9 Colorado high school football games to watch in Week 1 – The Denver Post


Class 5A

4A No. 5 Loveland (10-2) vs. Fossil Ridge (5-6)*

When/where: 7 p.m. Thursday at Timnath Stadium

Last meeting: Loveland 28, at Fossil Ridge 10, Oct. 30, 2009

After a promising finish to last season (4-2 in last six games), the SaberCats enter the 2022 season looking to produce their first winning campaign since 2016. Quarterback Tyler Kubat (3,116 yards, 27 TDs in ’21) is back taking snaps, with a multitude of weapons at his disposal, including rangy receiver Mac Busteed (1,154 yards, 11 TDs). A Week 1 date with Loveland, consistently one of Class 4A’s top defensive teams, offers the perfect barometer.

No. 4 Regis Jesuit (8-4) vs. No. 2 Valor Christian (13-1)

When/where: 7 p.m. Friday at Valor Stadium

Last meeting: Valor 24, at Regis Jesuit 6, Aug. 27, 2021

The state’s top private school football powers meet in Week 1 for the second straight year, providing an early glimpse at the 5A pecking order. Valor lost a significant amount of production from last year’s 5A runner-up squad and has a new leader — former Chatfield coach Bret McGatlin. On the other side, Regis brings back dual threat QB Exander Carroll, CU-bound tight end Andrew Metzger and Nebraska linebacker Hayden Moore as it looks to replace Valor as the leading threat to Cherry Creek’s 5A hegemony.

5A No. 8 Legend (11-2) vs. 4A No. 6 Vista Ridge (7-4)

When/where: 7 p.m. Friday at Vista Ridge

Last meeting: Vista Ridge 46, vs. Legend 0, Oct. 3, 2008

Legend coach Monte Thelen’s methodical rebuild has produced four consecutive playoff campaigns in Parker, including back-to-back 5A state semifinals trips over the past two years. Now comes the hard part: Maintaining that success now that the Titans must replace all but two starters. Up first is a matchup with perhaps the best passing tandem in the state: Arizona-bound quarterback Brayden Dorman and Washington State wide receiving pledge Brandon Hills.

No. 1 Cherry Creek (12-2) vs. No. 6 Ralston Valley (9-3)

When/where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at NAAC Stadium

Last meeting: Cherry Creek 24, vs. Ralston Valley 16, Nov. 16, 2018

For the first time in program history, Ralston Valley will take the field without Matt Loyd as its coach. Now, it’s former Golden boss Jared Yannacito’s team, and he gets the most challenging introduction to 5A football imaginable: the three-time defending 5A champion Bruins. Creek begins the season as the unanimous No. 1 team in the CHSAANow.com rankings, its roster loaded with FBS talent as head coach Dave Logan enters his 11th season in Greenwood Village.

Class 4A

No. 4 Palmer Ridge (10-2) vs. No. 2 Montrose (12-1)

When/where: 6 p.m. Friday at Montrose

Last meeting: Montrose 28, at Palmer Ridge 21, Oct. 1, 2021

Months after seeing its bid for perfection end in the state semifinals, the Red Hawks host Palmer Ridge in a season-opening showdown of expected 4A contenders. The Red Hawks spent much of last season running over everything in their path, but with four of their top five rushers lost to graduation, new impact players must emerge. Palmer Ridge also has some reloading to do, but with QB Derek Hester (2,345 yards, 25 TDs passing) back, big things are expected.

No. 7 Ponderosa (7-5) vs. No. 1 Erie (13-1)

When/where: 7 p.m. Friday at Erie

Last meeting: N/A

Erie begin its quest to return to the 4A state championship with a home matchup against one of the most consistent contenders in the classification. The Mustangs have reached the playoffs eight straight seasons, but are coming off a 7-5 season that saw them lose four of their last six games. The Tigers, meanwhile, fell a Hail Mary short of the 4A crown, but return quarterback Blake Barnett, one of three QBs in the state to surpass 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing last fall.

No. 3 Dakota Ridge (11-1) vs. No. 9 Pueblo West (1-0 in 2022)

When/where: 7 p.m. Friday at Pueblo West

Last meeting: Pueblo West 31, at Dakota Ridge 7, Sept. 22, 2017

No, that’s not a misprint. The Cyclones are one of four teams who’ve already played one regular season game this year — a 42-22 demolition of Grand Junction that saw them churn out 382 yards of offense. Now they get a Dakota Ridge team that hasn’t lost in the regular season since Week 10 of the 2019 season. Keep an eye on senior running back Noah Triplett, who ran for 1,551 yards and 28 touchdowns last fall.

Class 3A

No. 7 Palisade (9-3) vs. No. 2 Roosevelt (12-1)

When/where: 6 p.m. Friday at Roosevelt

Last meeting: Palisade 17, vs. Roosevelt 14, Nov. 11, 2017


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