Class 1A WSC a powerhouse league


Roaring Fork

Head coach: Tory Jensen, 13th season

2011 record: 2-7, 1-4 WSC

Assistant coaches: Dave Cardiff, RBs; Ervin Sartin, strength/conditioning; Jeff Kelley, defensive coordinator; Mike Brinson, DBs; Rob Kennedy, DL; Mike Bernot, LBs; Alex Cable, OL; Neil Jensen, QBs; Brian Hightower, strength/conditioning.

Returning starters: OL/DL Mitch Brown, 6-8, 310, sr.; RB Tanner Nieslanik, 5-8, 160, sr.; RB Nate Nieslanik, 6-2, 200, sr.; TE/OLB Adrian Chavez, 5-10, 175, jr.; RB/S Jose Lopez, 5-11, 150, jr.; G/DL Victor Dominguez, 5-10, 215, jr.; G/DL Eduardo Martinez, 5-10, 200, jr.

Base offense: Wing-T

Base defense: TBD

The magic number in Class 1A football is 40.

“I’ve been saying that for years,” Roaring Fork High School coach Tory Jensen said.

Every small-school football coach hopes to have roughly 10 players in each class each year, which is what most of the coaches in the Class 1A Western Slope Conference expected this season.

With two teams in last season’s final four, the WSC should once again be one of the top conferences in the state.

“A great league,” first-year Paonia coach Brent McRae said. “Two in the semis, and the state champion came out of our league.”

From new Meeker coach Shane Phelan: “This is as tough a league as there is. The power has been predominantly north and south-central. Maybe it’s shifted this way a little.”

Those two, and Roaring Fork, should challenge Cedaredge and Hotchkiss for the conference title and playoff spots this season.

“Paonia has some tremendous athletes,” Phelan said. “They’re going to be good.”

Hotchkiss coach Zac Lemon agreed the Eagles are a team to have on the radar, but it’s going to be that way every week.

“I think it’s going to continue to get stronger,” Lemon said.

But let’s face it, the defending state champ is in the conference. Cedaredge, which ran the table in the WSC and lost only once last season, is the team to beat.

Bruins coach Brandon Milholland expects WSC games to be close every week.

“It’s going to come down to those couple two, three plays at the end of the game that’s going to make the difference,” he said.

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