Title aspirations

Cedaredge faces Buena Vista with chance to win first state crown

Cedaredge coach Brandon Milholland has a tough task if he wants to lead the Bruins to their first state championship. Cedaredge faces Buena Vista, which has blown out all but one team on its way to the Class 1A state title game, Saturday at 1 p.m. at Buena Vista High School.

Cedaredge quarterback Trent Walker filled in admirably last weekend for Dante Markley. Walker may have to fill in again Saturday for the Bruins against Buena Vista in the Class 1A state championship game.



Buena Vista

Aug. 31 — Win, 55-12 vs. Alamosa

Sept. 7 — Win, 18-15 at Hotchkiss

Sept. 14 — Win, 43-0 vs. John Mall

Sept. 21 — Win, 58-0 at Salida

Sept. 28 — Win, 37-0 vs. Rye

Oct. 5 — Win, 63-13 at Peyton

Oct. 13 — Win, 48-0 vs. Ellicott

Oct. 19 — Win, 40-6 at Colorado Springs Christian School

Oct. 26 — Win, 53-0 vs. Custer County

Nov. 2 (first round state playoffs) — Win, 50-0 vs. Lyons

Nov. 10 (quarterfinals) — Win, 53-12 vs. Burlington

Nov. 17 (semifinals) — Win, 33-8 at Wray


Aug. 24 — Loss, 32-6 vs. Eagle Valley

Aug. 31 — Win, 46-7 at Montezuma-Cortez

Sept. 7 — Win, 41-18 vs, Olathe

Sept. 14 — Win, 38-0 at Dolores

Sept. 28 — Win, 21-20 at Hotchkiss

Oct. 5 — Win, 42-0 at Roaring Fork

Oct. 12 — Win, 39-13 vs. Meeker

Oct. 19 — Win, 66-12 at Lake County

Oct. 26 — Win, 46-6 vs. Paonia

Nov. 3 (first round state playoffs) — Win, 55-14 vs. Centauri

Nov. 10 (quarterfinals) — Win, 18-0 vs. Monte Vista

Nov. 17 (semifinals) — Win, 16-12 at Hotchkiss

Class 1A Championship

No. 3 Cedaredge (11-1) at No. 1 Buena Vista (12-0)

1 p.m. Saturday at Buena Vista High School

The coaches

Cedaredge: Brandon Milholland. Buena Vista: Matt Flavin.

Last week

■ Cedaredge defeated Hotchkiss 16-12. Quarterback Trent Walker, starting in place of Dante Markley (concussion), completed 9 of 18 passes for 88 yards. Senior RB Carter Wasser rushed 25 times for 100 yards and 2 TDs.

■ Buena Vista downed Wray 33-8, outscoring the Eagles 27-8 in the second half. Koby Close had 154 yards passing and two TDs and 57 yards rushing for Buena Vista.

About the Cedaredge Bruins

■ The Bruins are going for their first state football championship.

■ Cedaredge has won 11 straight games.

■ Senior QB/S Dante Markley has passed for 1,278 yards with 16 touchdowns and 5 interceptions and has rushed for 563 yards and 10 TDs. He also has intercepted four passes.

■ Senior RB/LB Carter Wasser has rushed for 1,162 yards and 17 TDs and has caught 23 passes for 347 yards and 3 TDs. He’s also the Bruins’ leading tackler with 7.4 per game.

■ Senior WR Cade Wasser has caught 31 passes for 409 yards and 6 TDs.

■ Senior WR Reid Gates has 791 yards rushing and 6 TDs and has caught 10 passes for 145 yards.

■ Junior WR Kyle Ward has caught 17 passes for 287 yards and 6 TDs.

About the Buena Vista Demons

■ The Demons’ defense has six shutouts.

■ Senior QB Kolby Close has completed 69 of 106 passes for 1,063 yards and 16 TDs with 2 interceptions.

■ Buena Vista has two 1,000-yard rushers — Dakoda DeFurio (160 carries for 1,326 yards and 23 TDs) and Kolby Close (150 carries, 1,204 yards and 14 TDs).

