. 4 in the RPI, its only loss came to an undefeated Palmer Ridge squad. Valor Christian 42, Fountain-Fort Carson 13 At Barickman Stadium: Luke McCaffrey's 46-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter gave Valor Christian (10-0, 5-0 5A Mount Lincoln) the lead for good as the Eagles scored 35 unanswered points to pull away from Fountain-Fort Carson (4-6, 1-4). Gavin Green tied the game at 7 with a 10-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and Eric Donnell tossed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Noah Gerber to finish the scoring for the Trojans, who entered the game ranked No. 17 in the Ratings Percentage Index, one position out of a playoff spot. Pueblo West 42, Widefield 30 At C.A. Foster Stadium: Matt Rudd had three touchdown runs to pace Pueblo West (9-1, 4-1 4A Southern) past Widefield (6-4, 2-3) sending the Gladiators to a possible season-ending defeat. TJ Davis had a touchdown run and added another through the air for Widefield, which was ranked No. 17 in the RPI headed into the game. Only the top 16 teams qualify for the postseason. Doherty 47, Boulder 0 At Recht Field: Doherty (7-3, 4-1 5A Mount Massive) ended the regular season with a shutout of Boulder (3-7, 2-3) and now has to wait to see if the victory will bump it the necessary three spots to qualify for the playoffs. The Spartans were ranked No. 19 in the RPI prior to the game. Durango 45, Harrison 0 At Durango: Durango scored 38 second-half points as the Demons (7-3, 4-1 3A South Central) dealt Harrison (8-2, 3-2) its second straight loss after a program-best 8-0 start. The Panthers were No. 10 in the RPI prior to the game. Durango was No. 16. VOLLEYBALL 5A Region 1 At Mountain Vista: No. 24 Liberty (12-12) knocked off No. 36 Boulder in four games before being swept by host and top-ranked Mountain Vista. 4A Region 3 At Holy Family: No. 22 Air Academy (13-12) scored a four-game win over No. 34 Elizabeth, then saw its season end in a four-game setback to No. 3 and regional host Holy Family. 4A Region 4 At Niwot: Canon City (13-12), seeded No. 33, lost in three games to both Niwot and Eagle Valley. 4A Region 6 At D'Evelyn: No. 31 TCA (13-11) saw its season end after a pair of three-game defeats to D'Evelyn and Fort Morgan. 3A Region 2 At Lutheran: No. 35 Florence (15-10) lost in three games to Lutheran and Bayfield. 3A Region 4 At University: No. 21 CSCS (13-12) lost a five-game match to Pagosa Springs, ranked No. 33, before falling to region host and fourth-ranked University in three games. 3A Region 6 At La Jara: No. 31 St. Mary's (12-12) knocked off tournament host and sixth-seeded Centauri to start play, but the Pirates later lost to Platte Valley, which won the regional as the No. 19 seed. 3A Region 12 At Coal Ridge: Manitou Springs (13-11), ranked No. 25, had its season end after dropping a four-gamer to Coal Ridge, followed by a sweep against Middle Park. 2A Region D At Denver Christian: Calhan (16-9) lost to Denver Christian in four games with a state berth on the line. Earlier, the Bulldogs knocked off Burlington in five games.
Discovery Canyon's Corah Price, St. Mary's Peyton Richter earn CHSAA All-State softball nods

Discovery Canyon's Corah Price, St. Mary's Peyton Richter earn CHSAA All-State softball nods

