Football: Eaglecrest capsule

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EAGLECREST RAPTORS

Coach: Mike Schmitt, 4th season

Eaglecrest
EAGLECREST

Last year: 7-5 overall, 3-2 in 5A Centennial League (lost in quarterfinals of 5A state playoffs)

Players to watch: Aaric Witt, 5-8, 159, WR, jr.; Matt Romero, 5-10, 240, OL/DL, sr.; Deyon Sizer, 6-2, 245, OL/DL, sr.; Tannen Hutton, 5-7, 168, LB, sr.; Elijah Ross, 5-8, 143, QB, jr.; Darian Turner, 6-0, 161, RB/DB, jr.; Peter Anderson, 5-9, 126, WR/DB, jr.; Anthony Karmayzn, 6-4, 185, TE/DL, jr.

2013 outlook: Coach Mike Schmitt saw some real growth in the program in 2012, as Eaglecrest bounced back from a 2-8 season to finish 7-5 and advance all the way to the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state playoffs. The Raptors needed an incredible comeback to beat Cherry Creek in the regular season finale to even make the playoffs, but they knew what to do once they got there, pulling off a pair of upsets and giving eventual 5A runner-up Cherokee Trail a big test in the quarterfinals. The challenge for Schmitt is to keep the momentum going following the graduation of a talented senior class, which numbered 27. The Raptors will have to find some new faces to run the football, as the two-headed monster of Greyson Hoffman and Ryan Willey — who accounted for 1,799 yards and 16 touchdowns last season — has departed. Junior Darian Turner is the only running back returning for the Raptors who saw any regular touches last season and should see an expanded role. Eaglecrest also has a new quarterback in Elijah Ross, who played regularly on the school’s basketball team during its run to the 5A state championship last winter. Ross has some returning players with experience to throw to in senior WR Aaric Witt (313 yards, 3 TDs receiving in 2012) as well as juniors WR Peter Anderson (a strong part of the return game) and TE Anthony Karmayzn back among passcatchers. Senior Matt Romero’s return on the offensive line will make a big difference as he played to an All-Centennial League first team level a year ago. Defensively, the Raptors also will look different, as safety Xavier Lewis — the Denver Post Gold Helmet winner and University of Wyoming signee — space-eating defensive lineman Josh Johnson and playmaking defensive back Sean Watkins have graduated, among others. Senior Deyon Sizer should be a big part of the defensive line, while senior Tannen Hutton is a key part of the linebacking group. The defensive backfield experienced a lot of turnover with the athletic group of Watkins, Lewis, TreShawn Wilford and Cameron Grove graduated.

2013 schedule: Home games in all caps (played at Legacy Stadium): Friday, Aug. 30 — DENVER EAST, 7 p.m.; Thursday, Sept. 5 – at Doherty, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 13 –  FRUITA MONUMENT, 4 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 20 — FOSSIL RIDGE, 7 p.m. (Homecoming); Friday, Sept. 27 — vs. Grandview at Legacy Stadium, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 4 — vs. Smoky Hill at Stutler Bowl, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 11 — vs. Overland at Stutler Bowl, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 18 — CHEROKEE TRAIL, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 25 — CHERRY CREEK, 4 p.m.

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel