ThunderRidge, Legend, Highlands Ranch, Mountain Vista, Eaglecrest, Cherokee Trail and Smoky Hill collected first-round Class 5A state football playoff wins and advanced into the second round.
ThunderRidge avenged an early season loss to Lakewood with a 17-6 win over the Tigers, seeded 17th, in a Nov. 7 first-round game.
Legend advanced with a 35-23 win over No. 21 Rocky Mountain. Junior quarterback Kalen Shoemaker connected on 13 of 15 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns for the Titans.
Highlands Ranch led 10-0 after halftime and exploded for 28 points in the third quarter to pound 20th seeded Doherty, 59-7.
Mountain Vista knocked away a final Mullen pass in the end zone to preserve a 24-16 win over the Mustangs in a Nov. 8 preliminary-round contest. Quarterback Jacob Barrett threw two TD passes, Grant Shells scored on an 27-yard interception return and Ethan Love kicked a 39-yard field goal for the Golden Eagles.
Xavier Harrell rushed for 189 yards and scored twice in Arapahoe’s 17-7 victory over Castle View on Nov. 8.
Eaglecrest built a 10-point halftime lead and held on to defeat Legacy, 34-31, in a Nov. 8 contest. Smoky Hill’s Obasanjo Sanni scored four times while rushing for 175 yards in a 48-6 romp over Overland.
Second-round pairings for games that are scheduled to be played between Nov. 14-16 have 16th seeded ThunderRidge playing at top-seeded Cherry Creek, while No. 15 Arapahoe will play at second-seeded Ralston Valley.
Mountain Vista, the 19th seeded team in the playoffs, will face a road game against third-seeded and defending state champion Valor Christian. The Golden Eagles (4-7) lost an Oct. 17 regular season game to Valor, 41-6. No. 13 Highlands Ranch (5-6) will play at No. 4 Regis Jesuit. In a Sept. 13 non-league game, the Falcons dropped a 49-14 decision to Regis.
Fifth-seeded Pomona will host No. 12 Legend.
No. 10 Eaglecrest will renew its rivalry against No. 7 Grandview and No. 11 Smoky Hill will go against No. 6 Columbine in a second-round game.
In a final 4A regular-season game, Ponderosa trailed 19-13 heading into the fourth quarter but outscored Heritage 13-0 in the final period to collect a 26-19 win. Junior quarterback Jack Hanenburg completed 15 of 24 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, which gave the Mustangs the 4A Metro League title.
In first-round Class 4A pairings, Ponderosa, seeded ninth, plays at Skyline in a 1 p.m. game on Nov. 16 at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont. No. 14 Heritage takes on Vista Peak Prep in a 6:30 p.m. contest on Nov. 15 at Aurora Public Schools Stadium.
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