No. 6 Grandview (2-1) vs. 4A No. 4 Fruita Monument (3-0)
When/where: 6 p.m. Thursday at Stocker Stadium
Last meeting: Grandview 38, vs. Fruita Monument 0, Nov. 3, 2007
A week after falling to Ralston Valley in a back-and-forth affair, Grandview heads to the Western Slope to take on an emerging 4A contender. The Wildcats couldn’t have been more impressive in their 30-14 dismantling of 4A No. 8 Montrose in Week 2, piling up 295 yards and four TDs on the ground. Now comes a date with QB Liam Szarka (895 total yards, 12 TDs passing/running) and a Wolves defense looking to atone for last week’s 33-21 loss to RV.
No. 4 Ralston Valley (2-1) vs. No. 2 Regis Jesuit (2-1)
When/where: 7 p.m. Thursday at Kellogg Stadium
Last meeting: N/A
Who’s the biggest threat to Cherry Creek in 5A? The result of this game could provide an answer. Both Regis Jesuit and Ralston Valley already have impressive wins on their resumes, with Regis winning at Valor Christian 23-17 in OT in Week 1 and Ralston Valley coming out on top at Grandview last week. Neither team gives much ground on defense, and both are in the midst of brutal starts to the schedule that included trips out of state and two other games against ranked teams.
Arvada West (2-1) vs. No. 1 Cherry Creek (2-1)
When/where: 7 p.m. Friday at Stutler Bowl
Last meeting: Cherry Creek 52, vs. Arvada West 21, Sept. 17, 2021
After letting a second-half lead slip at ThunderRidge in Week 1, A-West responded with a pair of blowout wins over Boulder (56-0) and Horizon (35-13). Now comes the toughest test in 5A: the three-time defending state champion Bruins. A-West QB Ethan Cook has lived up to lofty preseason expectations, with 830 yards and 11 TDs on 50-of-83 passing through three games. But will he have time to work against Creek’s big and talented defensive line? A tall task awaits on Creek’s homecoming.
Arapahoe (2-1) vs. No. 3 Columbine (3-0)
When/where: 7 p.m. Friday at Jeffco Stadium
Last meeting: Arapahoe 49, vs. Columbine 28, Sept. 26, 2013
Columbine has yet to feel late-game pressure three weeks into the season, with a string of double-digit wins leading to a 112-33 point differential. Josh Snyder and Marquane Taylor give the Rebels a strong 1-2 punch in the backfield, but moving the ball against Arapahoe is no easy task. Regis Jesuit learned that a week ago, scoring just two offensive touchdowns in a hard-fought 23-10 win. The Columbine defense (14 points allowed over last two games) is just as stingy.
Liberty (Peoria, Ariz.) (2-0) vs. No. 5 Valor Christian (2-1)
When/where: 7 p.m. Friday at Valor Stadium
Last meeting: N/A
For the second year in a row, Valor welcomes an out-of-state power into its backyard. A year ago, it was Eastside Catholic of Sammamish, Wash., who the Eagles spanked, 41-0. This year, it’s Liberty, a top-10 team in the highest classification in Arizona and a state semifinalist last fall. The Eagles have already played a pair of state-ranked teams in Regis Jesuit and Pine Creek, splitting the two games, and got untracked offensively in last week’s 38-15 win (395 total yards) over previously unbeaten Fairview.
No. 7 Legend (3-0) vs. 4A No. 1 Ponderosa (3-0)
When/where: 7 p.m. Friday at EchoPark Stadium
Last meeting: Legend 42, vs. Ponderosa 0, Aug. 27, 2021
The definitive Parker high school football rivalry has been all Titans the past three meetings, especially in last season’s Week 1 rout. This is a different Ponderosa team, however. The Mustangs have a dangerous dual threat QB in Zach Stryker (738 total yards, 12 TDs) at the helm of one of the most explosive offenses in 4A (46.3 points/game). But can they keep up with Legend? The Titans have topped 40 points three straight weeks and their senior QB John Brookhart (533 yards, eight TDs on 57.1% passing) isn’t too shabby himself.
No. 6 Denver South (3-0) vs. Golden (1-2)
When/where: 4 p.m. Friday at NAAC Stadium
Last meeting: Golden 21, at Denver South 10, Sept. 27, 2019
The NAAC Stadium scoreboard operator could be in for a stressful evening, because this one is bound to produce offensive fireworks. South features one of the most dynamic passing combinations in the state in QB Joseph Capra (880 total yards) and WR Rashad Caldwell (10 catches, 201 yards, five TDs), while Golden is led by dual threat signal caller Jazel Riley IV (650 total yards, seven TDs). South has score 45-plus points in all three of its wins, so it’s on the Demons to keep up.
No. 10 Erie (1-2) vs. No. 3 Broomfield (3-0)
When/where: 7 p.m. Friday at Elizabeth Kennedy Stadium
Last meeting: Erie 49, vs. Broomfield 21, Oct. 22, 2021
Erie entered the season ranked No. 1 in 4A, yet the Tigers are now staring at the possibility of being dealt their third loss before league play even begins. The main problem: Their defense has struggled to come up with stops against a daunting schedule. Things get no easier this weekend with Broomfield’s 55.6-points-per-game attack next up. Senior QB Cole LaCrue (836 total yards, 13 TDs passing/rushing) is surrounded by weapons, including tailback Ryland Boehmer (47 carriers, 313 yards), and the third-year starter knows how to use them.
No. 2 Lutheran (2-1) vs. No. 7 Pueblo East (3-0)
When/where: 7 p.m. Thursday at Dutch Clark Stadium
Last meeting: N/A
Since dropping its season opener to its Lutheran counterpart from St. Peters, Mo., the Lions have been dominant on defense, allowing just one touchdown over the past two weeks. That included a 50-0 shutout of Discovery Canyon last week that saw the Lions record 23 tackles for loss — six coming from junior defensive lineman Landen Mroczek alone. Translation: Pueblo East sophomore QB Zayden Stevens (607 yards, five TDs on 57.4% passing) will have his hands full.