Tigers draw Chaparral in first round of 5A playoffs
Robbie Owens couldn’t wait to get started on Sunday.
Upon hearing that his Grand Junction High School football team had gotten the 26th seed in the 32-team Class 5A state playoff bracket, Owens got on the phone with the head coach of his first-round opponent, Chaparral, and arranged to meet the Chaparral staff in Silverthorne on Sunday afternoon so the teams could exchange film on each other.
The Tigers (3-6) finished tops among the 5A schools in the Southwestern Conference.
Central (4-5), which finished fourth in the SWC, right behind Grand Junction, got one of the last two berths in the playoff bracket.
The Warriors, the 31st seed, play No. 2-ranked Fairview in Boulder in this weekend’s first round.
Knowing that a 3-6 record and losses to two 4A Southwestern Conference teams might hinder his team’s chances of a playoff berth, Owens did his own calculations on wild-card points Sunday morning.
“The thing that shocked me was how many good teams we played,” he said.
The Tigers lost to Arvada West, Pomona, Highlands Ranch and Cherry Creek, all 5A playoff qualifiers, during the nonconference season.
After being one of the 12 nonqualifiers for last year’s playoffs, Owens said his team addressed its first priority this season.
“Getting into the playoffs was our goal,” he said.
Central lost to four teams — Grandview, Gateway, Rocky Mountain and Grand Junction — that qualified for the playoffs. Two of the Warriors’ victories came against playoff-bound teams, Horizon and Eaglecrest.
Central Athletic Director Randy Powell is on the 5A seeding committee and was in Denver on Sunday for the meeting, so he exchanged film with Fairview, giving coach Vern McGee a chance to get an early start on studying unbeaten Fairview.
“The good news (is) we’re playing another undefeated team for the second week in a row,” McGee joked.
It worked out well last Friday when the Warriors knocked off undefeated Durango on the road.
“(It’s) another challenge,” McGee said.
The 12 teams that did not make this year’s playoff bracket will all play nonqualifying games to end their seasons this weekend.
Fruita Monument was the 39th seed and will play Westminster, seeded 40th.
As the higher seed, Fruita Monument will play host to the game this weekend.
Sites and game times for this weekend’s games will be finalized today by the participating schools.
The regional volleyball tournament pairings in all classifications also were released Sunday by CHSAA.
Central will play Saturday in the Region A tournament at Ponderosa.
The Warriors (21-2) are the ninth seed.
Two teams from each four-team region advance to next week’s state championships.
Central’s region consists of Ponderosa (22-1), the No. 1-ranked team, Chaparral (19-4), the eighth seed, and Eaglecrest (12-11), the 16th and final seed.