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Although the Discovery Canyon softball team had an early exit from the 2017 playoffs, the Thunder are still racking up postseason accolades, led by senior Corah Price, who was named a CHSAA 4A 1st team all-star, announced Wednesday. As the Thunder's ace, Price completed the season 17-5 with a 2.51 ERA, and racked up an astounding 180 strikeouts in 130 innings pitched, and threw nine shutouts. She also boasted a .456 batting average and had 31 RBIs. St. Mary's Peyton Richter earned a spot on the CHSAA 3A second team after leading the Pirates to their first state playoff appearance in 11 years. Richter had the team's top batting average by nearly 150 points, hitting .609, and slugging an impressive 1.028. She was also the team's lone wolf in the circle, pitching 111 innings for a 13-7 record and a 3.14 ERA. Pine Creek senior Camille Lucas was named a 5A honorable mention, accompanied by Rampart's Shelby Shepherd. Related: Friday night football: Final scores and highlights from Colorado Springs-area teams Briana Atencio of Canon City earned a 4A honorable mention, along with Cassidy Horn of Air Academy, Cheyenne Mountain's Katelynn Ralston, Amber Rees of Discovery Canyon, and Katrina Robertson of Mesa Ridge. In 3A, Cassidy Bueno of James Irwin was named an honorable mention, while Mackenzie Pepper of St. Mary's round out the area's 3A honors. Editors note: Softball postseason awards don't stop with CHSAA. Make sure to keep an eye on GazettePreps.com for our Pikes Peak All-Stars and Player of the Year honors coming soon! CHSAANow All-Stars Class 5A Player of the year:  Kailey Wilson, Eaglecrest Coach of the year:  Kristen Shirk, Legend First team — Morgan Clausen, Arvada West; Kate Delaney, Fossil Ridge; Megan Foley, Legacy; Erin Kerby, Mountain Vista; Zoey LeCompte, Legend; Halie Litwin, Brighton; Shea Mauser, Arvada Westl Abbey Montoya; Korbe Otis, Columbine; Kailey Wilson, Eaglecrest. Second team — Rachel Bean, Thunder Ridge; Trisha Cook, Legacy; Jessica Espinoza, Pomona; Jordyn Hays, Grand Junction Central; Payton Lincavage, Legend; Mia Moddelmog, Fossil Ridge; Brandee Morris, Eaglecrest; Hailee Swanson, Legend; Brooklyn Trujillo, Prairie View; Adrienne Visintine, Chaparral. Honorable mentions — Christaana Angelopulos, Arvada West; Kayla Banks, Smoky Hill; Jill Bishop, Brighton; Jessi Case, Loveland; Rachel Colwell, Mountain Range; Arianna Cordova, Poudre; Braelyne Crenshaw, Eaglecrest; Minerva Cruz, Far Northeast Warriors; Olivia Dampier, Dakota Ridge; Jennifer Dudash, Fort Collins; Jordan Ellis, Fossil Ridge; Reggie Gaglione, Rock Canyon; Maya Galicia, Westminster; Rebecca Gonzales, Mountain Vista; Brandi Haller, Fruita Monument; Tori Haug, Brighton; Lainey Hughes, Broomfield; Taylor Humphries, Horizon; Alley Kim, Douglas County; Laurin Krings, Loveland; Shelby Lamkin, Rock Canyon; Camille Lucas, Pine Creek; Millenni Lucero, Northglenn; Isabel Macias, Regis Jesuit; Megan Medhus, Cherokee Trail; Daysha Mendez, Columbine; Skylar Montoya, Denver East; Maddy Murphy, Lakewood; Alyssa Nunn, Legend; Peyton Propp, Bear Creek; Kristen Reed, Fossil Ridge; Shelby Robb, Arvada West; Megan Rubalcaba, Grand Junction; Rachel Sabourin, Eaglecrest; Hailey Schaneman, Grand Junction Central; Bree