ALAMOSA — The path continues, the next step for Alamosa and Centauri will be away contests. Alamosa will go on the road against Lamar on Friday. Also on Friday Centauri will be visiting Buena Vista.
Alamosa (3-0) is off to a perfect three-win start for the first time since 2007, the year after the Mean Moose picked up their third state title in football.
The Moose are climbing the mountain, holding the No. 7 spot in both the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) coaches’ poll and the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). But Alamosa is still ready for a test after making a name for themselves having defeated the defending state champions.
Friday’s contest will be telling for both schools. Host Lamar (2-1) has earned both wins in the 1A class defeating winless Rocky Ford (0-3) and tenth-ranked Burlington (1-2). Alamosa will be the home team’s first taste of 2A competition this year. On the flip side, aside from La Junta, Alamosa’s opponents combine for a 0-6 record. Lamar will be the Mean Moose’s second opponent without a losing record.
On offense, Lamar will likely use the run to set up a dangerous passing attack. Walker Kee and Jesus Reyes split carries in the backfield and combine for 598 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns rushing. Running a rather balanced offense Lamar has kept the ball on the ground for 60 percent of their plays. But quarterback Zane Rankin owns 62 percent of Lamar’s touchdowns this season. Rankin has been productive from under center going 30-of-59 for 604 yards and 8 touchdowns passing, running in for two more for an even 10 scores in three games.
Rankin’s favorite target, with nearly twice as many receptions as the next most popular receiver, is Blake Buxton. Buxton has pulled in 14 for 297 yards and 2 touchdowns. When Buxton is covered, the next most productive receiver is Kee, adding 164 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Alamosa’s defense is well equipped for what they might face having allowed 6 points per game. The Moose also boast a state-ranked pass rusher in Kane Absmeier. Absmeier is No. 25 in the state with 4 sacks.
Offensively, Alamosa posts over 39 points per game. Lamar’s defense hasn’t been the definition of impenetrable allowing 21 points per game but they find themselves on the benefit of mistakes thus far. Lamar has forced 9 takeaways and currently hold a +3-turnover differential in comparison to Alamosa’s own +5. Alamosa will be on the road against Lamar Friday night with kickoff set for 7 p.m.
Centauri (2-1) took the frustrations from a loss to Pagosa Springs out on Olathe last Friday. The Falcons took the screws to the Olathe Pirates to the tune of a 41-0 shutout. This weekend Centauri will be facing a challenge, Friday features a matchup between No. 7 Centauri and No 8 Buena Vista. Buena Vista (3-0) started the season unranked, the Demons beat Platte Canyon. Since then the Demons have moved inside the top ten. Centauri has lost a couple of spots after the loss to Pagosa Springs but a win against the Demons could go a long way.
When Buena Vista has the ball, they’ll rely on Brandan Cattell in the rushing game. Based on stats from two recorded games, Cattell leads Buena Vista with 242 yards and 2 touchdowns. Defensivley, Centauri is allowing a scant 7 points per game.
When Centauri has the ball a running attack led by Mason Claunch and his 221 yards and 4 touchdowns will meet up with stout Buena Vista defense that is also allowing 7 points per game.
Buena Vista have had mistakes but still hold a +2 turnover differential. That compared to Centauri, who have only recorded one giveaway thus far this year and have a sterling +6 differential. Centauri faces Buena Vista, in Buena Vista on Friday at 7 p.m.
Playing at home on Friday night will be Sanford and Center. Both squads will be hosting for their homecoming games.
Sanford (3-0) has started a season with three straight wins for the second year in a row. This Friday Sanford will be home against Norwood (1-3) for their homecoming game. Over the past five years, the series is even with both teams winning one, Sanford taking the most recent meeting by a score of 26-8. Sanford hosts Norwood Friday, the 27th at 6 p.m.
Center (2-1) is mirroring last season with two wins and a loss to Olathe. This Friday Center will look to keep the pattern alive when they host John Mall (1-2) for their homecoming game. The Vikings took a 16-8 win on the road over John Mall last season and since having returned to football Center owns the series 1-0. Vikings and Panthers kick off at 7 p.m. Friday.
(Story edited to reflect Buena Vista's correct first opponent Platte Canyon)