9 Colorado High School Football Games To Watch In Week 1 – The Denver Post
4A No. 5 Loveland (10-2) vs. Fossil Ridge (5-6)*
When or: 7 p.m. Thursday at Timnath Stadium
Last meeting: Loveland 28, at Fossil Ridge 10, October 30, 2009
After a promising end to last season (4-2 in the 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 touchdowns in 21) is back taking shots, with a multitude of weapons at his disposal, including lanky receiver Mac Busteed (1,154 yards, 11 TDs). A Week 1 date with Loveland, still one of the best defensive teams in Class 4A, provides the perfect barometer.
No. 4 Regis Jesuit (8-4) vs. No. 2 Valor Christian (13-1)
When or: 7 p.m. Friday at the Stade de la Valeur
Last meeting: Valor 24, at Regis Jesuit 6, August 27, 2021
The state’s top private school football powerhouses come together in Week 1 for the second year in a row, providing a first look at the 5A pecking order. Valor have lost a significant amount of production from last year’s 5A finalist squad and have a new leader – former Chatfield manager 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 he seeks to replace Valor as the main threat to the 5A hegemony of Cherry Creek.
5A No. 8 Legend (11-2) vs. 4A No. 6 Vista Ridge (7-4)
When or: 7 p.m. Friday at Vista Ridge
Last meeting: Vista Ridge 46, against Legend 0, October 3, 2008
Legendary coach Monte Thelen’s methodical rebuild has produced four straight playoff campaigns for Parker, including back-to-back 5A state semifinals the past two years. Now comes the hardest part: sustaining that success now that the Titans have to replace all but two starters. First, a game featuring perhaps the best passing tandem in the state: Arizona-bound quarterback Brayden Dorman and Washington statewide receiving commitment Brandon Hills.
No. 1 Cherry Creek (12-2) vs. No. 6 Ralston Valley (9-3)
When or: 7:30 p.m. Friday at NAAC Stadium
Last meeting: Cherry Creek 24, vs. Ralston Valley 16, November 16, 2018
For the first time in program history, Ralston Valley will take the field without Matt Loyd as coach. Now it’s former Golden boss Jared Yannacito’s team, and he’s getting the toughest introduction to 5A football imaginable: the Bruins, three-time defending 5A champions. Creek begins the season as the unanimous No. 1 team in the CHSAANow.com rankings, its loaded roster of FBS talent as head coach Dave Logan enters his 11th season in Greenwood Village.
Palmer Ridge No. 4 (10-2) vs. Montrose No. 2 (12-1)
When or: 6 p.m. Friday at Montrose
Last meeting: Montrose 28, at Palmer Ridge 21, October 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 need to emerge. Palmer Ridge also has some reloading to do, but with QB Derek Hester (2,345 yards, 25 passing touchdowns) back, big things are in store.
No. 7 Ponderosa (7-5) vs. No. 1 Erie (13-1)
When or: 7 p.m. Friday at Erie
Last meeting: N / A
Erie begins its quest to return to the 4A State Championship with a home game against one of the most consistent contenders in the standings. The Mustangs have reached the playoffs eight straight seasons, but are coming off a 7-5 season that has seen them lose four of their last six games. The Tigers, meanwhile, lost a Hail Mary before the 4A crown, but quarterback Blake Barnett, one of three QBs in the state to top 2,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards last fall.
No. 3 Dakota Ridge (11-1) vs. No. 9 Pueblo West (1-0 in 2022)
When or: 7 p.m. Friday at Pueblo West
Last meeting: Pueblo West 31, at Dakota Ridge 7, September 22, 2017
No, it’s not a typo. The Cyclones are one of four teams that have played a regular season game this year – a 42-22 demolition of Grand Junction that saw them produce 382 yards of offense. Now they have a Dakota Ridge team that hasn’t lost in the regular season since Week 10 of the 2019 season. Keep an eye out for senior running back Noah Triplett, who rushed for 1,551 yards and 28 touchdowns. last fall.
No. 7 Palisade (9-3) vs. No. 2 Roosevelt (12-1)
When or: 6 p.m. Friday at the Roosevelt
Last meeting: Palisade 17, against Roosevelt 14, November 11, 2017
A blurry 3A picture will get some clarity with this title contender showdown. Roosevelt has reached the 3A finals and semifinals in successive seasons, thanks in large part to a miserly defense that has allowed just 10.4 points per game since 2020. This unit will face a stern test from the start against Palisade, which brings back a pair of the 1,000-yard rushers of quarterback Malakhi Espinosa and running back Phallen Salvati.
No. 6 Holy Family (6-6) vs. No. 8 Frederick (9-2)
When or: 7 p.m. Friday at Frederick
Last meeting: Holy Family 42, against Frederick 35 (OT), Oct. 14, 2021
The Matt Loyd era begins at Frederick, with the former Ralston Valley head coach taking charge of a Golden Eagles program looking to build on last year’s 9-2 performance. His first game will be a rematch of last year’s overtime thriller, which produced sophomore quarterback Rylan Cooney’s career game with 326 yards and six touchdowns on 13 of 18 passes.
* All records for the 2021 season, unless otherwise stated.