Shaffer, Pomona; Shelby Shepherd, Rampart; Sarah Stamps, Prairie View; Abri Trujillo, Ralston Valley; Tiffany Vigil, Pomona; Dani Young, Rocky Mountain. Class 4A Player of the year:  Alexandria Kilponen, Valor Christian Coach of the year:  Randy Felton, Mountain View First team — Kaley Barker, Mountain View; Bailey Carlson, Mountain View; Izzy Griego, Mountain View; Alexandria Kiloponen, Valor Christian; Makayla Middleton, Golden; Jetta Nannen, Silver Creek; Corah Price, Discovery Canyon; Taylor Puga, Pueblo Central; Kat Sackett, Erie. Second team — Janae Cameron, Windsor; Elise Capra, Erie; Dana Dwyer, Silver Creek; Jade Garbiso, Pueblo West; Kendra Green, Silver Creek; Sevi Harden, Thomas Jefferson; Tracy Harrison, George Washington, Zoya Robbins, Thomas Jefferson, Rachel Rucker, Elizabeth. Honorable mentions — Miranda Algien, Pueblo South; Isabel Alire, George Washington; Kate Anderson, Wheat Ridge; Briana Atencio, Canon City; Ashlynn Balliet, Berthoud; RaLeigh Basart, Mountain View; Madi Biller, Elizabeth; Regan Bossow, Eagle Valley; Makaila Bueno, Pueblo County; Peyton Caldwell, Rifle; Megan Feiner, Golden; Kayla Harper, Silver Creek; Kaitlyn Harris, Rifle; Cassidy Horn, Air Academy; Jaelyn Jackson, Thomas Jefferson; Jaila Johnson, Niwot; Sarye Lopez, Alameda; Tatum Maloney, Mullen; Anna Martinez, Holy Family; Bailey Marvel, D'Evelyn; Brittlyn Massey, Frederick; Madalyn Massey, Frederick; Makenna McVay, Thompson Valley; Katie Meredith, Valor Christian; Jenna Moore, Longmont; Anna Palomar, Pueblo County; Cassidy Pitts, Ponderosa; Katelynn Ralston, Cheyenne Mountain; Amber Rees, Discovery Canyon; Daija Robbins, Junior, Thomas Jefferson; Katrina Robertson, Mesa Ridge; Marissa Sanchez, Mullen; Jaycee Schroeder, Mountain View; Drew Sims, Conifer; Dominique Trujillo, Pueblo Central; Arianna Valdez, Kennedy; Madysun Vaughan, Erie; Anna Veltien, Mead. Class 3A Player of the year:  Dakota Stotyn, Strasburg Coach of the year:  Michelle Woodard, Strasburg First team — Jolene Carrica, Rocky Ford; Hampton Hays, Faith Christian; Kamryn Leoffler, Brush; Brooke Polenz, Sterling; Alexis Rayburn, Strasburg; Maddy Rule, Brush; Lexie Smith, La Junta; Dakota Stotun, Strasburg; Hailey Unrein, Brush. Second team — McKenzie Connor, Faith Christian; Lauren Frink, Eaton; Celsi Jurgensmeier, Eaton, Abrianah McGaw, Faith Christian; Sydney Odle, Brush; Carly Powley, Weld Central; Haleigh Prosser, Lamar; Peyton Richter, St. Mary's; Remington Ross, Eaton. Honorable mentions — Katie Arnold, Akron; Morgan Brantmeyer, Peak to Peak; Molly Brown, Holyoke; Cassidy Bueno, James Irwin; Megan Burghart, Burlington; Laci Coen, Lamar; Bella Dreher, Weld Central; Daphne Halverson, University; Josie Hiatt, Cedaredge; Allie Hobbs, Eaton; Shelby Hoxie, Florence; Jenna Jaklich, Limon; Ashley Jaramillo, Rocky Ford; Rylan Losh, Strasburg; Mackenzie Marshall, Meeker; Kyra McFarland, University; Rylyn Nelson, Sterling; Peyton Pecar, Wray; Mackenzie Pepper, St. Mary's; Ashlyn Richardson, Strasburg; Hailee Ruble, Delta; Jolene Rutheford, Valley; Kate Schrock, Basalt; Megan Shelton, Meeker; Brooke Smith, Limon; Jenna Sutliff, Delta; Maggie Swank, Englewood; Hailey Vaughan, La Junta; Anira Watson, Sheridan; Sierra Williams, Meeker.
Pine Creek routs Mesa Ridge to finish unbeaten in league

