Aurora’s prep football linemen showed off their summer gains in the weight room Wednesday at the 15th annual Hog Wars strength and teamwork competition at Rangeview High School and it came down to a tie-breaking tug-o-war to decide.

The host Raiders had won the past four championships and 11 all-time titles since former coach Dave Gonzales introduced the event in 2005, but this time it was Vista PEAK and Cherokee Trail that had the chance to win the title in their hands, literally.

After six events were contested, the Bison and Cougars each had accrued 42 points, so a last head-to-head tug-o-war decided the crown and it went to coach John Sullivan’s Vista PEAK, which won the matchup to give the program its first Hog Wars championship.

The team of Montral Hamrick, Braylen Nelson, Zack Whitworth, Donovan Jarmon, Jaylen Walker and Gene Sledge did the primary heavy lifting for the Bison, which also got contributions from Justin Leadens and Justin Acosta.

Vista PEAK — which won the monster tire flip relay and the firetruck push and finished no lower than third in any of the six events — joined the same Cherokee Trail team it defeated among the now nearly handful of teams to win the event, as the Cougars won in 2013, Overland in 2012 and Gateway in 2011.

With head coach Joe Johnson in attendance, Cherokee Trail won three of the six events, capturing the farmer’s carry, “log” press and the tug-o-war, which earned the Cougars a chance for the tiebreaker after they trailed the Bison by two points going into the final event.

Rangeview coach Brandon Alconcel saw the Hog Wars title slip away for the first time in his three-year tenure, though his No. 1 team — despite missing a couple of key contributors — sat just three points out of first place going into the final event. The Raiders won the hog sled push and finished in the top three in four of the six events.

Coach Michael Farda’s Hinkley team excelled in the monster tire flip relay with a second-place finish and earned 28 points to finish fourth.

Eaglecrest, with a vastly different team than the one that finished second last season, made the final of the tug-o-war and came in second, which gave the Raptors a fifth-place total of 23 points.

Coach Taylor Calvert’s Gateway team proved a factor in the tug-o-war with a fourth-place showing that gave the Olys enough points to leapfrog Rangeview’s No. 2 team into sixth place. Former star lineman and current Kansas City Chiefs player Zack Golditch — who helped Gateway win the Hog Wars title in 2011 — came to watch the Olys.

First-year head coach DaVaughn Thornton Sr. was onhand to watch two Overland teams, with his top unit placing eighth with best performances coming in the farmer’s carry and hog sled push.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports


Team scores: T1. Vista PEAK & Cherokee Trail 42 points (Vista PEAK won on tiebreaker); 3. Rangeview 1 36; 4. Hinkley 28; 5. Eaglecrest 23; 6. Gateway 18; 7. Rangeview 2 16; 8. Overland 10; 9. Overland 2 1; 10. Rangeview 3 0

Event winners: Farmer’s Carry — Cherokee Trail; Tire Flip Relay — Vista PEAK; “Log” Press — Cherokee Trail; Hog Sled push — Rangeview 1; Truck push — Vista PEAK; Tug-O-War — Cherokee Trail


Courtney Oakes is sports Editor and photographer with Sentinel Colorado. A Denver East High School alum. He came to the Sentinel in 2001 and since then has received a number of professional awards from...