Warriors, Wildcats in playoffs

Central had its best season since 2004 and was rewarded with the No. 23 seed in the Class 5A state football playoffs.

The Warriors will face No. 10 seed Chaparral with the date and time of the game to be determined today.

Central won its final two games and finished second in the Southwestern Conference. Four of the Warriors’ five wins came against 5A teams, but Central still earned the lowest seed of any 5-4 team.

“Last week we were the top 5-4 team but we didn’t get many points for beating Durango,” Central coach Vern McGee said. “But it is one of those things where you are playing a 4A team without any wins so you can’t expect to get a lot of points, so I was hoping to stay where we were, but I’m not terribly surprised that we didn’t.”

Chaparral (7-2) finished second in the Southern Conference behind No. 3 seed ThunderRidge.

“I just got the film on them, and I know they have a good quarterback and some good size,”  McGee said. “But I will be learning a lot more about them.”

Fruita Monument also qualified for the playoffs, earning the No. 28 seed, which matches the Wildcats up against No. 5 Columbine (8-1). Fruita began the season on a hot streak, winning three of its first four, but has skidded toward the end of the year, losing its past three games. Regardless, getting into the playoffs continues a streak for the Wildcats in which they have made the playoffs every year since joining the 5A ranks in 2004.

The Wildcats opponent, Columbine, finished second in the Big 8 Conference, with its only loss coming in the final game to No. 4 seed Pomona.

Grand Junction didn’t qualify for the playoffs, but will still be playing this weekend when it hosts Palmer.

Other brackets finalized on Sunday included the 1A bracket. The No. 1 seed out of the Western Slope is Hotchkiss, who will host Holyoke (6-3). Paonia, the only other Western Slope team in at 1A, earned the No. 10 seed and will travel to Lyons.

In the 8-man bracket, 9-0 Dove Creek hosts Granada (6-3) and Norwood travels to Sanford.


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