AURORA | The fall prep football season that almost wasn’t is over for city teams after all three local qualifiers for the Class 5A state playoffs went down to defeat.
Just eight teams qualified for the postseason in the largest classification and among them were Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest and Regis Jesuit, which each dropped quarterfinal contests as the seventh-seeded Cougars lost to No. 2 Valor Christian (recap), the fifth-seeded Raptors fell to No. 4 Pomona (recap) and the eighth-seeded Raiders lost to No. 1 Cherry Creek (recap).
Six of Aurora’s 11 football programs were active in the fall season — while the other five chose the spring season option — and the locals were exceptionally fortunate in comparison to those around them. Out of a guaranteed 42 games (six regular season plus a seventh game, either playoff or non-qualifier), Aurora teams played 40 of them with only Eaglecrest missing a game due to quarantine. Overland couldn’t play its Week 7 non-qualifier game after its opponent, Doherty, went into quarantine.
“I think I can speak for all coaches in saying this has been a mentally challenging and exhausting football season,” Eaglecrest coach Shawn Marsh said Friday night after his team’s 49-19 loss to Pomona in a game played at Valor Christian High School.
“I feel blessed we were able to play the games we were able to play,” he added. “Definitely the team that wins it this year is going to have some mental resiliency they have shown.”
No. 1 Cherry Creek, No. 2 Valor Christian, No. 3 Legend and No. 4 Pomona — all undefeated — remain alive in the quest to win the state championship. Both semifinal contests (Pomona vs. Cherry Creek and Legend vs. Valor Christian) are scheduled for 1 p.m. Nov. 28, with winners advancing to play Dec. 5 at Colorado State-Pueblo.
It will be only the third time in the past decade that an Aurora team hasn’t been among the final four.
The five Aurora Public Schools programs — Aurora Central, Gateway, Hinkley, Rangeview and Vista PEAK — await the start of the spring football season in February. Rangeview will have a new coach at the helm, as Brandon Alconcel stepped down after three seasons.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports