2015 CLASS 5A STATE FOOTBALL QUARTERFINAL MATCHUP
NO. 2 REGIS JESUIT (9-2) vs. NO. 1 COLUMBINE (11-0)
6 p.m., Nov. 20 at Jeffco Stadium
BREAKDOWN: Despite the fact that both Regis Jesuit of the Continental League North and Columbine of the Jeffco League are very regular qualifiers for the Class 5A state playoffs, the teams haven’t meet in the postseason in at least the last 18 seasons and may never have squared off in a postseason contest. The programs did play a two-year regular season series in 2008 and 2009, with Columbine winning both times (42-10 in 2008 and 27-10 in 2009)…Coach Danny Filleman has led Regis Jesuit to victories in his first two postseason games as head coach, as the Raiders opened with a 33-7 first round victory over No. 7 Rangeview and posted a 34-7 win against No. 3 Legacy in the second round. Overall, Regis Jesuit has made it to the 5A quarterfinals in four of the last seven seasons and lost in that round to eventual state champion Cherry Creek last season (Regis Jesuit playoff history since 1990, here)…Coach Andy Lowry has guided Columbine into at least the second round of the 5A state playoffs in 10 straight seasons, which includes state championship victories in 2006 and 2011 and a runner-up finish in 2008. This season, the Rebels rolled past No. 8 Overland (48-13) in the opening round and No. 4 Heritage (48-14) in the second round…REGIS JESUIT: Defense has been a staple all season for Regis Jesuit and the playoffs have been no exception. The Raiders have allowed just seven points to both of its postseason opponents, including Legacy, which had scored 30 points or more in six straight games previously. Regis Jesuit hasn’t allowed more than 17 points in a game and that came to defending 5A state champion Cherry Creek in the opening game of the season. Senior LB Drew Schlegel is a playmaker in many ways for the Raiders, as he leads the teams in tackles with 103, is tied for third with 4.0 sacks and is tied for second in interceptions with three, in addition to his deft ability to block punts. Junior LBs Alec Hamilton and Will Kulick each are also within range of 100 tackles as the benefactors of the work done in the trenches by senior DT/NG Ace Escobedo (5.0 sacks), senior DT Isaiah Ross and others. Senior DB Wil Lowery has intercepted seven passes to lead a ballhawking defensive backfield that also includes senior DBs Davis McDonald (four INTs) and Ryan Brown (three INTs, including one returned for a touchdown to Legacy)…Filleman’s new offensive system continues to take root with the Raiders, who have scored at least 31 points in their last four contests. Regis Jesuit hurt its first playoff opponent in the air as senior QB Michael Pavlakovich threw for four touchdowns (three to Nebraska-bound senior TE Jack Stoll), while the Raiders were effective on the ground against Legacy as senior RB Alec Barnes rushed for 102 yards and three scores. Pavlakovich is running the offensive efficiently and minimizing mistakes and he’s throw for 1,593 yards and 15 touchdowns — against only three interceptions — and rushed for 480 yards and seven more scores. Junior WR Quentin Birch leads a deep group of passcatchers for Regis Jesuit with 447 yards receiving and four TDs, followed by stoll (412 yards receiving, six scores), junior WR Jack Weigand (385 yards receiving, four TDs) and senior WR Ryan Cornell (306 yards receiving, three scores). Barnes has a different role in the backfield than he had during a 1,600-yard rushing season in 2014, but he’s an effective runner when called upon and has piled up 691 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. Junior RB Alfred Jones has a quick burst that can help as a runner and a passcatcher out of the backfield…Senior PK George Maguire has connected on six of his eight field goal attempts for the Raiders, with a long of 43 yards…COLUMBINE: Columbine’s offense scored the third-most points in 5A during the regular season and its scored 48 points in each of its two playoff games so far. A stout front line has made it possible for senior QB Jake Lowry and junior RB Mikey Griebel to feast on opposing defenses. Lowry has rushed for 909 yards and 13 touchdowns (including 165 yards and three scores in a second round win over Heritage) and when he does throw — just 63 attempts on the season — he has completed 64 percent of his passes for 863 yards and 12 touchdowns. Besides 1,237 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns, Griebel is most often the target of Lowry’s passes and he has 386 yards receiving and seven touchdowns, while senior TE Jon Cole is also involved in the passing game with 333 yards receiving and five scores. Senior FB Tim Mullin and senior RB Matthew Starkey get the bulk of the carries that don’t go to Griebel for Columbine…Defensively, the Rebels have allowed 14 points or less in 10 of their 11 games, with the exception being Pomona’s 35-point effort in a league game won by Columbine 42-35…WINNER: The Regis Jesuit-Columbine winner wins Region A and advances to the 5A semifinals, where it will play the Region B winner, which will be either No. 2 Pomona (8-3) or No. 1 Grandview (9-2). Columbine beat Pomona 42-35 during the regular season, but has not faced Grandview and Regis Jesuit hasn’t played either of those teams. Per CHSAA coin flips, both Columbine and Regis Jesuit would be the home team if Grandview wins the other quarterfinal, while Regis Jesuit would be at home against Pomona as well and Columbine would play at Pomona.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel