Prep football season opens with intriguing matchups |

Prep football season opens with intriguing matchups

Jeff CaspersenGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Talk about a featured matchup.Glenwood Springs holds the third spot in the latest RockyPreps’ rankings. Conifer is seventh.Glenwood was the runaway winner of the 3A Western Slope League last season. Conifer finished second in the tough, 12-team 3A Metro League.Two of Conifer’s three losses last year, including a state quarterfinal defeat that ousted the Lobos from the playoffs, came at the hands of Falcon, Class 3A’s runner-up.Glenwood’s only loss of 2007 came against Sterling in the opening round of the playoffs – an overtime heartbreaker that sent the Demons into the offseason starving for redemption.Tonight, the Lobos and Demons will clash at Glenwood Springs High School’s Stubler Memorial Field in a showdown that we might just see again come playoff time.The Demons survived a scare in a Week Zero game at 4A Montrose last Friday, winning 31-26 in a game dominated by Glenwood quarterback Dakota Stonehouse, who scrambled for four rushing touchdowns and 342 total yards – 151 on the ground and 191 in the air.Conifer, like most schools in the state, sat out Week Zero.

LONGMONT, Colorado – With Anthony Alfini manning the coaching reins in place of ailing head coach Bill Kucera, Rifle gets its season going against Longmont’s Silver Creek tonight.Kucera’s sidelined after rupturing a disc in his neck while demonstrating blocking on a one-man blocking sled early in the practice season. In his absence, Alfini’s filling in at the program’s top spot.In Silver Creek, Alfini and the Bears face a young school that had its struggles last year in a loaded 3A Tri-Valley League. The Raptors finished up the season 4-6 and in the middle of the pack of a league that included state champion Berthoud.In 2007, Rifle produced a 6-5 overall record and the program’s 13th consecutive trip to the playoffs.

PARACHUTE, Colorado – As a 1A football school, Grand Valley auditioned well for its 2008 jump to Class 2A last year.The Cardinals scheduled – and beat up on – 2A Basalt and Aspen in 2007. Not bad for a dress rehearsal.But now it’s showtime.Grand Valley opens its 2A era tonight with a non-conference tilt against visiting Denver Manual. Albeit against a team that last year didn’t exist, at least as far as varsity football is concerned. The Denver Public School board shut Manual down for a year in 2006 due to poor test scores and enrollment issues, and the school’s football returned with a sub-varsity squad. This season, the Thunderbolts are fielding a team made up of freshmen and sophomores.Grand Valley is significantly further along as a program, fresh off a 10-1 season that saw the Cardinals make the second round of the 1A state playoffs.

CARBONDALE, Colorado – Roaring Fork kicks off the Greg Holley era at home against Hotchkiss. Holley, a longtime coach at Woodland Park, moved to the Roaring Fork Valley to take over the Rams’ football program.He’ll lead his new team, which is looking to rebound from a 3-6 season in 2007, against a Hotchkiss squad that’s dropped down to the 1A football ranks after going 5-4 as a 2A school last year.

PEACH VALLEY, Colorado – Friday’s game against visiting Hayden will be a reunion of sorts for first-year Coal Ridge head coach Scott Parker, who guided the Tigers to a 4-4 record as their frontman in 2002.And his Titans will have their hands full.Hayden finished second to only Grand Valley in the 1A Western Slope League last year, fashioning a 9-3 record that included a pair of playoff wins.Coal Ridge enters the season after a 2007 campaign in which it posted its first varsity win, a 12-11 triumph over Basalt on Oct. 5.

The Montrose Daily Press reported this week that starting quarterback Kirk English suffered a broken bone in his right hand during last Friday’s game against Glenwood Springs. English is expected to be sidelined for six weeks. … Former Steamboat Springs kicker Ben DeLine is now tops on Colorado State University’s depth chart after starter Jason Smith broke his right arm during a scrimmage last weekend. DeLine is a freshman and is the son of former CSU kicker Steve DeLine. … Glenwood-Conifer isn’t the only meeting of elite 3A teams. Palisade, ranked second in the latest RockyPreps’ poll, is traveling to No. 10 Pueblo County for a Saturday-afternoon showdown.

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