Pine Creek routs Mesa Ridge to finish unbeaten in league

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

With great power comes great responsibility. To whom much is given, much is required. Whatever the adage, it applies to Pine Creek football. The defending Class 4A state champions routed league opponent Mesa Ridge 48-14 Thursday, securing a 5-0 record in the 4A Southern League. The win came thanks in part to a big night from sophomore receiver Max Lofy, who scored two first-half touchdowns, his first of the season. Lofy understands that if his team wants to repeat, some of the younger players have to fill the void left by last year's seniors. Lofy plays big minutes for the Eagles, a job that comes with a lot of responsibility. Related: Gazette Preps Game of the Week - Rampart eyes second-straight league title "It's a good time out here, balling with my friends. When a lot of seniors left as of last year some young guys gotta step up and when it's time to do stuff, you gotta do it. So I stepped up and made some plays," Lofy said. Three of those plays came near the end of the second quarter when quarterback JC Coulter connected with Lofy on three plays during a drive. On the final play Coulter threw a pass to Lofy in the flat, who then turned upfield and leapt over a defender and into the end zone for a score. Pine Creek Eagles senior JC Coulter (3) passes as sophomore Donald Kapustka (54) defends against Mesa Ridge Grizzlies senior Jeremiah Doria (24) in the first quarter. The Eagles hosted the Grizzlies in boys' football action on Thursday, November 2, 2017 at District 20 Stadium. Photo by Isaiah J. Downing   Perhaps the only person happier than Lofy was his father, Pete Lofy, who takes photos for Pine Creek and has been doing so ever since his son started playing two years ago. "He loves playing football and he really likes playing for Pine Creek. It's a great team atmosphere. He loves the coaches, he loves the program," Pete said. Echoing his dad's statements, Lofy said his success is built on his team's success. "Me and my dawgs came out here and we balled out," Lofy said. "We executed real well and when your team does good you do good and I just got opportunities to put the ball in the end zone." And ball out the Eagles did. Lofy scored host Pine Creek's first touchdown and then the Grizzlies scored on the ensuing kickoff on a return by Trevon Walker. The Eagles responded with a drive capped off by a score from senior Wyatt Wieland. It was all Pine Creek from there. The Eagles' defense stopped Mesa Ridge's drive on the following possession and then sophomore Eddie Kyle returned the Grizzlies' favor and took a punt return to the house. In the second half, the Eagles stifled the Grizzlies in all three phases. On offense, Coulter found Weiland on a long touchdown pass for a score. Kyle intercepted a Mesa Ridge pass attempt late in the third, which set up senior Gene McFarland who iced the game with a 75-yard rushing touchdown.
Sun blog: Fountain-Fort Carson, Doherty, Widefield football vying for final playoff spots

Sun blog: Fountain-Fort Carson, Doherty, Widefield football vying for final playoff spots

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Pine Creek, Palmer Ridge, Canon City, Harrison and Discovery Canyon football teams are virtual shoo-ins for the playoffs. In other words, they don’t have to worry too much about making it into the 3A, 4A and 5A postseason brackets since they're sitting comfortably in the top 16 positions of their respective classification. But how about the on-the-cusp teams? There are a few of those, too, in the Pikes Peak region. Let’s start with Fountain-Fort Carson (4-5), ranked 16th in 5A. To stay in its current position or move up will be difficult for the Trojans, who will face top-ranked Valor Christian (9-0) in the regular season finale Friday at Guy R. Barickman Stadium in Fountain. Fountain-Fort Carson is on a three-game skid, though each loss has been by two touchdowns or less. In the last two games, the Trojans lost 10-7 to Legend and 13-3 to Lakewood. Also in 5A is Doherty (6-3), which is ranked 19th and has won three of its last four games. On Friday, the Spartans face Boulder (3-6), which is coming off a 14-0 win over Smoky Hill last week. Doherty beat Smoky Hill 29-14. In 4A, Rampart, Vista Ridge and Widefield are ranked 13th, 14th and 16th, respectively, while Mesa Ridge sat at No. 18 before its loss to top-ranked Pine Creek on Thursday night . Rampart (7-2, 4-0) faces Vista Ridge (6-3, 3-1) on Friday . For Rampart, this is the chance to win an outright 4A Pikes Peak Athletics Conference champion. Montrose is also 3-1 in the PPAC. Widefield (6-3, 2-2) plays Pueblo West, which sits at 8-1 and 3-1 in the 4A Southern League standings. In 3A, Palmer Ridge (9-0) , Canon City (8-1), Harrison (8-1) and Discovery Canyon (5-4) are in the top 11 in the RPI standings. They appear to be playoff bound. As for teams in the lower classifications, the playoffs start this week. No. 5 The Classical Academy hosts Aspen at 7 p.m. Friday in 2A , and No. 8 Peyton hosts No. 9 Paonia and No. 14 Colorado Springs Christian School plays at No. 3 Centauri at 1 p.m. Saturday. It could be argued that Peyton deserved a higher seeding. Consider this: Peyton was 8-1 (there were three 9-0) teams and its +277 point differential ranks second only to top-seeded Bennett. There are 208 11-man teams in Colorado and only 24 have scored more points (328); only three have allowed fewer points (51). Its one loss came 13-7 in early Sept. to a Highland team that made the 16-team playoff field. The three unbeaten — No. 1 Bennett, No. 2 Meeker and No. 3 Centauri — obviously deserve the top 3 spots. But Peyton is not only ranked last among the four 8-1 teams, it's also below a 7-2 team. Nonetheless, enjoy the postseason.
Gazette Preps Game of the Week: Rampart eyes second-straight league title after running wild all year

