AURORA | A capsule look at the 2019 Class 5A state football quarterfinal playoff matchup between No. 5 Pomona and No. 4 Regis Jesuit:
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
NO. 5 POMONA (9-3) VS. NO. 4 REGIS JESUIT (11-0)
Noon, Nov. 23 at Lou Kellogg Stadium
Breakdown: Pomona and Regis Jesuit will meet for the third time in the past four seasons with two of those coming in the playoffs (including a semifinal matchup in 2016 won by the Panthers). They also met in the postseason in 2003 and will square off for the eighth time in the past 15 years, with Pomona winning six of those eight games and Regis Jesuit winning in the 2010 regular season and in the season opener for both teams in 2019. …The game was rescheduled from Nov. 22 due to field conditions.
POMONA (7-4): Veteran coach Jay Madden’s Panthers finished as the runner-up in the Metro West conference, which sent five of its six teams to the 5A playoffs (No. 2 Ralston Valley and No. 6 Columbine, which remain alive in the quarterfinals, plus No. 14 Mullen and No. 17 Lakewood). They also faced No. 1 Cherry Creek, No. 3 Valor Christian and No. 4 Regis Jesuit in non-league play, which helped boost their RPI despite losing all three games (as well as their matchup with Ralston Valley). After receiving a first round bye as one of the top eight seeds, the Panthers opened the postseason with a 36-7 second round victory over No. 12 Legend. In a game in which it trailed 7-0, Pomona scored 36 straight points that included two touchdown runs from senior RB Chase Lopez, one each from junior RB Ben Cruz and junior RB AJ Zamora plus a touchdown pass from junior QB Brady Ritzmann to junior WR Jack Pospisil. …For the season, Pomona’s offense has averaged 28 points per game. Ritzmann has thrown for 16 touchdowns against seven interceptions, with Pospisil (11 touchdowns) and Lopez — who will miss the game as the mandatory result for his ejection in the last game — as his top targets. The ground game has been paced by junior RB Dominick Nichols, who has been hampered by injury and hasn’t played since Nov. 1, so Cruz and junior RB Ian Dexter have seen increased carries. …Defensively, the Panthers have allowed just 168 points in 11 games (15.3 per contest) and held five opponents in single digits. Senior LB Sanjay Strickland is a game-wrecker with 91 tackles — three fewer than senior LB Kyle Moretti — with a team-best 11.5 sacks (among 22.5 tackles for loss). …On special teams, Pospisil has been a major weapon in the return game and took a kickoff back 98 yards for a touchdown in a Week 2 win over Bear Creek.
REGIS JESUIT (11-0): Coach Danny Filleman’s Raiders are in the midst of a stretch of winning 17 of their past 18 games (following an 0-5 start to the 2018 season), which has secured them back-to-back South League championships and two trips to the 5A postseason. Regis Jesuit is one of three remaining undefeated teams in the quarterfinals (No. 1 Cherry Creek and No. 2 Ralston Valley are the others) and was one of the top eight seeds to receive first round byes. Regis Jesuit got into the playoff fray in the second round against a familiar opponent in Highlands Ranch and dispatched the 13th-seeded Falcons 49-7. Sophomore QB Nicco Marchiol threw touchdown passes to senior WR Jackson Connelly, senior WR Bryce Sloan, senior RB/WR Ty Mcguire and sophomore WR Dallas Macias and junior RB David Dody had two of the Raiders’ three rushing touchdowns (plus 180 yards), while sophomore RB Pyreese Miller accounted for the other. Defensively, Regis Jesuit held Highlands Ranch to a single touchdown for the second meeting as junior DE Matthew Baer caused havoc with a pair of sacks and 10 total tackles, an amount matched by junior DE Clay Nanke and bettered by junior LB Bryan Mottram, who had 11. …For the season, Regis Jesuit has scored 411 points in 11 games, which ranks sixth among teams still alive in the postseason and seventh in 5A for the season. Marchiol threw for 1,651 yards as a freshman and has upped that to 2,359 yards this season to go with 25 touchdowns against seven interceptions, while he has also rushed for 11 scores. Dody just eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing milestone in the last playoff game and now checks in at 1,173 yards to go with 13 touchdowns on the ground and four in the air. Six Regis Jesuit players have triple-digit receiving yards led by Sloan with 697 and Connelly with 595, while both have six touchdowns catches, and McGuire (379, 5 TDs) and Macias (318, 3 TDs) also provide major weapons. …On the defensive side, Regis Jesuit has yielded 153 points in 11 games as its has held four opponents — including its last two, Douglas County in the regular season finale and Highlands Ranch in the playoffs — to single digits. Mottram owns a team-best 112 tackles on the season, followed by Baer (who has a team-high 12.5 sacks among his 91 tackles), while senior LB Colby Jaramillo has 88 stops and Nanke 80 (with 9.5 sacks of his own. While playing both ways, Macias and Miller each have three of the Raiders’ 16 interceptions and senior DB Bryce Parsons — who has seen fewer balls thrown his way after recording 10 interceptions last season — has taken his only pick back for a touchdown. Ten different Regis Jesuit defenders have an interception and eight different players own fumble recoveries. …On special teams, junior PK Jordi De la Torre is a definite weapon as he is 4-for-4 on field goal attempts with a long of 43 yards and is 90 percent accurate on PATs.
WINNER GETS: The Pomona-Regis Jesuit winner advances to the 5A semifinals to meet the winner of the quarterfinal between No. 1 Cherry Creek and No. 8 Fairview with a berth in the Dec. 7 state championship game at Empower Field at Mile High on the line.