Hotchkiss’ goal is playing for 1A state title
Ever since Hotchkiss High School moved down to Class 1A in football, the playoffs have become familiar territory.
The Bulldogs are making a fourth consecutive appearance in the state football playoffs.
In 2008 and 2009, they reached the quarterfinals. Last year, the Bulldogs reached the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Burlington 20-13.
This year, Hotchkiss (9-0) won’t settle for anything less than a state championship.
“It’s more of an expectation to be in the championship game and win it all,” Hotchkiss coach Zac Lemon said. “I feel we have depth at all 11 positions on both sides of the ball. We have great skill kids and one of the best offensive lines in the (classification), if not the best.”
The Bulldogs are the No. 2 seed and open the playoffs against Sargent (5-4) in the first round at 1 this afternoon at Hotchkiss High School.
Hotchkiss defeated the Farmers 46-12 in Hotchkiss on Sept. 23. The Bulldogs rushed for 437 yards, led by Jacobe Galley’s 237 yards. Jaime Rodriguez rushed for 110 yards.
“It’s never fun playing a team twice,” Lemon said. “It’s scary playing them again. They have a chance to prove they can do what we exploited.
“We’ll continue to prepare like we normally do and be prepared for any changes or adjustments they make.”
The No. 15 seed Farmers had some success against Hotchkiss in their I-formation offense, demonstrating the ability to run a toss play and play-action pass.
Since that game, the Bulldogs are averaging 47.4 points and limiting the opponents to 6.7 points per game.
With another victory over the Farmers, Hotchkiss would face the winner of No. 7 seed Monte Vista and No. 10 Resurrection Christian in the quarterfinals.
Third-seeded Lutheran (9-0) could await in the semifinals. The Bulldogs defeated Lutheran in the first round of the playoffs last season.
“We’re pleased with our seed,” Lemon said. “That’s where we expected to be. I think we got lucky with our future opponents (in the playoffs).”
If the Bulldogs take care of business, they could get another chance at Burlington in the championship game on Nov. 26.
The Cougars (9-0) have won 20 consecutive games and have been ranked No. 1 all season. Hotchkiss has been ranked No. 2 since the second week of the season.
“Burlington is everything you read about,” Lemon said. “They have a lot back, are well-coached and well-prepared. It would be an interesting matchup if we play them. We have the same offense, defense and type of kids.”