Saturday prep football playoffs preview

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Saturday means more playoff games, more football action, and more teams taking a step closer to a state title.

Rampart gets another chance to take on Monarch in their round-one playoff game. This is a special matchup because these two teams have already faced each other this season. Monarch inched ahead of the Rams in week two 14-7, but the Rams are riding their hot five-game win streak into Saturday. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. at D-20 Stadium.

Head coach Rob Royer says his team is ready to play.

“It is a good thing we have had a little adversity throughout the year with two losses to some pretty dang good teams, one of them being Monarch,” he said. “To be able to come out and be 5-0 in the league is really giving these kids a bolster and a little bit of swag going into our first-round playoff game. Monarch is a great football team with a lot of tradition, with a great head coach. We need to come out and continue to be physical with them. Our defense is doing a great job. Our offense, this time, will have a full blow. It will be an exciting game on Saturday.”

The Panthers have a tough draw slipping into the 3A playoffs at the 16-seed. They will face Mead Saturday. The Panthers started 8-0, but when facing their toughest tests, dropped the final two games of the season. Still, Orlando Westbrook, who has notched in 26 touchdowns this season, and running back Aumiere Shedrick will be tough to defend. The Panthers stand by. The Mavericks should be ready for them.

“Working on coming together as a family,” Harrison senior free safety Sergio Alvarado said. “Working really hard in practice. Adjusting what we have to, so we play well on Saturday.”

“We are clicking offensively,” Harrison head coach Al Melo said. “We are very balanced. Our quarterback, Orlando Westbrook, has accounted for 26 touchdowns. Our tailback, Aumiere Shedrick, has accounted for 16. So through the air or on the ground, we are balanced. That is what we bring to the table.”

Vista Ridge will also battle on Saturday for a spot in the 4A quarterfinals when they travel to take on Fruita Monument. The Wolves and the Wildcats are both known for racking up some serious points, so it could prove to be a big-time shootout game.

The Wolves bring their balanced air and ground game into Saturday. Head coach Jeremy Calip said this, paired with the tests during the regular season, has prepared them for this point.

“I think our schedule that we have played up to this point, you know, we played a pretty good schedule, so I think it has prepared us for playoffs,” Calip said. “We put the work in, and now our guys just need to go up there and compete and get ready to play a physical football game against a good team.”

Pueblo South is heading into the playoffs fired up, coming off a dominant win over Ponderosa, who seemed to have the title all but locked up most of the regular season. Let’s just say the Colts are here to play. They are running full throttle into their game against Montrose.

The Colts are 9-1–their only loss coming to West early in the season. Defense could be the difference maker in this game out at Dutch Clark. Both South and Montrose are known to put up some serious offensive points.

“Our kids are excited to be in the playoffs,” South head coach Ryan Goddard said. “I think our kids are proud of the accomplishment they had last week and winning the league title. I think our kids expected they would compete hard all year, and they worked for that, and those are things we are excited about.”

“I think we just need to stick to our game plan and do what we do,” South senior quarterback Zach Cozzolino said. “Keep our heads on, and we will be fine. Definitely in the playoffs you cannot take anything for granted, and we just need to keep working hard.”

On another side of Pueblo, fourth-seeded West Cyclones will look to defend their turf against the 13-seed Standley Lake. West has played well all season. With blowout wins down the stretch, they can score. Their lone loss this season came against Pine Creek, and if they keep winning, they could meet again in the semifinals.

“We play a pretty tough schedule, and that is by design,” head coach Monte Pinkerton said. “We want to put ourselves in a position for a chance to win playoff games. The toughest competition during the season can get you ready for that.”

“Just trying to up the intensity a lot and try to stay focused with our plays and everything,” senior lineman Garrett Cassio said. “We just need to take it one play at a time and get ready for Standley Lake.”

TCA Titans will travel to La Junta Saturday–a matchup that we have already seen this season. La Junta won 21-11 back on September 29. Both teams are bringing league titles and a playoff win under their belt.

The winner will play either Platte Valley or Eaton in the semifinals next week.

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