Pride of Hotchkiss: Bulldogs ready for big stage today against Burlington

Hotchkiss cornerback Gage Grimmett looks upfield Nov. 6 after intercepting a pass over teammate Ryan Spor and Lutheran-Parker receiver Jonny Foote during the second quarter of the Bulldogs’ playoff victory.

Hotchkiss’ defense has been strong all season.


No. 2 Glenwood Springs at No. 10 Lewis-Palmer

Class 3A Quarterfinals

Today, 1 p.m., Lewis-Palmer High School

RECORDS: Glenwood Springs 10-1; Lewis-Palmer 9-2

LAST WEEK: Glenwood Springs defeated Englewood 42-0; Lewis-Palmer defeated Centaurus 18-15

GAME NOTES: The Demons found the best time to have a breakout game. Glenwood ran to a 35-0 halftime lead and held Englewood to only 41 yards of offense in the first half.

This is the third straight appearance in the quarterfinals for the Demons.

Glenwood Springs is a dynamic offensive team with a potent rushing attack, led by running back Drew Halsch. The senior running back has 1,261 yards this season.

Lewis-Palmer is in the playoffs for the first time since 2002, and has never made it past the quarterfinals.

The Rangers are led by running back Colton Goeas, who has 1,477 yards and 20 touchdowns. Rangers quarterback Ben Shaum has 781 passing yards and seven touchdowns.

Glenwood Springs defeated Lewis-Palmer 21-8 in the first round in 1990.

No. 4 Olathe at No. 5 Faith Christian

Class 2A Quarterfinals

Today, 1 p.m., Faith Christian High School

RECORDS: Olathe 9-2; Faith Christian 9-2

LAST WEEK: Olathe defeated Bennett 42-21; Faith Christian defeated Basalt 40-21

GAME NOTES: This isn’t the first time these two teams are facing each other in the postseason. During the Pirates’ 2008 run to the state title, Olathe defeated Faith Christian 14-6 in the semifinals.

Olathe rolled past Bennett in the first round of the playoffs, getting a four-touchdown performance from fullback Kyle Piatt.

This is the second straight game against a Western Slope Conference team for the Eagles.

Faith Christian is led by quarterback Alex Buchmann, who has 1,631 yards and 18 touchdowns. Oran Tool is the Eagles’ leading rusher with 1,271 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Faith Christian’s two losses came to 2A playoff teams Brush (28-7) and Kent Denver (23-13).

Faith Christian has been to the state semifinals six times since 2003 and have three state titles in that span.

No. 2 Kent Denver at No. 7 Aspen

Class 2A Quarterfinals

Today, noon, Aspen High School

RECORDS: Aspen 9-2; Kent Denver 9-2

LAST WEEK: Aspen defeated Platte Valley 21-14; Kent Denver defeated Coal Ridge 20-7

GAME NOTES: The Sun Devils didn’t have an easy first round match-up with fellow Western Slope Conference team Coal Ridge, but behind 171 rushing yards from Matt Florence, moved on. Kent Denver is led by quarterback Richard Yates, who has thrown for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Kent Denver was the state runner-up last season and is 6-10 all-time in the quarterfinals.

On the other side, Aspen is trying to reach the semifinals for the first time in school history. The Skiers have survived without running back Nick Ufkes thanks to the emergence of backup running back Dan Ryerson. The senior rushed for 160 yards last week on a gaudy 37 carries.

If Aspen wins, it travels to play the winner of Brush and Bayfield.

No. 4 Norwood at No. 1 Caliche

Class 1A 8-Man Semifinals

Today at 1 p.m.

RECORDS: Norwood 11-0; Caliche 10-1

LAST WEEK: Norwood defeated Walsh 42-28; Caliche defeated Elbert 34-22

GAME NOTES: Norwood has the longest trip of any football team this weekend, taking the 474-mile trek to Caliche High School in Iliff.

Norwood allowed 28 points last week to Walsh, the most the Mavericks allowed all season. The Mavericks lost to Dayspring Christian in the semifinals last season 42-12.

Caliche, which last won a state title in 1994, is led by senior running back Aaron Stieb, who scored on touchdown runs of 33, 41, and 54 yards in last week’s win over Elbert.

If Norwood wins, it will travel for the championship to play the winner of Merino and Hoehne.

Hotchkiss is ready for the limelight.

The second-seeded Bulldogs travel to face No. 3 Burlington at 1 p.m. today in the semifinals of the Class 1A playoffs.

This is the first time since 1991 the Bulldogs have advanced this far in the postseason.

“We had lost in the quarterfinals the last two years and we were pretty disappointed with those performances,” Hotchkiss coach Zac Lemon said. “So we were excited to get over the hump and happy to be where we are.”

The Bulldogs advanced to this round with a 49-9 rout of Lyons.

Hotchkiss actually trailed 3-0 after the first quarter, but scored 35 straight points to take a 35-3 lead in the third quarter.

“We executed and made the right adjustments,” Lemon said.

Hotchkiss has defeated its first two playoff opponents, Lutheran Parker and Lyons, by a combined score of 96-17, and the win over Lyons was the 10th time in 11 games the Bulldogs have scored at least 40 points.

The Bulldogs’ steady play all season is what makes them dangerous. The average score of a Hotchkiss victory is 49-9.

“We’ve been pretty consistent regardless of the opponent, and that’s something we are excited about,” Lemon said. “We prepare the same for everyone and that helps us stay consistent.”

One of the most consistent aspects of the Bulldogs is the quarterback play of senior Ryan Spor. The three-year starter gives Hotchkiss a dual-threat player under center.

Spor has thrown for 1,201 yards this season with 14 touchdowns.

“We have been very pleased with the way Ryan Spor has been playing,” Lemon said. “He’s still getting better.”

The Bulldogs run a triple-option attack, with Spor rushing for 527 yards on only 73 carries, with 10 rushing touchdowns.

“We feel he’s not getting the notice he should,” Lemon said. “But we know him at a different level and we’ve watched him lead and know what he’s capable of.”

Spor had one of his best games of the season in the Bulldogs’ win last week. Spor completed 11 of 13 passes for 224 yards and one touchdown.

The challenge only gets bigger this week against Burlington. The Cougars are 10-1 and on a nine-game winning streak.

Burlington has different options out of the backfield, starting with running backs Christian Ramos and Colin Eberhart. The two have combined for 1,186 yards and 19 touchdowns.

“They are big and have good size, but it’s nothing we’re not used to,” Lemon said.

The Cougars are similar to Hotchkiss both offensively and defensively with Burlington running a triple-option and a 3-5 on defense.

“We are going to have a scout team that can run their stuff effectively,” Lemon said. “We have an idea on what they’ll do on both sides and prepare for it.”

Lemon expects a good crowd when the two teams kick off today, despite the 401-mile trip to Burlington.

“I have to thank our community because they travel really well,” Lemon said. “It helps when you travel 350 miles and have a big crowd to play in front of.”


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