Gazette Preps Game of the Week: Rampart eyes second-straight league title after running wild all year

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

It's deja vu for the Rampart Rams who take on league foe Vista Ridge on Friday night at D-20 Stadium for the 4A Pikes Peak League title. The Rams beat the Wolves last season for their first league title in 15 years. Now, Rampart looks to make it two in a row. Living up their mascot, Rampart has been ramming the ball down opponents' throats this year, amassing an incredible 319.6 rushing yards per game. That's a league best and the second-highest mark in Class 4A football statewide. The Rams have scored 35 rushing touchdowns to go with those yards. Related: 3 Pikes Peak-area prep football games to watch this week "That's the great thing, from our centers to our guards and tackles and we've got two pretty special tight ends, they do a great job coming out and understanding the game plan and trying to execute it to the best of their ability and when they do, our running backs have some great holes to run through," Rampart coach Rob Royer said. And the Rams are deep at the running back position; very deep. On Oct. 19 in a Thursday night game against the Palmer Terrors, the Rams split 26 carries between 13 players, rushing for 466 total yards and eight scores. According to the box score, Rampart didn't even attempt a pass. "I think it's a pretty good thing for us. Being able to spread the ball out and not just have one single weapon in the backfield, it's been a big advantage for us this year," Royer said. "Whether that's Keion Cross or Jared Behm or Seth Sheppard, Ethan Spendlove, Jake Pavlica. We've got a lot of kids who can tote the rock real well." The Rams' physicality isn't limited to offense, defensively they are just as tough. They lead the Pikes Peak League in sacks and are tied with Vista Ridge for most interceptions. In nine games, only two teams have scored more than 20 points and the Rams have held five teams to less than 10 points. The Wolves match up well with the Rams, however. They lead the league in tackles this season and are second in rushing yards per game (229), rushing touchdowns (22) and total touchdowns (41 to Rampart's 42). Vista Ridge's offense has found a rhythm as well. It has scored 35, 54 and 63 points in the past three games. Spendlove, who is one of the Rams' leading tacklers as an outside linebacker, isn't daunted by Vista Ridge's numbers and said his game plan is to stick with what he's done all year. "Again just keep pushing through adversity as it comes and just do as we do every game," he said. As the Rams are on the doorstep of a second-straight league title, Royer, who is entering his fourth year as Rampart's coach, said he's proud of the players his seniors have become. "The good thing about these kids is that it's my fourth year here, it's their senior year so we've had them for four years and what we're seeing this year is the product of their hard work over four years and super proud of that leadership and what they've become on the field and more importantly in the classroom," he said.
Three Pikes Peak-area prep football games to watch this week

3 Pikes Peak-area prep football games to watch this week

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

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. Where:  TCA 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. Related: Rampart eyes second-straight league title after running wild all year 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.