No. 22 Fairview at No. 11 ThunderRidge Details: Friday, 7 p.m., Shea Stadium in Highlands RanchForecast: It’s been since the 2015 season that the Fairview Knights enter the playoffs coming off a loss, but for this current squad, an upset at Horizon to end the regular season might serve as a refresher that all the little details matter this time of year. FHS racked up 558 yards of offense in the loss, proving that it can be explosive, but a very young defense will need to come to play against the Grizzlies — who average 33.5 points per game and have a stud senior quarterback in Seth Frasier.Difference-maker: Jordan Rechel. The freshman receiver is one of several standout pass-catchers this season for FHS, but in the past two games has 17 catches, 356 yards and 6 TDs. Monster numbers for anyone.
No. 18 Mountain Vista at No. 15 LegacyDetails: Saturday, 1 p.m., North Stadium at Mountain Range High SchoolForecast: Like Fairview, the Lightning are coming off what can only be described as a disappointing, albeit hardfought loss. Fossil Ridge escaped with the 5A North 1 League title by beating LHS in overtime, snapping a five-game win streak. Legacy has only allowed 16.8 points per game as its defense has played aggressive football. That needs to continue against the Golden Eagles (4-6), who can claim a win over a strong Arapahoe (8-2) squad as their season highlight so far.Difference-maker: Ryan Bynarowicz. Just a junior, the defensive star has registered 14 tackles for loss and six sacks this season. Pressure on the MVHS quarterbacks will mean the world to Legacy’s pursuit of a second-round game.
No. 18 Broomfield at No. 15 LongmontDetails: Friday, 7 p.m., Everly-Montgomery FieldForecast: After a (surprise, surprise) high-scoring game between the teams in Week 2 of this year — a 38-29 Longmont win also at EMF — the teams square off in a rare first-round area elimination contest. The Trojans offense has been one of 4A’s most potent with their 35.1 scoring average checking in eighth. Broomfield’s not far behind (28.4 ppg, 18th). This matchup no doubt features two of the area’s top QBs in Keegan Patterson and Cole LaCrue.Difference-maker: LaCrue. He’ll admit one of his worst games of the season came against the Trojans (13-for-29, 212 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT). Anywhere close to his normal production will bode the Eagles well in an upset bid.
No. 22 Skyline at No. 11 Vista RidgeDetails: Friday, 7 p.m., at Vista Ridge High SchoolForecast: Skyline has weathered plenty of storms this season, including the sudden death of a beloved teammate early on and an injury to a promising young quarterback that took Kaiden Box out of competition for weeks. The Falcons have been battle-tested the past three weeks, going 2-1 with an average of 37.6 points per game. Vista Ridge is no slouch for an 11 seed, with its only losses coming to Montrose (No. 1 seed), Pine Creek (No. 3) and Palmer Ridge (No. 4).Difference-maker(s): Will Drewes and Logan Miller. With Box in at QB, Drewes has settled in with 565 rushing yards and nine touchdowns over the past five games while Miller has 30 receptions for 532 yards and five scores in that same frame.