It’s finally here, opening night for the 2021 high school football season. After a year of, we’ll call it different, we’re back to fall football here in the Arkansas Valley. Some great games are on tap for tonight for 6 of our coverage area teams. And with another Friday night comes another Friday Pick ‘Em, so let’s get to it
Friday Pick ’em
#8 Idalia Wolves @ #6 Cheraw Wolverines
Oh boy, we got a treat tonight, right off the bat a Top-10 matchup in 6-Man. The Wolverines are coming off a 4-2 season last year, that saw them miss the playoffs under the format used. The Wolverines will once again look to Junior Cade Phillips and Junior Braeden Harris to carry the offensive load. The two combined for 726 yards on the ground a year ago. Defensively Cheraw will rely mainly on Harris. Idalia comes off a 2-2 record in 2020, key offensive returners for them are Junior QB Eduardo Estrada (465 yards through the air) and Senior Yahir Enriquez (287 yards rushing). Defensively it’s going to be a combined effort from Estrada (39 tackles) and Sophomore Kagen Hoyda (38 tackles). Look for a good one to be going down in Cheraw tonight.
PREDICTION: This one is going to come down to who has the ball last, Wolverines over the Wolves 58-50.
Sargent Farmers @ #9 Fowler Grizzlies
Fowler comes off an undefeated regular season before losing to Merino 22-6 in the 8-Man quarterfinals. The Grizzly offense will look different this year as they lost their leading rusher and quarterback to graduation. The offense will be ran by Sophomore Gage Gottbeheut and they’ll rely heavily on the legs of Junior Erick Hernandez. On the defensive side Fowler will be looking for someone to step up as their leading tackler was also lost to graduation. Sargent comes into 2021 off a 1-4 season. Junior Burke Temple will lead the offense for Sargent and he’ll have a new running back behind him as the Farmers lost their three leading rushers. The defense will be led by Junior Wyatt Cross and Senior Connor Holmes.
PREDICTION: Fowler, at home? You’d be crazy not to take them. Grizzlies all night, 46-6.
Swink Lions @ #6 Holly Wildcats
The Lions come in off a great 5-1 campaign in 2020, narrowly missing the playoffs. They’ll look once again to Hunter Bauserman to lead the offense, and hope to find someone to replace Matthew Mendoza after he rushed for over 1,000 yards last year. The defensive side returns the two leading tacklers for Swink as it’s Senior Clay Roweth (96 tackles) and Junior Ben Miner (64 tackles). Holly on the other hand comes in off a 2-3 season, which makes you wonder how they’re ranked above Swink. Dakota Eaton (1,035 yards passing) returns under center for the Wildcats for a Senior campaign. Also returning is leading rusher Senior Eli Ramos (265 yards rushing). On the defensive side of the ball, it will be Ramos (38 tackles) teaming with fellow Senior Donovan Pecina (32 tackles).
PREDICTION: Swink is coming off a great season, while Holly had a rough one. It’s a shootout in Holly. Swink 36-30.
Crowley COunty Chargers @ #2 Sanford Indians
An early season test for the Chargers as they’ll travel down south to play Sanford. Crowley is coming off a 3-2 season and a defeat to defending State Champion Sedgwick County in the 8-Man Quarterfinals. Senior Tach Brewer comes back under center for CC. The Chargers will have to find someone to replace Adam Schultz as the leading rusher. Defensively it’s going to be a Senior effort between Brewer (27 tackles) and Brandon Geringer (30 tackles). Sanford comes off an apperance in the State Championship game, and they look to make it back. Senior Josh Holman looks to lead them there at Quarterback. While Senior Kelton Gartrell looks to repeat what he did last year by rushing for over 1,000 yards. The defense will be led by Holman and Gartrell as they combined for 179 tackles a year ago.
PREDICTION: The Chargers have a tough time down in the Valley, Sanford runs away with it 52-12.
Monte Vista Pirates @ ROcky Ford Meloneers
Rocky Ford comes in off a 1-5 season, but to the Meloneers credit they faced off with 3 perennial playoff teams in a row to begin the year. Shaun Gonzalez comes back as a Senior to lead the offense. Rocky Ford will look to improve on their running game from a year ago. The defensive side of the ball will be led by Junior Dezmon Reyes. Monte Vista comes off a 5-2 season and a playoff appearance. The Pirates will turn to Senior Colton Mellott to run the offense and he’ll have a solid back field behind him. The defense will turn to a Sophomore in Jack Noonan (55 tackles)
PREDICTION: You got to be crazy if you think I’m picking against Rocky Ford in this one. Meloneers 35-14
La Junta Tigers @ Pueblo COunty Hornets
The Tigers are heading into Coach Drew Sisson’s second season after a 2-3 record in 2020.The 2A Tri-Peaks league is back together as one of the best leagues in 2A Football. La Junta will rely on the leadership of Sophomore Luke Garner under center. Anthony Torres comes in as a Senior to lead the rushing attack for the Tigers. It will be Garner on the defensive side for LJ. Pueblo County comes in after a 3-2 Record and plays in the 3A South Central with the other Pueblo schools. The Hornet offense is led by a new quarterback this year after losing theirs to graduation. The rushing attack will play a pivotal role for PC, but just like at QB they’ll have to find their running back. Not much different on the defensive side, as they will look for someone to step up to fill the void of the Seniors they lost from last year.
PREDICTION: An early season test for the Tigers but they come out on top, La Junta 35-12.