Coach: Mike Schmitt, 6th season
2014 record: 5-6 overall, 1-4 in Centennial League (lost in 2nd round of 5A playoffs)
Players to watch: Charles Roberts, 5-foot-11, 160 pounds, S, sr.; Jalen Mergerson, 5-10, 165, QB, soph.; Colbey Ross, 6-0, 165, WR/DB, jr.; Garrett Thompson, 6-0, 195, LB, sr.; Anthony Malone, 6-0, 235, DL, sr.; Victor Garnes, 6-0, 180, RB/DB, soph.
2015 outlook: Coach Mike Schmitt’s Eaglecrest team was easily the most “fun to watch” team around last season, featuring an electric offensive attack that held its own in a variety of shootouts. Even with a .500 record — the product of a trip through the loaded Centennial League — the Raptors were one of the scariest teams in the Class 5A playoffs and nearly ousted Ralston Valley, which needed a 54-yard field goal in the final seconds to deny relentless Eaglecrest. Schmitt expects his team will still be one of the state’s sights to behold on offense, even minus the graduated trio of elusive quarterback Elijah Ross, speedy wide receiver Peter Anderson and massive tight end Anthony Karmazyn. The Raptors excelled in 7-on-7 play over the summer with sophomore Jalen Mergerson at the controls. Mergerson was a point guard in the Eaglecrest basketball program like Ross, but he’s most dedicated to football and Schmitt believes he will do some things at the position even better than Ross, who accounted for more than 3,800 yards of total offense and 41 touchdowns a year ago. The Raptors have more size on the offensive line this season and an outstanding receiver in Colbey Ross, while sophomores Kenny Wantings and Victor Garnes and others will give Eaglecrest’s running game a shot. With a new staff in place, Eaglecrest’s defense surrendered 102 points in its first two games of last season before making some adjustments, but Schmitt expects the Raptors to be more stout from the start in 2015. Senior Anthony Malone is a big force at the point of attack, senior Garrett Thompson is a returning All-Centennial League first team selection at linebacker and senior Charles Roberts is ready to carry on Eaglecrest’s tradition of quality play at safety. Schedule: The Raptors get to face the team that knocked them out of the postseason a year ago — Ralston Valley — in the season opener, which is different from the Florida team they played last season. Eaglecrest again sees Highlands Ranch, Denver South and Castle View in the non-league, against which it went 3-0 last season. The Raptors’ lone Centennial League win came against Cherokee Trail, which it meets again on Oct. 23.
Schedule: Home games in all caps (played at Legacy Stadium) — Friday, Sept. 4 — RALSTON VALLEY, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 11 — vs. Highlands Ranch at Shea Stadium, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 19 — at Denver South, 4 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 25 — CASTLE VIEW, 7 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 1 — vs. Grandview at Legacy Stadium, 7 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 8 — VALOR CHRISTIAN, 7:15 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 16 — vs. Overland at Stutler Bowl, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 23 — CHEROKEE TRAIL, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 30 — at Cherry Creek, 7 p.m.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel