Palisade earns playoff berth in football
Every one of the Palisade High School football team’s six wins this season were important.
When the Class 3A playoff bracket was released Sunday, the Bulldogs were given the No. 16 seed. Observing the final wild card points, Palisade finished only four tenths of a point ahead of Western Slope Conference foe Moffat County. The final spot in the playoffs could have been decided by the Bulldogs’ 34-6 win Sept. 25 over Moffat County.
“It goes to show you can’t waste a game or let down for any team,” Palisade assistant coach Matt Borgmann said. “It made a huge difference because there was a whole group of teams that finished 6-4.”
Palisade did enough to get into the playoffs, but faces No. 1 seed Pueblo Central (10-0) on Saturday.
The Wildcats won the tough 3A Southern Conference, and defeated four current playoff teams on their way to a perfect regular season record.
“They’re good,” Borgmann said. “They have some big kids, they have speed and they are No. 1 for a reason.”
Sunday was a good day for the WSC as four teams made it into the 16-team field. Steamboat Springs won the league and was given the No. 4 seed. The Sailors host No. 13 Berthoud (7-3). Last year’s state champion Glenwood Springs was given the No. 7 seed despite finishing 6-4. The Demons host Elizabeth (8-2). Delta was the other WSC team to make it in, earning the No. 9 seed. Delta (8-2) plays at D’Evelyn (8-2).
“D’Evelyn is a very good football team,” Delta head coach Ben Johnson said. “We are going to have to play real sound football.”
In Class 4A, the Montrose Indians (9-1) got what they expected, landing the No. 4 seed. This is the second straight year the Indians earned the No. 4 seed. They’ll face No. 13 Standley Lake (8-2).
“In the top eight there weren’t any surprises,” Montrose coach Todd Casebier said. “But it was hard to figure out who we’d play. We were surprised we got Standley Lake.”
The Indians drawing Standley Lake also means more homework for the players and coaches. Casebier said the Gators are one of the few teams in 4A that Montrose is clueless about.
“Usually what happens is you see a film of most teams along the way,” Casebier said. “But this is one of the only teams we have no idea about what they do.”
The other 4A team in the Southwestern League, Durango, earned the No. 14 seed. The Demons play at No. 3 Pine Creek. Durango had one of the best turnarounds in the state after finishing the past two seasons a combined 3-17.
“It’s a heck of a coaching job,” Casebier said about Greg Wyatt’s first year in Durango. “I obviously didn’t want them to win the night we played them, but I’ve been pulling for them all season.”
In 2A, Olathe landed the No. 2 seed and will host No. 15 Salida. The Pirates are the defending 2A state champions after winning the title last year as the No. 3 seed.
WSC team Aspen earned the No. 9 seed and plays at No. 8 Pagosa Springs.