■ Senior WR Josh Williams is the team’s leader in receiving yards with 375. He’s caught 22 passes, six of which were TDs.

■ Senior OL/DL Daniel Carr, 5-foot-11, 207 pounds, has nine sacks and 6.3 tackles per game. He had 2.5 sacks in the Demons’ second-round win over Burlington.

Coach Milholland says

On Cedaredge going to the state championship: “It’s an incredible feat for these young men to accomplish, just to even be here in this situation. All the hard work and dedication — all those big words that really mean something.”

Coach Flavin says

On Buena Vista’s season: “I think just replacing a bunch of seniors from last year, these kids have really responded well. I think the biggest thing with these guys is they’re a tight-knit group and I can’t say enough about who they are as far as character and stuff on and off the field. They care about every person, even if you’re a freshman.”

Cedaredge High School football coach Brandon Milholland knows one thing for sure about Buena Vista: “I know they’ve just taken it to every team in the state,” Milholland said. “Except for Hotchkiss.”

So has Cedaredge. Aside from a season-opening 32-6 loss to Class 3A Eagle Valley, the Bruins also manhandled every team except Hotchkiss.

No surprise the state’s powerhouse teams will meet 1 p.m. Saturday at Buena Vista High School for the state championship.

But the Bruins will not know until today if starting quarterback and safety Dante Markley will be cleared by doctors to play. Markley, who sustained a concussion in the Bruins’ quarterfinal win over Monte Vista, missed the 16-12 semifinal victory over Hotchkiss last week.

Markley, who has 1,278 yards passing with 16 touchdowns and 563 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns, said he was not cleared to play by doctors on Monday or Tuesday. Markley said doctors did OK him to practice Wednesday and Thursday, but without contact. He’ll be evaluated again today.

Trent Walker, a wide receiver who started at quarterback last week against Hotchkiss, would start again if Markley is not cleared to play.

Cedaredge (11-1), which has an 11-game winning streak, is playing for its first football state championship. The Bruins lost the 1993 Class 2A state title game 22-8 to Rye.

Buena Vista (12-0) last made the state final in 2005, losing to Holy Family. The Demons last won a Class 2A state title in 1999, the program’s only state championship.

Buena Vista and Cedaredge have notable similarities.

For one, both have sturdy defenses. Buena Vista has six shutouts and has allowed 66 points, Cedaredge has three shutouts and has allowed 134 points — but 32 to 3A Eagle Valley.

Both have quarterbacks who can run and pass effectively. Buena Vista quarterback Koby Close played running back as a junior last season, and this season has passed for 1,063 yards and rushed for 1,204.

“He’s something special for sure,” Demons coach Matt Flavin said. “He was our running back last year so I decided to move him to quarterback because of his knowledge of football and understanding of the offense and leadership.”

Markley is similar.

“Definitely Markley and those (Wasser) brothers, they’re aggressive and play hard and we have our work cut out for us,” Flavin said.

And both teams have standout running backs. Flavin said Demons running back Dakoda DeFurio, who has rushed for 1,326 yards on 160 carries with 23 touchdowns, has been contacted by coaches at Colorado State University-Pueblo and Adams State College to possibly play football.

Cedaredge also has possible collegiate talent: Markley and twin brothers Cade and Carter Wasser (153 carries, 1,162 yards, 17 touchdowns), as well as senior middle linebacker Dustin Stracener, who at 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds has 5.7 tackles per game and, according to Milholland, runs a 5.1 40-yard dash.

Flavin said he long has kept an eye on them all.

“They’ve been on the radar for awhile with us here,” Flavin said Monday as he took a break from watching the Bruins on video. “It was just kind of this feeling watching and hearing about them. Especially when they beat Hotchkiss — we knew they were a team that definitely could go deep in the playoffs.”

It hadn’t always been this way at Cedaredge. In their previous three seasons, the Bruins were 4-6, 3-7 and 2-8.

Now they’re in the title game with an 11-game winning streak.

“We’ve never even been close to this,” Cedaredge wide receiver Reid Gates said. “So it’s crazy.”


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