(Photo by Andy Colwell/ Special to The Denver Post) Junior quarterback Logan Dearment and Columbine (10-1) host Regis Jesuit (10-1) on Friday night in the Class 5A quarterfinals at Jeffco Stadium.
Denver Post preps editor Kyle Newman breaks down the biggest games to watch in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A and Class 4A playoffs this week. The season culminates with the state championship games at Sports Authority Field on Dec. 2.
Fairview (10-1) at Pomona (9-2), Friday 7 p.m., North Area Athletic Complex: Two well-coached programs battle as Tom McCartney and the No. 5 Knights head to Arvada to take on Jay Madden and the No. 4 Panthers. The game features two of the classification’s marquee senior tailbacks in Fairview’s Mariano Kemp and Pomona’s Max Borghi, although the Knights’ defense will have to find answers for the Panthers’ other array of playmakers in order to pull off the upset. Listen to this game live on Post Preps Radio.
Regis Jesuit (10-1) at Columbine (10-1), Friday 7 p.m., Jeffco Stadium: The No. 3 Rebels sent the No. 6 Raiders packing in the 2015 quarterfinals — Regis Jesuit coach Danny Filleman’s first year in Aurora — and a few falls later, the postseason rematch between the powerhouses comes down to ball control. Senior tailback Ted Mullin and the Rebels have a tendency to play keep away, but senior linebacker Tama Tuitele and the Raiders have also proven to be one of the best run-stopping units in the state.
Cherry Creek (9-2) at Eaglecrest (11-0), Saturday 1 p.m., Legacy Stadium: Each team’s secondary will be critical considering the seasoned quarterbacks, the Bruins’ Alex Padilla and the Raptors’ Jalen Mergerson, at the controls. In particular, Cherry Creek senior corner Christopher Ditzenberger and Eaglecrest senior safety Corey Corbin must keep locking down wideouts in addition to providing tackling in the second level in order to limit big running plays. Listen to this game live on Post Preps Radio.
Chatfield (10-1) at Pueblo West (10-1), Saturday 1 p.m., Cyclone Stadium: Both the No. 5 Chargers and No. 4 Cyclones are coming off blowouts, and both put together regular seasons that speak to their championship potential. Pueblo West’s backfield duo of Pierre Taylor and Nieyeme Smeyer-Williams has only been kept in check once this year, in a 21-14 loss to defending champion and top-seeded Pine Creek on Oct. 12. Senior wideouts Cole Ingersoll and Keland Rumsey provide Chatfield with plenty of big-play potential.
Pueblo South (10-1) at Vista Ridge (7-4), Saturday 1 p.m., Vista Ridge High School: Despite being a lower seed, the No. 14 Wolves get to host following their upset of previously unbeaten No. 3 Fruita Monument in the opening round. Senior running back Jaylen Thomas and junior quarterback Rowan Neal are crucial for the Wolves, while the No. 6 Colts’ offensive firepower is complemented by a stout defense that looked in prime postseason shape with just one touchdown surrendered in a thrashing of Montrose last week.
Loveland (11-0) at Broomfield (7-4), Saturday 1 p.m., Elizabeth Kennedy Stadium: Both teams roll into the quarterfinals with plenty of momentum, as the No. 7 Indians blasted No. 10 Ponderosa and the No. 15 Eagles went on the road to upset No. 2 Windsor. Loveland defeated Broomfield, 28-21, on Oct. 6 in a game where the Indians held off an Eagles’ comeback, and star power will play big in the postseason rematch, for Indians junior tailback Zach Weinmaster and Broomfield senior tailback Mitchell Gorman each have the potential to single-handedly win the game.