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:
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.
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.
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.
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.